ACLU launches two lawsuits against Catholic hospital chains over denial of care and publishes a report

Religious directives written by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops forbid doctors at Catholic health facilities from providing birth control and other common reproductive health procedures.The 41,000-member California Medical Association (CMA),California’s largest medical association, has filed a motion in a state court to join an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lawsuit against Dignity Health, a Catholic hospital chain, California’s largest hospital system and the fifth largest health care system in the USA.The suit is on behalf of an individual patient who was denied a tubal ligation and Physicians for Reproductive Health. The patient’s physician agreed to do the procedure during a caesarean section, but the hospital refused the doctor’s request, citing Catholic policy that classifies sterilisation as “intrinsically evil”.Moreover, the ACLU recently brought a lawsuit against Trinity Health Corporation, another of the largest Catholic health systems in the country, for its repeated and systematic failure to provide women suffering pregnancy complications with medically indicated emergency abortions as required by federal law.This month, the ACLU has published a detailed report entitled Health Care Denied: Patients and Physicians Speak Out about Catholic Hospitals and the Threat to Women’s Health and Lives, describing women’s experiences of being denied these and other reproductive health-related treatments and procedures.SOURCES: Rewire, 27 April 2016 ; ACLU