Actually, I had thought this whole story was over. Back in August 2015, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that a Catholic hospital had “backed down,” relinquishing its right to observe the teachings of the Catholic Church, and had agreed to provide tubal ligations in order to avoid a lawsuit.
Mercy Medical Center, which is owned and operated by Dignity Health of San Francisco, abided by Catholic hospitals’ Ethical and Religious Directives against sterilization, and thus had refused to authorize a tubal ligation for a pregnant attorney named Rachel Miller. However, according to SFGate‘s report, the hospital “backed down” after the American Civil Liberties Union threatened to sue to force the hospital to provide what they called “pregnancy-related services.”
What actually happened in that case remains unclear. The ACLU claimed a victory, insinuating that it was their threat which caused the hospital to reverse its earlier stand and allow the tubal ligation to be performed in their facility. However, SFGate‘s report says that “…the hospital notified her doctor that it was reconsidering based on additional information the physician had provided.” In the end, the surgery was approved.
Ms. Miller’s medical files are confidential, of course; but it would appear that there was another reason (other than contraception) for performing the tubectomy. There may have been signs of disease, a blockage, or some other reason for removing the fallopian tubes–in which case the hospital did NOT break with Catholic teaching by permitting the surgery.
So the story would have had a happy ending, except that it had been the intent of the ACLU all along to prevent the Catholic Church from being the Church, and from teaching and implementing its timeless truths. Elizabeth Gill, legal counsel for the left-wing activist organization, said of Mercy Health Center, “That’s great that they are willing to do that for some women.” But Miller, she said, “is just one of many women who risk being denied care because Catholic bishops are telling medical professionals how to operate.”
Rachel Miller added her two cents in a statement released by her lawyers. “This is a decision that I made with my family and my doctor,” Miller said, “and no one else should be involved in that process.”
* * * * *
And now it appears that the ACLU has found another supposed “victim”–another pregnant woman to fulfill their imagined narrative, forcing a Catholic hospital to end its longstanding support for Catholic ethical standards in their facility.
Today the ACLU issued a press release, announcing that they had filed a lawsuit against Dignity Health Hospital Network because they “continue to refuse pregnancy- related care because of religious directives.” Litigants in this latest case are patient Rebecca Chamorro and Physicians for Reproductive Health.
Elizabeth Gill is once speaking out against the Church:
“The refusal of hospitals to allow doctors to perform basic health procedures based solely on religious doctrine presents a real threat to a woman’s ability to access health care. Patients seeking medical care from public institutions should not have to worry that religious doctrine rather than medical judgment will dictate what care they receive.”
In addition to the lawsuit, ACLU attorneys are filing an emergency motion asking the court to prevent Dignity Health from using the religious directives to interfere with Chamorro’s care so that her doctor can perform the procedure during her scheduled delivery by C-section in late January. A hearing on this motion is scheduled for Jan. 5 at 11 a.m. in San Francisco Superior Court.
* * * * *
And if I have a suggestion for Ms. Chamorro: GO SOMEWHERE ELSE! There are other, non-Catholic health care facilities which will sterilize you without comment.
Mercy Medical Center, though, is within its rights in determining which medical procedures will be authorized at its facilities. I’d imagine that within a five-mile radius of this hospital there are other clinics which provide [choose one] spinal osteomyelitis surgery; gastric bypass; pancreatectomy; coronary revasculization; and many other procedures which are offered by some (but not all) hospitals.
Ms. Chamorro has no right to go to a hospital which does not provide these services and demand that they perform that procedure on her, any more than she should go to a vegetarian deli and demand sirloin steak. It’s not what they do; and she, the patient/customer, should go where she can obtain the service she seeks.
If Chamorro simply wanted a tubal ligation, she could find a facility to meet her request. What Chamorro and the ACLU intend is to force the Catholic Church to abandon its teachings about sexuality and about the sanctity of life which were passed down from Christ through the Apostles.
They will not succeed.
* * * * *
NOTE: As I publish this, I realize that some of my readers may never have been exposed to the Catholic Church’s well defined theology with regard to contraception. There is no explanation as yet on this blog; I intend to remedy that, so watch this space for further reports.
IMAGE: Normal Fallopian Tube – Human, by Ed Uthman, MD (http://www.Flickr.com/photos/euthman/2760474960/) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons