The ban on tubal ligations at Catholic hospitals has been challenged as discriminatory.
The Michigan ACLU has filed complaints with state and federal agencies, arguing that a Catholic hospital’s refusal to provide a woman an exception from religious directions against tubal sterilization is discriminatory and a violation of her right to “adequate and appropriate care.”
The 38-year-old patient, known only as Ms. M, plans to have the operation done at Ascension Providence Hospital in Southfield, Michigan, during her scheduled Caesarean section in October. According to the ACLU, scarring from a prior C-section caused her bladder to merge with her uterus, and her physicians have informed her that having any more children beyond this one would put her health at peril.
However, the doctors warned her that if they performed the treatment, the hospital would remove their admitting privileges. The Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, established by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, must be followed by the physicians.
Contraception and sterilization are among the reproductive health interventions that are prohibited under the instructions. The restriction went into effect on January 1 at Ascension Providence, which is part of Ascension, one of the largest Catholic healthcare systems in the United States.
According to the ACLU, the hospital’s refusal to allow tubal ligation is hypocritical because “it is our understanding that Ascension Providence continues to allow its physicians to perform vasectomies.”
“If this is the case, then prohibiting tubal ligations is an unreasonable and discriminatory policy,” the lawsuits claim.
The assumption that the hospital allows vasectomies is based on anecdotal evidence, according to Syeda Davidson, senior staff attorney for the ACLU of Michigan, but even if it does not, the tubal ligation prohibition is still discriminatory since it has a differential impact on women.
Because Ms. M is having a C-section and will be under anesthesia, the most effective and safest time to get a tubal ligation is during delivery, according to Davidson. According to her, vasectomies are rarely performed in conjunction with other procedures.
Executives from Ascension and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops did not reply to a request for comment from Nokia News.
The ACLU wrote to Ascension headquarters in St. Louis in late July, requesting an exemption for Ms. M. The letter reminded out that sterilizing operations are authorized under religious precepts… Article Summary from Nokia News