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Letter to the Editor - 2011

Louisville Courier-Journal

'Out-of-touch' beliefs

Jon O'Brien

20 July 2011

The news of yet another merger between a Catholic hospital and a non-Catholic hospital — which always hit poor women hardest — makes for sobering reading (“Hospital merger limits medical options: Catholic rules will bar tubal ligations at University hospital,” July 17). The U.S. bishops have failed to persuade Catholics to follow their lead in opposing abortion and modern methods of family planning. Instead, the bishops seek to impose their dangerous and out-of-touch beliefs about reproductive health care by other means, namely through the vast system of Catholic hospitals, clinics, HMOs and insurance plans.

This is especially troubling because as nonprofit institutions, Catholic hospitals benefit from enormous amounts of public funding, including state and federal grants for Title X family planning programs, Medicare and Medicaid. Rather than acknowledging that Catholic hospitals should provide patients with health care that meets established medical standards, the U.S. bishops use Catholic-run institutions as a space to enforce rules that Catholics have consistently opposed.

With the economic climate the way it is, and so many in need of assistance in covering medical bills, it is doubly unfortunate that the current system allows the U.S. bishops to impose their interpretation of Catholic teachings on all comers, staff and patients alike.

This letter was originally published by the Louisville Courier-Journal.