catholic hospitalsCatholic Hospitals can deny patients medically recommended or even necessary treatment on the grounds that offering the care would conflict with their freedom of conscience. In another instance where the expression of one person’s belief directly impacts the rights of another, we consider where to draw the line with religious liberty.

There are many different beliefs on medical care when it comes to religion. Some religions believe you should not transfer blood from one person to another, and others believe you should not do anything to prevent the conception of a child (including all types of birth control). There are even some that don’t believe in medical treatment at all. So what happens when a person’s right to medical care is denied due to a provider’s religious beliefs?

Jessica Mann

Mann was only a few weeks pregnant when she found out about her brain tumor. The mother of two was devastated when she was told how high risk her pregnancy would be. Her doctors recommended that after the birth of her third child, she have her tubes tied so she would not get pregnant again. Wanting to be there for her three children as they grew up, she agreed. Her doctor submitted the request to the hospital, and after several weeks, they denied the request.

The request was not denied because of medical risk or because it was not deemed necessary. It was denied because the Catholic hospital felt the procedure interfered with their religious beliefs.

While there are times when the hospital will perform this procedure, it’s only in imminent cases of life and death. Mann was understandably confused since a fourth pregnancy could kill her. However, the hospital argues that they are not concerned with preventing a likely death, only one that is already in progress such as if a patient were bleeding to death. This is all done in the name of being pro-life. They were so pro-life, that they didn’t care if she died due to their neglect of her reasonable medical concerns.

Mann’s tumor is benign, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t carry serious health risks. If the tumor grows, she could start suffering from seizures and even wind up blind. She must deliver her baby while completely under anesthesia via cesarean section. It has risks, but she and doctors are hopeful and optimistic she and baby will be safe.

While her doctor thinks the procedure is necessary and willing to perform it, he only has admitting privileges at the Catholic hospital. Because of this, Mann cannot deliver anywhere else unless she wants to find a new doctor. Because she is so late in her pregnancy, this is not ideal. Another option for her is to have her scheduled cesarean section and then come back for a second surgery at a different hospital after she has healed. However, this is inconvenient for several reasons.

  • It would require a second surgery with a different doctor.
  • The more surgeries, the more risks.
  • She would need recovery time, which is not ideal for a mother of three children.

Lori Boyer

bible-and-stethoscopeLori Boyer had just been raped. A man she knew asked her to come hang out and chat at his place, but instead he threw her on his bed and assaulted her. After he had finished, Boyer ran out the door and drove to the nearest emergency room at Good Samaritan Hospital in Lebanon, PA. She was bruised and in pain as the doctor examined her.

She asked for the morning-after pill and her male, Catholic doctor looked up from his exam sheet and calmly told her “no, I can’t do that,” before coldly returning to his notes. Boyer explained that she was in the middle of her cycle and feared getting pregnant by her rapist. The doctor explained that giving Boyer the pill was against his religion.

Boyer was of course terrified; the morning after pill becomes less effective the longer you wait to take it from the time of insemination. Here she was, supposedly in a haven of protection from the man that stole control over her body, only to be powerless yet again. Boyer left empty-handed. She had to drive around in a panic until a rape counselor put her in contact with someone committed to his profession.

Disturbing Trend

The fact that these stories are even happening is the beginning of what could become a disturbing trend. Just like same-sex couples have had to deal with interference from people who felt same-sex marriage went against their religion, these families who have decided they are done having children are dealing with the same type of discrimination. What’s worse is these families have few options when it comes to having the procedure done elsewhere. Many doctors won’t accept pregnant patients once they get to a certain point in pregnancy, so they are often stuck with the first provider they choose.

When women are having scheduled cesareans anyway, there is no extra risk to having a tubal ligation. They shouldn’t have to come in for a second procedure and deal with the risks of another surgery and extra recovery time. While there are other options for birth control, this is an option that is permanent. It is the most ideal option for many women, so they should not be stopped simply because a hospital decides it’s not something they want to do due to religious beliefs.

To argue that these hospitals and doctors have a right to neglect patients when many do not have an alternative is to give all religions a free pass. How would you feel if you went to the hospital in an emergency only to have your Christian Scientist doctor tell you that you cannot receive medicine or surgery because your pain and suffering has no objective reality and is the result of your “error” in thinking? It may seem silly to you that a Christian Scientist would even bother going through all the difficult and expensive work involved in becoming a doctor in the first place if he would refuse to actually do the job. We wonder if it is any less silly to train to take a job with the premise that you would heal others and turn a blind eye to their medical suffering because you are Catholic.

83 comments

  1. Rick says:

    HAHAHAHAHA Oh, come on!!!! None of these people was smart enough to walk down the street to another hospital? You can’t say that this in any way affected the outcome of ANYTHING!! If you want your tubes tied or the morning after pill, you can get those things virtually anywhere… This is a NON-topic. People need to quit whining about not getting what they want at EVERY single location. What’s next? The atrocity of not being able to buy a Cadillac at a Toyota dealership?? This is only about certain groups trying to force other groups to give up their beliefs.

    1. Minister Leslie says:

      Dear Brother,
      Thats not the point, as there should be a separation between church and state, it should also be in medicine.
      Any patient should have the right to be treat, where thir doctors are and feel safe and comfortable!

      1. Steven McGhee says:

        This idea that every person in the world must give up every thing they believe in for your comfort is asinine. Who ever told you that you had a right to be happy? They lied to you. You have a right to pursue happiness, not to have it handed to you at others expense. If you do not like the restrictions at the Catholic Hospital then go to the Presbyterians or the Baptists. Better yet go to a secular hospital! But to expect them to change for you is self centered and ignorant.

        1. A says:

          You have all made good points, but lets focus on what’s most important. Each of these people were asking for help and intrusted that they would receive that professional help with compassion. However they did not receive that. Furthermore a woman was raped and denied valid medical care immediately after the crime was committed.

          We all know there are 3 sides to the story: his, hers, and the truth / ours, theirs, and the truth.

          What we should be asking is “how can I be of service to those who are in need of help?”

        2. Blue Indy says:

          Your freedom of religion ends where my right to keep on living begins. Any religion, any church, or hospital that puts its beliefs above ANY person’s life as regards healthcare is, at its foundation, immoral.. And that is especially true in regards to those institutions that shelter, succor, and defend pedophiles on a regular bases. Don’t tell me how great the Catholic Church is. It’s a blot on the Earth and a shame in Heaven.

    2. Paul Robinson says:

      One thing that many do not see in this and most other things that are “NEWS Topics”, is that those topics are there to get OUR attention, and to focus our minds on their topic instead of what is directly important to our lives and the lives of those that we care for.

      1. Charles Zino says:

        The central point as I see it is the patient’s belief. Why did these patient’s choose a Catholic hospital in the first place. If it is because they themselves are Catholic, they should respect the beliefs and practices of their chosen religion. If they are not Catholic, then go elsewhere. Why would a non-Catholic want to argue the practices of a religion they haven’t chosen in the first place. This whole argument is at odds with ULC’s goal.

    3. Joan Monet says:

      I do not know if the Catholic church hospitals do not give out the after sex pill. I know abortions are not likely to be done there, but I never heard of a hospital not giving care or emergency treatment because of their religion. If your Dr. did not give you medication that you needed, then you need to seek another Dr. I do not care what religion your Dr. is. They are to treat medical conditions. I was told many moons ago by an orthopedic Dr. I need to cleanse my soul. Well been to many classes and yes took soul class, but still have the orthopedic problem. If anyone I knew needed treatment of something against the Catholic faith, common sense I would not tell them to go to a Catholic hospital for the day after pill. Personally I hate abortions, but if this is legal and for good reasons and is legal in your state, never go to a hospital that is definitely against this. I am sure the hospital did not or by their contract could write the prescription. Yes, the other comment is right on saying go to another hospital. It is common sense. If you needed medication for post partum depression, would you go to a Scientologist run hospital?

  2. Hoagie says:

    Your anti Christian and even more anti Catholic bigotry is showing. And it ain’t pretty. If one does not agree with Catholic doctrine as it applies to medicine I suggest they go to non Catholic doctors and hospitals. At last count there were 133,000 of the former and 1,400 of the latter.

    Aside the prominent availability of alternative professional help who are these people and you to decide what part of a Christian’s beliefs are acceptable? You also have no right to force a doctor, nurse or anyone else to labor for you, that’s called slavery. I realize that in the modern world you little cupcakes can’t stand seeing anyone who refuses to knuckle under to your leftist world view of forcing others to do what you desire but that’s too bad, it’s the price of Freedom. If these issues are so important to you whining children than start your own hospitals to provide. After all that’s what Catholics did. But you have no right telling the people who provide these services how to run them. The lack of gratitude from you leftists is legion.

    AS Rick stated: “This is only about certain groups trying to force other groups to give up their beliefs.” and I’d like to add : Their Freedom.

    1. Toni Guy says:

      Hoagie;
      Many communities have only one hospital and if it’s Catholic run women’s reproductive choices are limited. Insurance will also limit a woman to certain hospitals. Catholic hospitals are buying up secular hospitals and reducing women’s choices. A hospital should provide medical services based on medical need not on religious doctrine…which has often been proven wrong in the past. When a women goes to a hospital she shouldn’t be treated as if she is in a church. Men don’t have to run all over town looking for providers of men’s health care, why are women expected to do that?

      1. Steven McGhee says:

        Toni Guy, I don’t know where you live, but in the six states I have lived in a woman can go down the street to the local County Free Clinic. Again, no one is forced to live in any given locale, you are free to move to where you have more choices. A secular hospital should run as you suggest, but a hospital owned and run by the Catholic Church has every right to set standards based on their religion. If that bothers you go somewhere else. If they are all that is available then be grateful they let you in at all or move somewhere else.

    2. Jennifer Donovan says:

      I agree there is the possibility to walk down the street. The point is to know what is happening so we can understand how decisions are made at some of these hospitals and to stimulate a discussion on the way forward.

      Some people having babies may not understand that they don’t have all available and legal choices that a non-catholic hospital offers, and they should. Childbirth is dangerous and things can go wrong in regular situations too. These might not be the best examples but discussions of the decision-making processes and being informed is good.

      In anycase, this is not anything to laugh at. One of these women has a brain tumor and one was raped. Whether or not people believe elective termination as a woman’s right, we need to protect the lives of undeniably living beings just as much as we protect anyone that is unborn.

    3. Art says:

      I don’t remember anything in the Bible where Christ asked a persons religious affiliation before He healed them.

  3. Chris Coulson says:

    We as people no matter what religion have the right to medical care no mater what the religion the hospital or doctor is. When doctors and hospitals start denying people medical care just because it goes against the doctors or hospitals religion then I think we need to stand up and say enough and take legal action. I believe that if doctors refuse medial treatment because of religion then it goes against the oath they take when they become a doctor to treat people without prejudice.

    1. Steven McGhee says:

      You have the right to whatever medical care you can pay for. You do not have the right to decide how a Church runs their hospital. If your Dr’s religious beliefs bother you then you should find another Dr. If your insurance does not cover another Dr, get a different insurance company. They are not refusing to treat people, they are refusing to perform procedures that go against their religion. Little things like killing babies and such.

    2. Randy says:

      their is no such oath. the hypocratic oath says first do no harm. the definition of harm tho is wide open since some who are religious would see providing an abortion the same as murder and if you are a Christian then you should see it that way also. if you know the risks and choose to have unprotected sex don’t expect others to ignore their beliefs. in the case of rape again I’m sorry but God is the author of life not man if God chose to give you a baby maybe you should seek his guidance . who knows maybe that was the child who’d have found the cure for cancer but being selfish you decided his or her life wasn’t worth as much as your discomfort . abortion is an abomination !
      Abortion Is An Act of Murder

      In reference to pregnant women, the term “with child” occurs twenty-six times in the Bible. The term “with fetus” never occurs once.

      In Luke chapter one, verses 36 and 41, we are told that Elisabeth conceived a “son” and that the “babe” leaped in her womb. God does not say that a “fetus” leaped in her womb! He says THE BABE leaped. This is the exact same word that God uses to describe Christ in the manger AFTER He is born (Luke 2:12, 16). In God eyes, an unborn babe and a newborn babe are the same. They are both living human beings!

      Dear reader, please answer a question: What is an “infant?” Get the answer in your mind and keep it there for a moment. Do you have it? Okay, please consider Job 3:16: “Or as an hidden untimely birth I had not been; as infants which never saw light.” Did you see that? Job referred to unborn children as INFANTS. Not fetuses! Not masses of tissue! INFANTS! In God’s eyes, an unborn child is a living human baby. God never says once that an unborn child is anything less than a human being.

      David said in Psalm 51:5, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” He did not say that a fetus was shapen in iniquity and conceived in iniquity. David, speaking under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, said that HE was conceived. David, not a blob of tissue, was conceived.

      The same is the case in Psalm 139:13-16:

      “For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.”

      Who was in the womb? David! A literal and living person. The Bible never uses anything less than human terms to describe the unborn.

      Notice that in Jeremiah 1:5 we are told that God KNEW Jeremiah:”Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”

      To further confirm the fact that God views the unborn child as a person, please consider Exodus 21:22-23:

      “If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life,”

      If the woman has a premature birth and the child lives (“no mischief follows”), then there’s no death penalty. However, if the child dies (or the woman dies) God says the death penalty applies: “thou shalt give life for life.” Why would God require the death penalty if He didn’t consider the unborn child to be a human being?

      Friend, like it or not, God says that life begins at conception, and the unborn child is a human being.

      But the Bible isn’t alone in declaring this truth. Science also declares that an unborn child is just as much an independent human being as you. The original human cell consists of 46 chromosomes, 23 from each parent. At no point during pregnancy does the mother contribute any new cells to the child. The original cell divides itself and multiplies to provide development and growth for the child. Scientifically speaking, the child is just as independent at six months before birth as he will be six months after birth. Yes, the mother does provide nourishment to the unborn child, but she also provides nourishment to the newborn child!

      At two weeks pregnancy, the “fetus” can move alone. By four weeks the child has limbs, muscle tissue, a heart and heartbeat. Ears, eyes, and small hands are visible by the fifth week. The child responds to touch sensations by the sixth or seventh week. At eight weeks, the baby sometimes tries to take a breath when removed from the mother. At twelve weeks, the child will often struggle for life two or three hours when removed from the mother.

      Friend, abortion is wrong because abortion is MURDER!

      Abortion Involves the Shedding of Innocent Blood

      Proverbs 6:16-17 says that God HATES those who shed innocent blood! Deuteronomy 27:25 says, “Cursed be he that taketh reward to slay an innocent person. And all the people shall say, Amen.”

      Who could possibly be more innocent than an unborn baby?! Yet, our society has become so wicked that it condones the slaying of 1.5 million innocent children every year. The Bible says that God HATES people who do this.

      Abortion Is A Violation of the Golden Rule

      In Matthew 7:12, the Lord Jesus Christ said, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”

      Would it be your desire to suffer and die while someone traps you in a cage and literally tears your arms and legs from your body?

      Abortion is a violation of the golden rule.

      Abortion Attempts To Destroy A Work of God

      “I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.” (Ecc. 3:14)

      God is eternal, so His work is also eternal. Abortion is an attempt to do away with unwanted people–an attempt to make a liar out of God by bringing an end to His work. However, Jesus said you can destroy a person’s BODY, but not their SOUL (Mat. 10:28). Parent, if you’ve had an abortion, your aborted child is in Heaven right now, because you only destroyed the body!
      http://www.biblebelievers.com/jmelton/abortion.html

  4. Michael Chaffee says:

    The implication in this “Faith Over Health” article is basically indicting those who hold to their “faith based” beliefs.

    The slant (one sidedness) clearly attempts to vilify the adherence to a doctrine and dogma based faith, all along while veiling the obtuse objections to a “believer’s” equal rights. This duplicity in this article is glaring and should be recognized as observably shameful and manipulative. This is the same approach that our modern day journalist take with bombarding us with the mass media’s propagated social agendas for all the hot button topics of further division.

    The PC police have all but sequestered the jury of the moral majority on this issue in an effort to promote an agenda under the guise of “equality” but, in doing so they seem to have gone tone deft to the screams of their own hypocrisy in propagating this version of inequality.

    If equality and acceptance were to be truthfully represented well then everyone would have to be willing to accept that the “rights” for one’s choices in religion are equal to the rights to free choices of life style decisions (inclusive of abortions), and should be left up to the individual, right?

    However these choices may be interpreted, we can’t eliminate someone’s free choices by narrowing the field of possibilities for such choices down to a single common denominator, and then imply that the only definition is to implicate it as intolerance!

    By making claims that to choose a God fearing authority over one’s alternative choice of self-authority will somehow criminalized a faithful follower as a perpetrator of the crime of intolerance should be transparently embarrassing in any academic argument. I believe it was Mr. “T’s” most eloquent phrase that apples here; “I pity the fool” who went to school to learn how to vilify God fearing men and women with such eloquence.

    Whether it’s the interpretive adherence to a religious theology or that of a choice in life style, being disrespected for one’s beliefs is what is at the crux of this subject.

    When we become indignant to how some run contrary to how we may choose to participate in society, well then we begin to loose our footing on that slippery slope.

    Muslims and Jews historically haven’t seen things eye to eye, although both believing in the God of Abraham have followed the Mosaic Law in tallying retributions as in; “An eye for an eye”.

    Catholics and Protestants in Ireland fought a bloody civil war believing both had God on their side.

    So in summarizing this verbose desertion, some folks quite simply don’t believe that a woman has the right of ownership to their life or to take the life of the unborn. As they believe that life is a gift from God.

    Job 1:21: “And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.

    We have many life choices that can include surgeries, doctors, risks, recovery time, which may not be ideal for a mother of three children but, an obstinate posture against abstinence as at least one of those that could also save her life seems to escape recognition.

    Life is full of hard choices and easy ones as well…I’m sure that most of us just hope that we’ll have a recognizable image on that Cosmic I.D. Card that can authenticate the weight of our soul, when and if we make it to the gate! Oh and yes,… I do realize that some don’t believe that the gate swings both ways!

    In closing; I wonder why is it that Universal Life Church’s articles never seem to have an author…hum?

  5. mary says:

    oh, come on guys, can you stop picking on anybody? I mean all you do is pick, pick, pick. Dr’s already have the right to fire patients for not doing what they want done, so why cant hospitals deny patients for religious reasons.

    1. Steven McGhee says:

      Thank you!

  6. Kyaza says:

    When I was reading through this article, I noticed that the women in the first example was at a Catholic hospital. I don’t think it’s wrong for doctors working at a Catholic hospital (a hospital that advertises its religious affiliation) to upheld the tenets of the faith they follow. In the second example, the hospital was the Good Samaritan Hospital. Both of these hospitals are hospitals with religious affiliations. Because of that, the doctors who work there have the right – and are most likely expected – to uphold the tenets of their religion.

    In contrast, public hospitals are secular. If a person goes to a regular, public hospital and the doctor refuses to perform a medical operation due to the faith they follow, then that goes against hospital regulations. A doctor at a public hospital may refuse to do an operation for religious reasons, but that doctor can then refer the patient to another doctor who may be willing to perform the operation.

    In a religious hospital, referrals like that are impossible because it is assumed that all the doctors share the same faith and therefore none of the doctors there will be willing to perform an operation that violates the tenets of their faith.

    In a way, arguing that a person who goes to a Catholic hospital should expect to receive medical treatment that goes against the tenets of the Catholic faith is like arguing that a person who attends a private Catholic school should be exempt from learning about Catholicism.

    1. Pastor Scott says:

      Yes the hospital may have the affiliation of whatever religion, HOWEVER, they are still doctors, who (the last I know of), was sworn to SAVE LIVES. That is what they swear into when they accept the degree of Doctor. Now choosing from whom they save and let die is not up to them. Just because they are of what ever domination they chose, does not give them the right to pick and choose who should live or die. God is the only one who has that right. It is the same thing for the death penalty. So what this is telling me is that we should have all christians on the jury duty for the death penalty. “Oh he is an atheist, kill him.” Should the doctor tell you the same thing.?

      1. Kathleen says:

        In neither of these examples was the person going to die – as a matter of fact, in the article it states that had she been in imminent danger, they would have performed the procedure. Catholic hospitals are supported by the Catholic Church and I would expect them to follow Catholic teaching. These hospitals were set up as part of the Catholic ministry to live out the Cardinal Virtues and should be allowed to follow their mission. Also, a Catholic on a jury is more likely to say “only God can take a life” and be removed for not being willing to allow the state to kill someone. Finally, the doctor in the second example is actually choosing to SAVE a life – should that women be pregnant, the doctor is saving the life of her unborn child.

        1. Ed says:

          Nicely stated!

      2. Paul Robinson says:

        The woman looking for tubligation should have gone to planned parenthood, or other organizations as they perform this and many other procedures. This is why there has been so much talk about defunding them on the federal level.

        I first heard about Planned Parenthood needing local support from my local UU Church. It is a very small church that usually has lay ministers, or guest ministers that visit.

        We hold all life as precious not just one small part of it, and all are welcome to be a part of it.

    2. Todd66 says:

      I would say that except for emergency life saving procedures a Catholic hospital should be allowed to refuse certain types of treatment based on belief

  7. Mary Kanz says:

    I have a niece who goes to a catholic hospital in south dakota, and when she asked for a tubal ligation, they
    refused because of Catholic Church stance on preventing pregnancies.

    1. Steven McGhee says:

      There are 57 clinics in South Dakota that are paid for by federal grants and they will provide those services. Going to a Catholic hospital for that procedure, or any like it is not a sign of great intelligence.

  8. Rev. Dr. Valerie A Ward says:

    There is a separation of Church and State. No one has the right to deny a single thing because of a religious belief.

    1. David says:

      In the same way, no one has the right to make some one give a certain type of treatment that goes against their beliefs. Otherwise the state is still inferring into religious matters. You can’t have it both ways.

    2. Steven McGhee says:

      You could not be more wrong. The separation of Church and state was designed to keep politics out of religion, not the other way around. Try reading a little bit of what the founding father’s wrote on the subject.If the Hospital is State owned and the Drs work for the State you would be correct. Any hospital run by a religious organization can refuse any service of procedure that violates their faith. You sit there calling yourself a Rev, but obviously believe that only your values matter. Sad.

      1. Todd66 says:

        But Steve, I think the point that they’re trying to make is that a lot of these Catholic hospitals get funding from the federal government in the form of Medicare and medicaid and that may be where this issue of the separation of church and state may surface.

    3. Randy says:

      you are misinformed the separation of church and state doesn’t imply nor do as you suggest,
      it was as a result of the founders fleeing England . they didn’t want the government telling them how to practice their faith or which church i.e. the Church of England to belong to .
      read the constitution your individual right to practice your faith( the test is any widely accepted faith another words you can’t just make one up and say this is what we believe it must be accepted by the masses as a proper religion)as you see fit may not be infringed apron!
      sorry but taking a job cannot require you to go against your faith . for a Christian doc to preform an abortion puts him in violation of Gods law . go to a secular hospital if you want to be treated under secular standards

  9. minister phillip says:

    My belief is like like this. If a dr refuses to give treatment,because of his beliefs. Therefore they sre todding the hyprocratic,oath out the window. He is there to help people,not shirk his responsibility,by pulling the reigious card

    1. Steven McGhee says:

      There is no job on the face of the Earth where your faith, whatever that may be, comes second. Killing a baby is not “his responsibility”. Taking advantage of all of the free contraceptives and taking responsibility falls on the patient.

  10. Minister Barbara says:

    As i recall Dr.’s take a specific oath to treat without predjudice, or you dont get a license to practice and it is not a faith based oath. Also, a whole lot of hospitals get federal and/or state funded tax dollars that dont just come from a specific religion of tax payers but also from those they deny treatment for. I dont hear them denying those dollars. As i recall, on Jesus’s trip to the cross nothing was said about how many different faith gatherings he passed, he died for all our sins, how shameful people are becoming such hypocrites of their own beliefs. This also makes a whole lot of religios church going folks who dont even follow the commandment, thou shall not kill. If a Dr denies treatment and that person dies, that is murder plain and simple. The rest of the ten commandments, who are they meant for if not for those claiming to be following the lords way.when did God gives his solemn right to judge others to the self righteous.
    It is sad to see and hear all of this self righteous judgement and condemnation of others no matter the religion or not.
    I dont know who.pissed in everyone’s Post Toasties but just get another bowl for goodness sakes and get over it. Help your neighbor, ask your neighbor who can help you with something you need and smile, is that so hard. We have all had trials, tribulations and very sad things happen to.us but we have also had blessings, joy and happiness.

    1. Dan says:

      There is a difference between treating the sick and performing elective procedures. The Hippocratic oath pertains to treating the sick, not performing procedures that are not related to illness, but are in fact birth control.

    2. Steven McGhee says:

      This is the Hippocratic oath, try reading it.
      I swear by Apollo Physician and Asclepius and Hygieia and Panaceia and all the gods and goddesses, making them my witnesses, that I will fulfill according to my ability and judgment this oath and this covenant:

      To hold him who has taught me this art as equal to my parents and to live my life in partnership with him, and if he is in need of money to give him a share of mine, and to regard his offspring as equal to my brothers in male lineage and to teach them this art—if they desire to learn it—without fee and covenant; to give a share of precepts and oral instruction and all the other learning to my sons and to the sons of him who has instructed me and to pupils who have signed the covenant and have taken an oath according to the medical law, but no one else.

      I will apply dietetic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice.

      I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art.

      I will not use the knife, not even on sufferers from stone, but will withdraw in favor of such men as are engaged in this work.

      Whatever houses I may visit, I will come for the benefit of the sick, remaining free of all intentional injustice, of all mischief and in particular of sexual relations with both female and male persons, be they free or slaves.

      What I may see or hear in the course of the treatment or even outside of the treatment in regard to the life of men, which on no account one must spread abroad, I will keep to myself, holding such things shameful to be spoken about.

      If I fulfill this oath and do not violate it, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and art, being honored with fame among all men for all time to come; if I transgress it and swear falsely, may the opposite of all this be my lot.
      Notice that they are to teach their profession for free…broken oath
      Notice they are to share their wealth…broken oath
      Paragraph 4… Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. ….broken oath

      1. Todd66 says:

        The people to take this up with would be the AMA. Perhaps some sections of the oath need to be rewritten to reflect modern trends. Contact them and see how they feel.

      2. Gomez says:

        If anyone is curious, this is the actual oath doctor’s take today – the one above is not anything relevant:

        I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:

        I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.

        I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures which are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.

        I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug.

        I will not be ashamed to say “I know not,” nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient’s recovery.

        I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humility and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.

        I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person’s family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.

        I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.

        I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.

        If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.

    3. pastor Randy says:

      actually it’s called the hypocritic oath. and it says first do no harm. that means when you treat someone give the best care possible. it doesn’t mean you can’t have and follow religious beliefs

  11. Heather says:

    There exists a disturbing trend in Catholic hospital entities gobbling up surrounding private practices and even buying out the competition. Their ever-climbing insurance billing shenanigans combined with these and other corporate shark tactics reveal them to be nothing like the charitable arm of the Church that they began as, run by the nuns. In many areas (including mine) they ARE the only option to deliver your baby, and our community is at their mercy. They are a horrible provider from a quality perspective because we have no other choice, and when they kill their patients, it was God’s will.

  12. Howard Stone says:

    No religion should go against God’s word. God’s word says that we are His children. We are to minister to those children of God. Just because we may not agree does not mean we are above the word of God. Again it should not be about religion, it should be about following the principles and character of God the Father He says what we have done to one of His children, we have done it to Him also..

  13. Dr. Walter Green says:

    Health professionals assume a great responsibility for the wellness of their patients when they earn their credentials as physicians, nurses, other health professionals, emergency medical technicians, etc. That responsibility is independent of their religious convictions. If religion prevents you from acting with humanity toward your fellow human beings and providing them the care they need to live a full life according to the scientifically accepted standards of care, then either you should change your religion or you should change your profession. No one forces someone to become a Doctor. Someone does force a rape victim to be a rape victim, and our bodies from time to time force us to deal with horrible diseases. If religion is truly a reason on which to base care decisions, I could reasonably say as a pre-hospital emergency responder that I will never treat a Catholic, no matter how critically injured or how far other help might be away, because of the Catholic massacre of my Protestant ancestors on Saint Batholemew’s day. Or I could say I will leave a Republican to die on the side of the road, because my religious beliefs hold the political platform of the Republican Party to be anathema. As tempting as those two propositions (or any other similar evil proposition) might be, you cannot administratively structure a health care system based on this hospital has this belief system so if I have this problem I can only go to that hospital. Nor can you do so ethically or morally.

    1. Reverend M says:

      You go Dr. Green! My sentiments exactly.

    2. Dan says:

      These are not health issues. These are elective procedures.

    3. Steven McGhee says:

      The Catholics did not structure the failing health care system, Obama and the socialists did. If you are being forced to go to a hospital who is not required to provide elective or non emergency services you desire then write a nasty letter to one of the democrats that voted for it without reading it.

      1. Todd66 says:

        You go, Steven! Obamacare needs to be scrapped!

    4. Paul Robinson says:

      I could not agree more! Great post!

    5. Randy says:

      no one forces them to ho yo that hospital . sorry as the bible says what God says is right is right and what God says is wrong is wrong . his word trumps all so if you are a doctor and a Christian you treat your parents according to his word and if man says you should do different man is wrong

  14. Chris Decker says:

    Certainly these patients have a number of hospitals to choose from. Some may or may not be included in whatever insurance they have, but that’s their choice, right? They could choose to pay more and go to a different hospital….

    That being said, if any organization that claims to be religious is receiving tax breaks or more importantly tax dollars from the general public, they should not be allowed to discriminate based on religious preference. I can’t choose where my tax dollars go. Why should they be allowed to choose who benefits from my money? If your religion is so shaky you can’t help another human being in need then perhaps you should examine why you follow that particular religion. Most of the belief systems of the world claim to follow a path of helping and tolerance, yet in action do just the opposite. How sad. Is it any wonder we can’t have peace?

    1. Randy says:

      you are full of it!
      I’m a Christian my tax dollars go to your secular institutions which I wouldn’t use i.e. planned parenthood and to public schools which teach evolution which goes against my beliefs yet I have to choice but to fund it. A doctor can care for his patient as he sees fit if the patient don’t like or agree they are free to go to another doctor

    2. Pastor Randy says:

      that’s total bs!
      they get the tax breaks because they are religious thus it’s appropriate that in running the organization that the religious principles and teachings they follow are adhered to including how they treat and what procedures they do!
      thus your comment is rediculous

  15. Jim says:

    In every case cited in this article, the medical procedure was optional, the patient’s life was not in jeopardy. COBRA protections don’t apply. These cases could have been denied legally for any reason or no reason at all. In this case, it seems they were denied due to hospital policy.
    PS Employees of Catholic hospitals are bound by the belief of their employer, not their own. They either accept that or move on.

  16. ralph baginski says:

    as an employee of a catholic hospital, I can say without hesitation that I have never seen anyone denied care because of their personal beliefs. in fact, unless a patient makes their beliefs known, we rarely even know what their religion is. I think this entire conversation is based on a moot point. the Hippocratic oath and the law makes denial of care on any grounds pretty much impossible. its called professional ethics.

    1. Steven McGhee says:

      Actually the Hippocratic oath forbids abortions. See below, paragraph four.
      I swear by Apollo Physician and Asclepius and Hygieia and Panaceia and all the gods and goddesses, making them my witnesses, that I will fulfill according to my ability and judgment this oath and this covenant:

      To hold him who has taught me this art as equal to my parents and to live my life in partnership with him, and if he is in need of money to give him a share of mine, and to regard his offspring as equal to my brothers in male lineage and to teach them this art—if they desire to learn it—without fee and covenant; to give a share of precepts and oral instruction and all the other learning to my sons and to the sons of him who has instructed me and to pupils who have signed the covenant and have taken an oath according to the medical law, but no one else.

      I will apply dietetic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice.

      I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art.

      I will not use the knife, not even on sufferers from stone, but will withdraw in favor of such men as are engaged in this work.

      Whatever houses I may visit, I will come for the benefit of the sick, remaining free of all intentional injustice, of all mischief and in particular of sexual relations with both female and male persons, be they free or slaves.

      What I may see or hear in the course of the treatment or even outside of the treatment in regard to the life of men, which on no account one must spread abroad, I will keep to myself, holding such things shameful to be spoken about.

      If I fulfill this oath and do not violate it, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and art, being honored with fame among all men for all time to come; if I transgress it and swear falsely, may the opposite of all this be my lot.

      1. Gomez says:

        No, it does not. We can look things up, you know.

        “I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:

        I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.

        I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures which are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.

        I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug.

        I will not be ashamed to say “I know not,” nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient’s recovery.

        I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humility and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.

        I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person’s family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.

        I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.

        I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.

        If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.”

  17. Reverend M says:

    People do NOT always have a “choice”, as some have stated. None of us actually knows where these people live. There are many small towns and rural areas of this country who are not offered any hospital, and there are some who are ONLY offered religion based hospitals. Even so, if they are honestly “religious” people, it wouldn’t matter if others’ beliefs conflict with their own. We are all one, we all have the same creator, and we should love and take care of all unconconditionally.

  18. Reverend K says:

    I work for one of the biggest Catholic “health” companies in the US. We have chaplains of many denominations who serve our customers. Although I have witnessed many examples of good, Christian care for patients, my experience tells me that all they are is an insurance company that wants your money. They state up front that they don’t only accept people that are Catholic or Christian. The controlling forces don’t give a crap about any religion besides capitalism.

    1. Paul Robinson says:

      Sounds more as they are not Christian, but worshippers of Mammon.

  19. Rene L. says:

    The problem is that the interrelations are between two people, and both have their belief. Government should have the right to legally separate church and state, and in an ideal world humanity and common sense should override the schism between religious feeling and medical need of the patient. We unfortunately do not live in that world, yet.

    1. Steven McGhee says:

      I’m not sure where you live, but here in America we do have separation of Church and State. The hospital in question is not operated by the State, it is operated by the Church.

      1. Paul Robinson says:

        I’dd like to know if there are any Hospitals that are not religious? From my experience Kaiser is quite religious. Same I have heard about many others as well. Me and my Wife are not Catholic, but she would probably be dead now if it were not for Saint Mary’s, as she had water on the brain, and it was causing her to loose her balance and fall down and not be able to get back up. Kaiser refused to run any tests that would find the problem, and it took an ambulance taking her to another hospital to save her life.

        Basically I’m saying, if a woman is pregnant and has concerned for her own life for medical reasons, they should avoid religious hospitals. However, if they are not pregnant they are a great choice, as they consider life of the adult more important than the cost of running a CT scan, or other tests to find a problem and save a persons life.

        1. Minister Leslie says:

          What everyone is forgetting here, is God gives a a choice! The hospitals are run for financial gain, if you dont have the money or insurance to cover. Your not seen, lets get real here! I was in that position, and choose to keep my baby, spent 3 months in the hospital, baby was born at 2 lbs. He was called the miracle baby! Is now 20 and is a big humanatrian, will change the world someday.

  20. Rev Troy says:

    To all that bring up the aurgment of seperation of church and state, the last thing we need in such a case would be more government intervention. The hospital in such a case would be wrong, even in God’s eye. Their stance of pro-life is warpped in this instance. All doctors take an oath to do no harm, by not preforming the procudure they would in fact violate that oath. Because they would be signing a death warrant for her. I would hope that her ob/gyn would find her an alternative to help her get it done.

  21. Tom Jaynes says:

    Whatever happened to “heal the sick”? I do not remember any conditions on this

    1. Steven McGhee says:

      The Hippocratic oath deals with that. Pregnancy is not an illness/sickness. Here is the oath itself, read paragraph four.
      I swear by Apollo Physician and Asclepius and Hygieia and Panaceia and all the gods and goddesses, making them my witnesses, that I will fulfill according to my ability and judgment this oath and this covenant:

      To hold him who has taught me this art as equal to my parents and to live my life in partnership with him, and if he is in need of money to give him a share of mine, and to regard his offspring as equal to my brothers in male lineage and to teach them this art—if they desire to learn it—without fee and covenant; to give a share of precepts and oral instruction and all the other learning to my sons and to the sons of him who has instructed me and to pupils who have signed the covenant and have taken an oath according to the medical law, but no one else.

      I will apply dietetic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice.

      I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art.

      I will not use the knife, not even on sufferers from stone, but will withdraw in favor of such men as are engaged in this work.

      Whatever houses I may visit, I will come for the benefit of the sick, remaining free of all intentional injustice, of all mischief and in particular of sexual relations with both female and male persons, be they free or slaves.

      What I may see or hear in the course of the treatment or even outside of the treatment in regard to the life of men, which on no account one must spread abroad, I will keep to myself, holding such things shameful to be spoken about.

      If I fulfill this oath and do not violate it, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and art, being honored with fame among all men for all time to come; if I transgress it and swear falsely, may the opposite of all this be my lot.

      1. Gomez says:

        nope nope nope and once more, nope. Here is the actual oath used:

        I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:

        I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.

        I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures which are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.

        I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug.

        I will not be ashamed to say “I know not,” nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient’s recovery.

        I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humility and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.

        I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person’s family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.

        I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.

        I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.

        If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.

  22. Rev Troy says:

    First off, there was no abortion brought up. This producure would not be elective, since an additional pregency could jepordize her life. This was to be done after the present baby was born.

  23. Minister Leslie says:

    Where is their oath when you have no insurance, or cant afford the prescription they write?

  24. Jon says:

    Honestly…she had been RAPED! Probably in shock. Ever attended one in the ER. I have. Furthermore, the Doctor violated EMTALA and several other federal regulations. The law is clear: the doctor can refuse to treat, but he must then provide a referral of someone who will. Sorry to burst anyone’s balloon, but that’s the way it works in the real world.

    1. Paul Robinson says:

      Just because there is a law saying that something is to be done, does not mean that it will be followed. Chances are that such a doctor will say that she refused to seek another doctor, when it was him that refused to let her know an alternative. Also in such settings, the other doctors and medical staff will back him up.

  25. Paul Robinson says:

    One of the major problems that I have with bringing religion into fields that are not best served by religion is medicine. This is because it is not the religion and faith of the patient that is of importance, as that is generally disregarded from my experience and the experiences of others as well.

    Also why is pro life really anti life? I say this in is it better for society to have children with none to raise and nurture them, or for only those that are mature and healthy enough to properly raise children for them to only be doing so? After all it is worse for someone to have children that hates children to raise the children, than to have someone that loves children to have children. This is overlooked along with those that want all women that are pregnant to have children (as their body is not theirs to care for, as they are the property of others), and they have children that they are unable to care for. There was a study published in “Freekonomics” about free abortions to poor women reducing crime, as those who could afford to and were mentally prepared to properly raise children, had children that lead to a reduction in crime, and the children that would otherwise be criminals to get what they want in life that they are unable to get elsewhere by stealing and robbing etc were not born. Where are those people that want women to have children when they need money and support to raise those children, they are not there as they want to increase suffering. I know Buddha said life is suffering, but that is not what was intended.

    I can see now where there are many doctors that do not see chronic pain as suffering, even if it decreases the quality of life to the point where a person no longer looks forward to waking up the next morning. Those that think this is a mental problem on the part of the chronic pain patient, do not understand life. There are many of Gods creatures in nature that also have the same feelings, and when they get to that point they generally quit eating or do other things to end their suffering. We are just one of many living beings on this planet, the most powerful when it comes to changing our environment to suit our needs, use of language, and many other things that lesser creatures are unable to do. That does not mean that we are not a part of, and related to what was here before us. The main thing that I can see that really sets mankind apart from all the other creatures on this planet is our ability to hurt and kill each other at a level that is beyond the comprehension of any other creature on this planet. There are many ways to do this, and religion is just as deadly if used as a weapon against someone as any firearm, however the suffering in pain before death is much much longer.

    When I think of pro life, I think of being pro ALL life, not only one small part of the great creation. In other words, I’m saying that I see the statement pro-life as saying save the unborn children at the expense of all other life.

  26. Minister Leslie says:

    Well said, what alot of self righteous people dont see is the suffering of the unwanted! The single parent families with no health insurance.
    Unfortunately the highups in the so called religious hospitals are making 6 figure salaries. Which in there minds puts them in a position to judge!

  27. James Pace says:

    What happened to the Hippocratic oath of do no harm?

  28. Tom Jaynes says:

    Again, heal the sick.

  29. Steven Claar says:

    Plain and simple religion has no place in hospitals when it comes to treatment!

  30. Randy says:

    if you go to a catholic hospital the doctors can be expected to follow the teachings of the church same for a presbitarian or even Muslim . my right to practice my faith doesn’t ever stop . you can ho to a secular hospital that’s your choice but that’s where your tight ends . you come to a catholic hospital you come knowing they practice based apon tge doctrine of the Catholic Church .
    you have no right to go there ! you are allied access bc you pay and agree to their terms

  31. Minister Daniel says:

    Why do some get the right but other do not (like Catholic) If that is their choice then make your choice but do not force your choices onto others. I believe Jesus stands at the door to be invited in not orders you to open it and do as he wants. He lets all make a choice. Minister Daniel

  32. TC says:

    If the hospital takes your money, receives government money, then they can shut up and put up. If they don’t want to do that then this country should deny them any government money, remove any non profit status, and the hospital can pay the highest taxes that can be levied against them. Religion should NEVER trump individual rights.

  33. pastor Randy says:

    first off if they refuse to perform the service they won’t be taking your money.
    and what about the individual religious rights of the doctors and nurses as you seem to forget they also have rights.
    you have no right to go to that hospital they choose to take you based on their beliefs and practices. If their beliefs and practices don’t meet your needs you are free to go elese where.
    and no they shouldn’t be denied non profit status as they are ran by the church to fulfill the churches mission. when you picked a faith based business you do so with the full knowledge of their beliefs. the constitution gives them the right to practice their beliefs even In business . you on the left need to grow up and realize you aren’t entitled to anything . if I go to a secular hospital I don’t expect the nurses or doctors to pray with me even if I ask but I’d expect them to offer to at a religious hospital . you need to reassess you priorities

  34. Inis Magrath (@InisMagrath) says:

    To every commenter here who claims a woman can just “walk down the street” to another hospital — that is FALSE. First of all, there are cases where a hospital patient is not ambulatory. Second, there are countries where that option doesn’t remedy the matter, such as Ireland where a woman recently died because a Catholic hospital refused a life-saving abortion procedure in a case where the fetus was already no longer going to survive. It’s a horrible case and it highlights how religious ideology can cloud sound medical reasoning. See: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/20/world/europe/jury-cites-poor-medical-care-in-death-of-indian-woman-in-ireland.html?_r=0

  35. pastor Harrington says:

    we are talking about in the USA. secondly the phrase walk down the street means can go somewhere elese it doesn’t mean literally walk .
    some people really are to stupid to be allowed to have a say on how things are done

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