Australia – ‘I was shocked’: Catholic-run public hospitals refuse to provide birth control and abortion

Publicly funded Catholic hospitals across Australia are using the cover of religion to opt out of providing reproductive care – and experts say it has created a ‘postcode lottery’ for access to services

by Donna Lu and Melissa Davey
Mon 21 Aug 2023

When Sarah*, a Melbourne mother, was pregnant with her second child, her GP gave her a surprising warning: if she had any serious complications, concerns about the viability of the pregnancy or believed she might be miscarrying, she should go to the Royal Women’s hospital rather than the Mercy Hospital for Women, where she was planning to deliver the baby.

The reason, the GP told her, was that the Mercy – a public hospital in Melbourne’s north-east – would not assist in terminating a pregnancy due to its Catholic affiliation.


Post-Roe, Native Americans face even more abortion hurdles

Feb 13, 2023

A few months after South Dakota banned abortion last year, April Matson drove more than nine hours to take a friend to a Colorado clinic to get the procedure.

The trip brought back difficult memories of Matson’s own abortion at the same clinic in 2016. The former grocery store worker and parent of two couldn’t afford a hotel and slept in a tent near a horse pasture — bleeding and in pain.


Many Hospitals Refuse To Provide Reproductive Care, Even In States Where Abortion Remains Legal

Emily Stewart
NOVEMBER 16, 2022

Voter approval of ballot measures protecting abortion rights in three states on Election Day was an important first step toward addressing the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Since that ruling, at least 13 states have implemented restrictions rendering access to abortion almost nonexistent. Still more states have applied extreme limits. People seeking abortion care are being forced to travel to other states, or figure out how to obtain medication abortion through the mail (which may not be their preference). Health providers are struggling to determine what pregnancy emergency care they can provide without violating newly-enacted abortion bans. Too many are unable to overcome these hurdles to get the care they need.


Spread of Catholic hospitals limits reproductive care across the U.S.

Religious doctrine restricts access to abortion and birth control and limits treatment options for miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies

By Frances Stead Sellers and Meena Venkataramanan
October 10, 2022

The Supreme Court decision overturning the constitutional right to abortion is revealing the growing influence of Catholic health systems and their restrictions on reproductive services including birth control and abortion — even in the diminishing number of states where the procedure remains legal.

Catholic systems now control about 1 in 7 U.S. hospital beds, requiring religious doctrine to guide treatment, often to the surprise of patients. Their ascendancy has broad implications for the evolving national battle over reproductive rights beyond abortion, as bans against it take hold in more than a dozen Republican-led states.


USA – Amid abortion rights threat, OB-GYNs more vocal with support

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has been defending abortion in recent lawsuits challenging state restrictions

By TRAVIS LOLLER, Associated Press
8 March 2022

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- As the Supreme Court mulls whether to uphold Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists filed a brief against the state law, calling it “fundamentally at odds with the provision of safe and essential healthcare.”

But the organization’s support for abortion hasn’t always been unequivocal. After the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision guaranteed the right to abortion, American OB-GYNs remained divided on the issue. Many declined to perform elective abortions either out of moral opposition or because they wanted to avoid the “butcher” stigma that still clung to abortion doctors from the pre-Roe days.


Why Was a Catholic Hospital Willing to Gamble With My Life?

Feb. 25, 2022
By Katherine Stewart

More than 20 states are poised to ban or severely restrict abortion if the Supreme Court decides to overturn or undermine Roe v. Wade this year. We know these laws and regulations will have a devastating effect on women’s rights and liberty, but many people do not realize how deeply they will reach into maternal medicine. You can’t take away the right to abortion without risking the health and lives of all women who become pregnant.

We can get a sense of why this is so by taking a look at the Catholic hospital systems. All Catholic health care facilities, including hospitals and clinics, and many affiliated providers are governed by the Ethical and Religious Directives, a numbered set of rules that apply Catholic doctrine to health care. These directives, which act as guidelines and impose limitations on the types of services and procedures these facilities are able to deliver, are codified by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Faith and Access: The Conflict Inside Catholic Hospitals

Why should publicly funded hospitals get to limit access on religious grounds?

Feb. 23, 2022 / MARCH-APRIL 2022 issue, Walrus Magazine

IN THE FALL OF 2020, Susan Camm was among a small group of employees touring a brand new seventeen-storey tower at St. Michael’s Hospital, in downtown Toronto. She liked the large single-patient rooms—a hallmark of modern hospital design—and the big windows that filled the space with sunshine. But something caught her eye: a brass crucifix on the wall. “I had an almost visceral reaction,” she recalls.

Camm, who was then a clinical manager at the hospital, had come across crucifixes at St. Michael’s before. But most had been taken down over the years. What shocked her is that the Christian symbols were in brand new rooms. This wasn’t a decision someone had made decades ago; it was one made in 2020. Later, when she had the chance to enter a patient room alone, she dragged a stool over to the crucifix, stood up, and tried to pull the figure off the wall. Unlike the ones in older rooms, it wasn’t simply hanging on a nail. She would have needed a chisel to pry it off.


USA – Er, Can I Ask a Few Questions About Abortion?

You know who really reduced abortion numbers in the U.S.? President Obama, with the Affordable Care Act.

By Nicholas Kristof, Opinion Columnist
Oct. 28, 2020

Millions of American Christians are likely to vote for President Trump on Tuesday because they believe it a religious obligation to support a president who will appoint “pro-life” judges.

But as I’ve observed before, there is an incipient rethinking underway in evangelical and Catholic circles about what it means to be “pro-life,” and let me try to add to that ferment. For the truth is that the litmus test approach to abortion on the part of many conservative Christians is anomalous, both religiously and historically.


The history of Catholic teaching on abortion isn’t as clear cut as you think

The history of Catholic teaching on abortion isn’t as clear cut as you think
Its position has hardly been “unchangeable” throughout the past two millennia.

Molly Monk

Even though 56 percent of U.S. Catholics believe that abortion should be legal in most or all cases, it’s a commonly held belief that being “pro-choice” is incompatible with being Catholic. That’s not surprising, given the Catholic Church’s stance on abortion seems pretty clear cut: abortion is a murder. The Catechism of the Catholic Church even says, “Since the first century, the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable.”

That’s not exactly true, though.


USA – Hospitals Kill and Injure Women in the Name of ‘Pro-Life’ Ethics

Hospitals Kill and Injure Women in the Name of 'Pro-Life' Ethics

Thursday November 21, 2019

The woman arrived at a Texas hospital so ill she couldn’t walk. Her last pregnancy caused heart failure, and the new pregnancy put her at immediate risk of cardiac arrest, according to a Rewire interview with Dr. Ghazaleh Moayedi, the physician who cared for the woman. But hospital administrators refused to give the woman an abortion. She wouldn’t die right then, they reasoned, so she wasn’t really “dead enough” to justify life-saving care. The woman had no insurance and no other realistic options for life-saving care. She left the hospital and Dr. Moayedi never learned what happened to her.

Her story is not an outlier. Women across the nation who need life-saving abortion care or miscarriage treatment may not receive it. And thanks to “conscience laws,” they might not even know they need the care.