ACLU Sues Catholic Hospitals Who Would Let Women Die Rather Than Perform Abortions

Everyone knows that the Catholic Church hates abortion. That is their right under the First Amendment, of course. However, that is where things get complicated. The Catholic Church also runs many hospitals. To that end, they insert their stance on abortion, contraceptives, and other vital reproductive healthcare issues into the running of these medical institutions. That goes up to and including denying women abortions — even if it risks their lives. Well, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) hopes to change all of that.

On Thursday, October 1, the national ACLU and the ACLU of Michigan have decided to go public with a lawsuit they are filing against the Trinity Health Corporation, which is among the largest hospital systems in the nation. The lawsuit addresses their willingness to endanger the lives of the women who come to them in distress and for treatment because of the Church’s — and by extension, the hospitals’– draconian stance on abortion.

There have been several cases that have prompted this broad and sweeping lawsuit, including the case of  a woman named Jessica Mann, who is suffering from a brain tumor that makes it ill-advised and possibly life-threatening for her to become pregnant again. Genesys Hospital was presented with a letter demanding a medically necessary exception, but the exception was denied.

Brooke A. Tucker, staff attorney for the ACLU of Michigan, says:

“We’re taking a stand today to fight for pregnant women who are denied potentially life-saving care because doctors are forced to follow religious directives rather than best medical practices. Catholic bishops are not licensed medical professionals and have no place dictating how doctors practice medicine, especially when it violates federal law.”

The doctors working in the Catholic hospitals agree. Their first priority is their patients; not catering to religious ideas about what is and isn’t acceptable medical treatment. Timothy R. B. Johnson, M.D., FACOG, Chair of OB/GYN at the University of Michigan, says:

“A hospital policy like the Directives that limits what physicians can tell and offer our patients and prohibits us from providing our patients with the best possible care is extremely dangerous. The ACLU’s suit is based on a simple principle that medical decisions should be between doctors and our patients.”

Further, because these hospitals are funded through the federal government, they are also in violation of the law, which is the best part of this, and should pave the way to an easy win for women everywhere:

A hospital’s failure to provide pregnant women appropriate emergency care, including an abortion when the circumstances warrant, violates a federal law called the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, known as EMTALA. A public health educator in Michigan discovered that at one of Trinity’s hospitals alone, at least five women who were suffering from miscarriages and needed urgent care were denied that care because of the Catholic directives.

Source: ACLU

The real problem here is that we are mixing hospitals and medicine (science) with religion (dogmatic myth). Religious beliefs should never dictate what kind of medical care one receives, for any reason. Preachers are not doctors. These people would literally force doctors to allow women to die because of their fetus fetish and their refusal to allow anything at all related to contraception, family planning, or abortion to exit the lips of the doctors at their Jesus-inspired, sorry excuses for “hospitals.”

This isn’t about religious freedom. It’s about life and death. Keep the Roman Catholic Church out of our uteri. If the idea of a man in a dress who has never even seen a vagina making decisions about what millions of women can do with theirs doesn’t sound draconian and absolutely insane to whatever unlucky judge gets this case, then that judge shouldn’t be on the bench.

Go get ’em, ACLU. Women everywhere are counting on you.

Featured image via Flickr