Letters to the Editor

Catholic-run care infringes on rights | Letter to the Editor

This week, a letter was sent by the ACLU and 10 other groups to Gov. Jay Inslee requesting a temporary moratorium on hospital mergers in our state.

Why? Well, all Catholic-run medical institutions are required to comply with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services. These directives prohibit contraceptive use, sterilization methods, abortion, most assisted reproduction services and end-of- life choices. In 2010, the Catholic church controlled 26 percent of hospital beds in Washington. By the end of 2012, they’ll control 45 percent. Check out the national organization MergerWatch for more information.

Controlling medical facilities allows the Catholic Church to sneak around voters’ wishes. We are being disenfranchised, even after we go to the voting booth.  If you live in an isolated location (an island, perhaps?), your legal rights can easily be trumped by accessibility.  We have no Planned Parenthood, after all.

St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix was stripped of its Catholic status, and Sister Margaret McBride was excommunicated because a woman who was 11 weeks pregnant developed severe, life-threatening pulmonary hypertension. According to the Catholic church, doctors did wrong when they aborted the pregnancy to save the woman’s life.

If our health care center falls under Catholic control, employment contracts will demand that your doctor not discuss “immoral” topics — unless in secret — since the Catholic church acknowledges the “sacredness of doctor/patient confidentiality.” So, a question about an IUD or vasectomy is now shrouded in hushed whispers so your favorite doctor doesn’t get fired?

There’s a reason why millions fought for decades to give women a right to control what happens to her body. Take this seriously. Your freedom to choose how to live your life is at risk. Vashonites excel at finding “the third option.” So, let’s do it!

— March Twisdale

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