Why Catholic Hospitals Should Scare You

Who’s running your local hospital?

There’s been an ongoing — and frightening — trend in health care circles: Catholic organizations are merging with secular hospitals and health-care providers, striking agreements that include strict adherence to Catholic teaching. The implications for patient care can be very serious, especially if you’re a woman or an elderly person… but many people don’t know about the possible ramifications until it’s too late.

According to the most recent numbers from the Catholic Health Association of the United States of America (CHAUSA), one-sixth of Americans admitted to hospitals across the country are getting care from Catholic organizations. In some cases, that may not matter. In other situations, it could mean the difference between life and death.

That’s because Catholic hospitals often put policies into place that privilege the Church’s dogma over patients’ freedom of conscience and choice… and, in some cases, health. Doctors, nurses, and other caregivers in a Catholic hospital may find themselves prohibited (PDF) by the institution that employs them from offering patients the best-quality care. According to Sheila Reynertson, advocacy coordinator for MergerWatch (via email):

Mergers between secular and Catholic health care facilities always result in the adoption of some or all of the Ethical and Religious Directives, depending on the nature of the contract and the bishop’s willingness to compromise.

It’s probably not surprising that the most egregious violations come up in areas related to reproductive health. Catholic hospitals, almost without exception, refuse to offer abortion, contraception (emergency or otherwise), vasectomies, tubal ligations, or reproductive-health services like in-vitro fertilization.

In serious medical cases where pregnancy threatens the woman’s life, doctors are required to either send a woman off-site for her abortion or attempt to save both lives, even when the woman’s chances could be clearly and dramatically improved by terminating the pregnancy. In the case of ectopic pregnancy, a potentially fatal condition where the embryo is stuck in the Fallopian tube, Catholic medical ethics only permit the removal of the entire blocked tube, decreasing the woman’s future fertility by half. Doctors could extract the embryo without harming the tube, but that would defy Catholic moral teaching by causing an abortion directly. Removing the whole tube preserves an illusion of moral acceptability at the patient’s expense.

These moral contortions are being forced on doctors and patients who are not necessarily Catholic, oftentimes living in areas where they may not have access to alternatives. Poor women, who are more likely to rely on hospitals and hospital outpatient programs to meet their reproductive health needs, are disproportionately affected. And in an environment where Catholic organizations buy or merge with existing service providers with stunning regularity, staff and patients may find their health-care environment transformed suddenly and unexpectedly, forcing them into difficult situations.

Slightly less well known are the Catholic strictures on end-of-life care. Church dogma requires medical staff to provide certain life-support measures, like feeding tubes and intravenous hydration, indefinitely, even when the patient has given end-of-life directives in advance. In those cases, Catholic institutions will ignore the individual’s wishes if they conflict with Church teaching… even if the individual in question is not a Catholic. Given that, it’s troubling that Catholic organizations also own 1,400 long-term care and assisted living services and facilities, where their patients’ needs are subordinated to a doctrine they may not accept or understand.

It’s tempting to think that these situations are the Catholic Church’s efforts to undermine freedom of religion and impose their moral doctrines on the general population, but Reynertson says it’s really all about the bottom line:

“The days of nuns in habits running the hospitals are over. They are run by hospital administrators focusing on running a business, not spreading the word.”

In practical terms, though, the distinction means little for patients and care providers, who find themselves bound by the moral judgments of a religion they may not accept – and those judgments have real-world consequences. In 2009, two Texas health care providers agreed to refuse tubal ligations to women; a third hospital, in Oregon, refused to do the same and was stripped of its Catholic affiliation.

Sounds like good riddance! But for cash-strapped service providers, the withdrawal of Church funding is a serious concern. The Church has set up a system in which their networks of medical care enable them to negotiate better prices on insurance and medical equipment; being forcibly ejected from that system can upset a hospital’s budgetary balance in serious ways. Hospital staff often find themselves frustrated when the financial realities of hospital administration keep them bound to an institution that prioritizes dogma over what’s best for the patients.

MergerWatch is currently tracking possible Catholic/secular mergers in Arkansas, Texas, Maine, and Washington, among others. Defenders of the practice insist that a partnership with a Catholic-run organization is preferable to the full-scale loss of services.

Maybe so. But doctors and patients need some very strong legislation to protect them from religious organizations using their burgeoning wealth to impose a theological agenda on health care, even in cases where patients’ lives hang in the balance.

(Illustration by Bengie)

About Sara Lin Wilde

Sara Lin Wilde is a recovering Catholic (and cat-holic, for that matter - all typographical errors are the responsibility of her feline friends). She lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where she is working on writing a novel that she really, really hopes can actually get published.

  • Sue Blue

    This has been going on with a vengeance in the Seattle area. I’m an RN who was out of work due to an accident over a year ago. While searching for a new job, I was shocked to find that nearly every hospital and medical center I applied at was owned by Providence Healthcare (a Catholic organization), whose mission statement on their website reads like that of a church – “Serving God first”. Not the patient. Not even the concept of wellness – nope; God comes first. I turned down an attractive full-time offer from Swedish Hospital when I discovered that they had recently been bought out by Providence. The only hospitals not owned by the Catholics as far as I have been able to determine are the University of Washington Medical Center and Harborview. It’s very upsetting to me. I just can’t see compromising the nursing and personal ethics I swore to uphold just to get a job. I don’t want to be party to an organization that claims to be helping people only as long as they conform to some arbitrary “morals”. How can any nurse, physician or other healthcare worker stand by and let people die? Unbelievable.

    • No Longer Buying Medical Lies

      Hell, all hospitals scare me. The infection rate is getting worse, and according to the AMA’s own statistics Medical Malpractice kills 100,000 plus people per years.

      Like my cousin, who would have probably survived if he had just stayed home and prayed!

      • TheG

        I don’t suppose you are going to give credit to all the family members who were saved by members of the AMA? Do you not know anything about weighing benefit vs. risk? Even if your number is factually correct, how many millions were saved? Your cousin had a fighting chance because of the medical system, not the least of which reason is that your cousin survived childbirth, the first fever, measles, polio, cholera, smallpox… get the picture? Your cousin was only alive to die from malpractice because of the countless practitioners within the slightly flawed system that are doing far better than you could with your stunted scientific mind.

      • decathelite

        Hi, No Longer Buying Medical Lies. Or is your name Cynical Bastard? Did you change your name because of the comments you made on the couple who let their kid die that got downvoted to oblivion?

        11 million children die each year from preventable disease around the world because they do not have access to any medical care. So take your theory that staying away from doctors is better and cram it up your self righteous ass.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=599181133 Chelsea Frost

        Are you trolling, or just really stupid?

      • AntonioPeYangIII

        [Like my cousin, who would have probably survived if he had just stayed home and prayed!]

        Yeah! The power of prayah!

        http://news.discovery.com/human/psychology/faith-healing-parents-arrested-over-death-of-second-child-130424.htm

        …Or not :P

      • Sheldon

        Yeah right. Like the old “Jesus loves children” rubbish as 10 million of them die annually ans every 20 seconds a child dies from diarrhea related causes. Had your Kentucky Bluegrass this morning?

    • Ella Warnock

      That’s really disappointing about Swedish. I got very good care there.

  • sunburned

    If a institution offers health care services to the general public they should be bound by law to provide the best procedures and or treatment available and is acceptable to the patient and/or those with the power to make those decisions.

    It’s morally abhorrent use health care services as a platform to push your religious dogma on an unsuspecting public.

    • Sue Blue

      Exactly. And they should be required by law to provide access to ALL services, such as abortions (whether elective or emergency) and end-of-life self-determination, that are legal in this state and country. Personally, I feel that religious organizations should be barred from offering healthcare services or owning any healthcare organizations. Healthcare should be completely egalitarian; it should be “blind” to lifestyles, socioeconomic status, race, religion, sex, gender, and so on.
      This religious infiltration of healthcare is yet another manifestation of the basic ethical problem of “for profit”, corporatized healthcare.

      • That’s A Fact

        Fortunately the Constitution would bar you from keeping believers from organizing their own hospitals…and thankfully because if it was left to the corporations the masses could just go die.

        And if you think Capitalist america is going to be blind to socioeconomic status you are delusional.

        Those with the money get better doctors, lawyers, education, food, clothes, houses and girlfriends.

        There is nothing inconsistent with being an Atheist and a Died In The Wool Capitalist.

        • Sven2547

          “…the Constitution would bar you from keeping believers from organizing their own hospitals…”
          Nobody’s suggesting that at all. Strawman much?

          • Rwlawoffice

            Not a strawman at all. If the law required a religious organization to conduct their hospital in violation of their religious beliefs it would prevent them fom freely exercising their religion or not opening a hospital. It would have a chilling effect on religion that would be unconstitutional in that it would effectively prevent religious folks from opening a hospital consistent with their religious convictions.

            • http://twitter.com/JasonOfTerra PhiloKGB

              Perhaps religious convictions of the type, “Christian C believes Doctor D ought not be able to perform S on Patient P,” aren’t actually constitutionally protected.

            • RobMcCune

              Cool, so as a lawyer, you have the right to work against your own client if your religious beliefs find them in the wrong? It’s your first amendment right to exercise your religion after all.

              • Rwlawoffice

                I do have the right not to take that client or to withdraw from representing that client if it would go against my religious beliefs. What makes you thinking couldn’t do that?

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  You don’t take the Hippocratic Oath as a lawyer. Doctors do. They have both a legal and ethical obligation to act in the best interested of their patient/client, even if it goes against their religious beliefs. In non-emergency situations, doctors can refer people to others who don’t share their religious qualms, but in emergency situations there is absolutely no excuse for letting one’s religion interfere with one’s obligation to do no harm.

                  Do you support the doctor in this piece who very nearly let a woman bleed to death on his watch? http://www.salon.com/2011/05/26/abortion_saved_my_life/singleton/

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Patton/592034163 Andrew Patton

                  How can anyone have an ethical obligation to violate their own religious beliefs? Only a hypocrite would say he was being ethical by violating his own religious beliefs even if he was being tortured.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Do no harm. Watching someone bleed to death in front of you is unquestionably doing harm. How can you even claim to be a good person when you have the means at your disposal to alleviate suffering and then … don’t?

      • ajc

        Let’s do that bar them from providing medical care. As for now in the US that would close 85% of hospitals. Not only that but the US would lose approximately 90% in its health care budgets that are donated by catholic health organizations. So let us just put ourselves in a place like Africa and just so we can make a immoral unhumanlike decision.

  • Skulander

    I read about this a while ago. I simply could not believe this. But alas, yes, Catholic hospitals would really DO put women’s lives at risk. Not performing SOME of the procedures above (vasectomies, tubal ligations), although a sign of patriarchal control over people’s reproductive choices (men AND women, although it affects overwhelmingly women), doesn’t pose a great threat to the lives of women. But abortions DO save lives, a fact that antichoicers will deny. It is scary to be pregnant in the U.S., even in a case of a wanted pregnancy.

    And what about rape victims brought to Catholic hospitals? Will they be given Plan B so they won’t get pregnant? Catholic hospitals are so wrong, in so many ways.

    I don’t understand why there isn’t a stronger separation of church and state, especially when it comes to basic healthcare. This state of affair is simply appalling.

    • Stev84

      The most ridiculous thing is about ectopic pregnancies. By any definition of the word, they are performing an abortion when removing the fallopian tube. But due their bullshit double effect sophistry, they pretend that it’s ok because they didn’t harm the embryo directly.

      • onamission5

        And besides which in the process they decrease a woman’s fertility against her will, which is her just desserts for not just letting the tube blow up and kill her like a good baby factory.

    • Baby_Raptor

      Catholic hospitals will test a woman to see if she’s already ovulated after a sexual assault. If she has, they’ll offer Plan B, because they know it will do nothing. If she hasn’t, they’ll do everything in their power to keep her from getting it, attempting to ensure that she gets pregnant.

      They’re litterally creating the need for abortion in the attempt to “save life.”

      • Skulander

        Even then. Most are ignorant of how Plan B works. They’ll ban it no matter what, just in case… Catholic hospitals are evil. To do this to a rape survivor… Disgusting.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

    just so we’re clear: it’s not just women and the elderly. catholic ‘teaching’ expands to all sorts of things when it comes to ‘what jeebus wants your health care to be like.’

    -contraception
    emergency contraception
    women in need of rape kits
    victims of catholic pedophilia

    pain treatment
    end of life care
    homosexual visitation rights

    and those are just the ones to come to the top of my head

  • Stev84

    Are religiously affiliated hospitals in the US exempt from employment anti-discrimination laws?

    • Ryan Jean

      Employment anti-discrimination laws aren’t really the issue in this case, however it has been a hotly-disputed aspect of law.

      There is a de-facto religious privilege known as the “Ministerial Exception” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ministerial_exception ) that exempts religious groups from anti-discrimination statutes in the selection and retention of people performing official religious functions. This has been used (and in my mind, frankly, abused) in a number of instances by, for example, religious schools by naming all their teachers as “ministers” to trigger the exemption, even if those people have no actual religious *function* to the performance of their daily jobs. It’s not a stretch to imagine an area with catholic hospital dominance using such a tactic with the lead doctors and nurses, but it would be very difficult and likely self-defeating to extend it to the entire staff.

      • Stev84

        Well, there is no “this case” here really. It’s a general article that doesn’t deal with a specific incident. It’s true that it’s about the health care for the patients, but how they treat their employees is also relevant. It’s also wrong to buy up hospitals and then force their employee’s to follow church doctrine or get fired.

        • Rwlawoffice

          So if an atheist group bought a hospital and forced doctors to perform voluntary abortions or lose their privileges, would that be wrong?

          • Stev84

            Obvious troll is obvious

            • Rwlawoffice

              Obvious avoidance of a legitimate question that is a logical response to your point that it is wrong to fire an employee for expecting them to run your business according to the beliefs of the owner of the business. Typical response here.

          • Mogg

            I’ve never heard of a doctor or nurse being forced to perform a non-emergency abortion in conflict with their individual conscience or religious belief. That would be illegal. It’s not like there isn’t huge amounts of other work to be done in a hospital which staff can be rostered around so only willing staff are working in the theatre for termination lists.

            In any case, let’s turn around the argument which you and your mate Cyril were using before – if these hypothetical doctors don’t like the options provided by the hospital, why don’t they just go to another? Doctors are well paid, well educated, well informed and extremely well able to make such a choice – unlike many of the patients you seem happy to inflict you religious beliefs on.

            • Cyril Jones-Kellett

              I think I am missing something. If there were a Catholic doctor working for an atheist hospital then the doctor should either follow the rules of the atheist hospital or find another job.

              I think I am agreeing with you, or else I missed your point.

              The atheist hospital has a religious right to function as an atheist hospital.

              Now, if it is a government hospital that is another matter, because the First Amendment (with a little turbo boost from the 14th) forbids the government from discriminating on the basis of religion.

              I think you are wrong about doctors not being forced to perform abortions, though. Several medical schools have required students to perform abortions, and there are religious freedom lawsuits pending regarding those.

              But as to religious freedom to have an atheist hospital, as a Catholic, I would support that. Religious freedom means religious freedom.

              On the other hand, I would also outlaw abortion on demand because it violates the rights of the baby, so, maybe our agreement only goes so far.

              • Mogg

                I personally would have a problem with forcing a doctor to perform an abortion against their ethical or religious belief, although in the case of students I think there would have to be some sort of alternative available so if they are in the position of having to perform an emergency abortion in the future they are not completely at a loss. The techniques for first trimester abortion are identical to other gynaecological D&C/D&E surgeries in any case, so forcing someone to perform an elective, early abortion in the name of training is a little pointless. If a Catholic hospital or doctor is asked for an elective abortion and will not do it on personal ethical grounds, they should at least be required by law to refer to someone who will on the basis that not all patients are Catholic or believe that foetuses should be accorded human rights and the law agrees. Anything less is a case of the doctor forcing his or her ethics onto the patient.

                I’m fascinated by your use of the term “atheist hospital”. You do realise there’s no need for a hospital to make any statement on religion, right? It would be a bit pointless for a hospital to state that they run specifically on the basis of nolack of belief in a deity or deities, as it has nothing to do with medicine. On the other hand, running on a basis of best medical and nursing practice is something I like in a hospital, and .
                a lack of belief in deities, it has nothing to do with medicine

                • Mogg

                  Urgh, I hate Disqus! Couldn’t see what I was typing at the end of the comment box, and it got a bit messed up. should be “…basis of no belief in a deity…” and finish at “…something I like in a hospital.”

                • Cyril Jones-Kellett

                  Well, we agree on that. Disqus seems to be buggy!

                • Mogg

                  Yup :-)

                • Cyril Jones-Kellett

                  My point is that people are free to call their hospital whatever they want so long as it is a private venture and not a government hospital.
                  Call is a “Skeptics” or “heathens” or a “freethinkers” hospital, I don’t care.
                  Just leave other people alone when they start a hospital and you don’t.

                • Andrew Patton

                  Referring the patient to someone else to perform an abortion is as bad as, if not worse than performing the abortion yourself. What I am forbidden to do by natural law, I am also forbidden to counsel or direct to someone who will.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/EYZCDG3OAPGD3PDG7XD7SM7OAM ElizabethS

    This makes me want to cry. I think of my grandfather. At the end of his life he was in terrible pain. If he had been in a religious hospital they would have forced a feeding tube or respirator to prolong his pain? That is a terrible and immoral act.

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

      or, depending on the flavor of theocracy they practice, denied him pain meds because “it’s god’s will” he suffer.

    • Gina F.

      Yes, they would have forced a feeding tube as they did to my father while he was in a coma. The nurse told me she was opposed to feeding him, and his body would soon reject the food as he was dying. Surgeons had previously ignored his DNR, saying it was “old” and did heroic surgery on an 86-year-old bone cancer afflicted man who had suffered an aortic aneurism. He never regained consciousness.

  • Steve

    Religion kills, it’s as simple as that

  • MargueriteF

    An awful lot of the hospitals and doctors around here are affiliated with a Catholic health care system. I did not love having my last operation in a facility with a big statue of Jesus out front. But I was also a bit surprised by their insistence on having me take a pregnancy test before they could operate. I assured them I’d had my tubes tied; they insisted that I nevertheless had to take a pregnancy test before I could have the procedure. Granted that it did involve imaging, and perhaps x-rays, but I don’t recall being required to take pregnancy tests before other imaging procedures. I suppose if you believe God could impregnate a virgin, you also believe he could impregnate a middle-aged woman who’s undergone tubal ligation.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Patton/592034163 Andrew Patton

      Tubal ligation makes it difficult, but not impossible to conceive. The only 100% effective means of sterilization entails removing the necessary organs, not merely mutilating them.

      • Andrew Patton

        Who down-voted medical facts?

  • http://twitter.com/LaCatholicState la catholic state

    Have any of you heard the horror stories from the secular NHS in the UK?! When you have….you will all want the comfort and consolation of a true Catholic hospital….

    • RobMcCune

      I hear they put the well being of patient above authoritarianism, the horror.

      • http://twitter.com/LaCatholicState la catholic state

        Quite the opposite actually. The ego and status of nurses come before the well-being of patients…..which is last on the list. Also….the NHS is more interested in ideology promotion rather than the health of its patients.

        • RobMcCune

          the NHS is more interested in ideology promotion rather than the health of its patients.

          Project much?

    • alfaretta

      Almost all the hospitals in my U.S. city are Catholic hospitals. I’ve been in several of them as the support for my elderly parents. I’ve seen both excellent and horrendous care (better than Mother Theresa’s group provides to the dying, but disturbing nonetheless.) There are horror stories in every system, but if I’m dying, I’m specifying to be sent to the non-Catholic hospital.

    • blasphemous_kansan

      >>”….you will all want the comfort and consolation of a true Catholic hospital….”

      And now the debate on the definition of a “True” ™ Catholic Hospital can officially begin!

      How can I tell a “True” Catholic Hospital from a “not-true-catholic-but-still-claiming-to-be-catholic” Catholic Hospital?

      Will one of these hospitals value the life of my wife more than the fertilized cell cluster that is inside of her? Which one will let her die to save the clump? In which one will they assault you with feeding tubes to keep you alive against your wishes? In which one will they deny visitation rights to homosexual partners? Inquiring minds want to know where we can find (and avoid) the “True” Catholic Hospitals.

    • Gus Snarp

      All health care systems have horror stories. The appropriate comparison would be to non-Catholic hospitals in the U.S.

      Even then, the pertinent question is not whether there are horror stories. It matters considerably more how widespread they are, whether they’re random instances or direct results of an administration that values a particular subset of a particular religious sect’s teachings over decisions made on the basis of the best medical science and the patient’s best interests. It also matters, if there are systemic problems, whether they can be fixed and the system is willing to fix them, or would rather leave people without medical care at all than take a very simple action to fix them (like making medical decisions based on science instead of religion).

    • Steve Bowen

      There are isolated instances of very bad care in the NHS, however the vast majority of it is extremely good and at least you won’t be refused care because of a non existent uber-misogynist in the sky.

    • NewDawn2006

      One can not want government run health care and still not want a Catholic hospital. You are trying to make the Catholic hospitals out to be the lesser of two evils. Did you read the article above? How can you discount the horror stories shared above?

    • SeekerLancer

      Because there’s never been any horror stories about healthcare in the US? No system is perfect when you’re dealing with something this delicate. There will always be horror stories. Catholic hospitals are not immune to them either.

      Most people I know from the UK are pretty happy the NHS exists. Even a lot of political conservatives.

      The best hospital experience I ever had was at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center which needless to say is not Catholic.

    • Baby_Raptor

      Never. I’d rather have to wait a couple more days to get a procedure done than have to worry that some asshole doctor is going to put his personal religion over my medical care. Fuck the Catholics, and Fuck your fearmongering.

      • Derrik Pates

        The problem in many cases, particularly with hospitals being acquired or co-opted by Catholic healthcare groups, isn’t the doctors – it’s the administrators. Many of the doctors are willing to do what’s in the patient’s best interest, but the hospital administration won’t let them, and will make their lives hell if they do. Look to Washington State for an excellent example of almost an entire state’s medical care system subsumed by Catholic interests.

  • LesterBallard

    There are two local hospitals in my very small city; the “Catholic” hospital is better by far. Not to mention the only dialysis centers are connected to the Catholic hospital. So, in this case I’m hypocrite.

    • Charles Honeycutt

      No, you’re not a hypocrite. They’re the ones removing your options.

      • LesterBallard

        Well, me personally, not being a woman or LGBT, I haven’t had any problems. Every time you register for something you’re asked about religious preference. I say none. And someone will eventually show up, a nun or priest or something, and ask, ask, about prayer and such. I always say no thank you, and they haven’t been pushy and I’ve never been treated differently. But, like I said, I’m a heterosexual male. But I wonder what would happen if I wore that atheist shirt from the previous post?

  • http://www.facebook.com/bruce.leckey Bruce Leckey

    As an atheist medical student and future medical professional this is absolutely infuriating. Throughout school we are taught to provide the best care to our patients, and to have a religious organization come into a health care setting and say there are some aspects of medicine that you aren’t allowed to perform because it goes against their belief system is absurd. If a patient requests that certain procedures not be performed because of their views that’s fine, but to have a medical institution refuse to provide certain treatments should be outright illegal. If only there were enough secular health professionals with enough money to start a new hospital organization where the kind of care patients deserve could be given without regard for religious nonsense… I guess I can dream right?

    • Just Wonderin

      So, Bruce, would you abort a healthy viable fetus in an otherwise healthy pregnancy if mama suddenly decided she didn’t want a girl baby?

      • Carmelita Spats

        Bruce wouldn’t know that “mama” didn’t want a “girl baby” because Bruce has NO business asking ANY patient why they want to terminate a pregnancy. He would also have NO business asking you why you want the convenience of an IUD or the pill instead of piously playing with your vaginal mucus, scratching and sniffing vaginal mucus, like a dog in heat, as per the Catholic Rhythm/Billings/Creyton Method since “the pill
        kills”…

        http://www.thepillkills.com/

        If YOU made the CHOICE to sniff, then sniff away. It’s all
        about CHOICE. Hell, if Yahweh-the-Yahoo decides to inseminate me through the magic power of His black cosmic goo (known as “Holy Spirit Jizz”), with Jesus Christ himself, due to a soggy “Second Cuming”, I would abort Jesus Christ with zero explanation to Bruce, the American Gynecological Association, some wide-eyed 12 disciples, or my dog.

        Incidentally, just because you are pregnant does not make you a “mama”. This nine-year-old in Brazil was raped by Stepdad and impregnated. Fortunately, she was allowed to abort the
        semen demon in a Catholic country without a doctor asking her why she doesn’t want to squat and squirt out her very own super-special-baby-girl-doll that looks a helluva lot like her rapist. A pregnant nine-year-old is not a “mama”.

        http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1883598,00.html

        http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1883598,00.html

        • http://twitter.com/docslacker MD

          And yet the Catholic bishop excommunicated the mother and the doctors. Not the rapist.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Patton/592034163 Andrew Patton

            That’s because rape, though a heinous mortal sin, is not punishable by excommunication. Abortion, however, is in a special class of mortal sins for which all principals and accessories are automatically excommunicated. It is alongside deliberately desecrating the Eucharist, impersonating a priest, assaulting the Pope and illicit ordination.

            • http://twitter.com/docslacker MD

              So you consider it more “moral” to rape a child, than to provide a medical procedure that will save her life and mental health? By that same guideline, rape is better than ordaining a female priest?
              Thanks for reminding me why I walked away from the Catholic Church. Even as a 14 year old, I could see how twisted it was.

            • baal

              Thanks for the example of why RCC teaching shouldn’t be used as a standard for medical care. It leads to bizarre and cruel outcomes.

      • Baby_Raptor

        Typical pro-forced birth moving the goal posts and making shit up.

        The only place abortion was mentioned here was in the case of the mother’s health. That has NOTHING to do with a healthy fetus, a healthy mother and supposed sex selection abortion, which can’t even happen in the US.

        Get back to us when you have enough of an IQ to stay on topic.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    “Why Catholic hospitals should scare you”.

    Hmm, because of the “Catholic” part?

    • Cyril Jones-Kellett

      Bigotry is so funny…

      • Andy Anderson

        You must have thought you were being very clever there.

      • Hockey Bob

        Catholics are bigoted, too, you know.
        Against reality, that is.

        • Rwlawoffice

          Interesting, when an atheist makes a bigoted statement there is praise and defense. When a religious person says it there is condemnation. So much for consistency.

  • Ronixis

    This makes me want to know how the hospital’s incentives work. If I need something not related to these issues done, should I avoid the Catholic hospital to protest them, or go there to leave more space in secular hospitals?

  • Rovin’ Rockhound

    How is removing the entire fallopian tube instead of just the embryo inside it not constitute “doing harm”? They are removing a fully functioning body part for a non-medical reason. It’s baffling.

    • Rovin’ Rockhound

      And then there’s the issues of bodily autonomy. How is force feedings during end-of-life care against their explicit directives not assault?

      • grneyedmonster

        It is assault and battery. The Supreme Court says, “[A] competent person has a constitutionally protected liberty interest in refusing unwanted medical treatment.” Cruzan by Cruzan v. Dir., Missouri Dep’t of Health, 497 U.S. 261, 278, 110 S. Ct. 2841, 2851, 111 L. Ed. 2d 224 (1990).

        • Andrew Patton

          Food and water isn’t medical treatment.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Patton/592034163 Andrew Patton

        Because assisted suicide is illegal, and an illegal order is no order at all.

        • baal

          You are entirely wrong on the law. DNRs are to be respected. I’ve been to ICUs and wouldn’t condemn someone to live a hellish 6 months in one contrary to their will.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Adam-Patrick/100000027906887 Adam Patrick

      It’s amazing the mental gymnastics these people will go through isn’t it?

    • MarshaMarshaMarsha

      I would think, Rovin’, that the medical decision to remove a fallopian tube is something you’d need to discuss with a doctor. It is irresponsible to insinuate that doctors are somehow being sinister by doing what is probably necessary. Picture a tiny tube stretched out by an embryo that doesn’t belong there… Either cite evidence that they could save the fallopian tubes or don’t smear physicians with insinuations of malpractice.

      • Andy Anderson
      • Sven2547

        This is a practice proudly defended by the Vatican, and even they will tell you it’s completely because ‘God said so’ as opposed to, you know, an actual medical reason.

      • http://twitter.com/SaraLinWilde Sara Lin Wilde

        Marsha(*3) – just jumping in to note that Catholic doctrine actually requires doctors to remove the whole tube in cases of ectopic pregnancy, even if the tube is otherwise healthy and could be medically saved by just removing the embryo. The reasoning they cite is that removing the embryo directly would constitute abortion, but removing the entire body part that contains the embryo somehow makes it not their fault. To the extent that a given doctor follows Catholic teaching, this would be what the Church demands of him/her.

  • Gus Snarp

    Thank goodness the Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t run hospitals. Or worse yet, Christian Scientists. Oh wait, Christian Scientists do have some kind of so-called physicians who just read to you and pray while you die, don’t they?

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_Pink_Unicorn Anna

      There’s a terrible but fascinating memoir written by a woman who lost her mother to Christian Science. They even have “hospitals” of sorts, but no actual medical care is provided.

      http://www.amazon.com/fathermothergod-Journey-Out-Christian-Science/dp/0307720934

      • Gus Snarp

        There was once a Christian Science church in my town that was bought and converted to a theater. There was some religious plaque or something in there that no one was willing to remove. I had an actor friend whose family were Christian Scientists who watched his father die while person after person came in and read to him instead of actual medical care. He volunteered to remove the plaque right away.

  • rebecca

    I love your blog but I do not believe some of this.

    I have been a nurse for 16 years. at a Catholic hospital in St. Louis. Most of the reproductive facts you list are true. However, I have personally given intramuscular methotrexate (abortive) for ectopic pregnancies many times in my institution. It saves the woman’s fallopian tubes. I also in the last year have taken care of a woman who was diagnosed with acute lymphocyctic leukemia during her pregnancy. She was induced at 26 weeks due to severe bleeding. Her life was saved but her beautiful baby died. This happened at our Catholic hospital.

    I work in oncology and have done end-of-life care more times than I can count. I have never seen our doctors violate a patient/family’s wishes. feeding tubes are not pushed, in fact we usually discourage them because the extra fluid makes people uncomfortable. We give narcotics to alleviate pain, even when it expedites death, to keep a dying patient from suffering.
    I am sure what you say about reproductive services in general is true. but please do not perpetuate fear that if one goes to a Catholic hospital they lose their autonomy. stick to facts. thanks!

    • Charles Honeycutt

      You can disbelieve all you want, but this is well-documented. That’s why there are all those handy links provided in the text. Some Catholic hospitals don’t do this. That doesn’t mean that the known occurrences do not occur.

    • FlightedChemist

      I actually have a personal story that supports what rebecca said. I’m not defending all Catholic institutions- I’m certain that horrible standards of care exist. However, when my grandmother passed away from ALS, the Catholic home hospice service definitely made sure her last few days were comfortable. She was given morphine, and her passing was easy and beautiful. I will say I was uncomfortable with the religious nursing staff (the nurse asked my comatose grandmother something about who she was most excited to see again when she got to heaven…?) but the emphasis on a belief in Catholic afterlife was definitely a plus for my VERY Catholic family, especially my grandfather. I guess even as a non-believer I can see the value there may have been in the religious support for such a tough time.

      • Stev84

        Religious support like that is fine if it’s optional. Nobody says anything against hospital chaplains who are available when requested. Or if nurses talk about religious topics when asked. But they shouldn’t force themselves on people and take “no” as an answer.

      • http://twitter.com/enuma enuma

        I have a personal story that contradicts what Rebecca said. The Catholic hospital my grandmother was in ignored her DNR (twice actually) and they intubated her against her expressed wishes.

    • Stev84

      Just don’t let your bishop know what’s going on. If he bothered, he could shut down those activities immediately.

    • ~SoACTing

      When you say narcotics, are you referring to, say, for example Vicodin??

      ~ SoACTing

  • ricauc

    Not only hospitals but I consult with Catholic agencies that provide mental health/counseling services to adults and children. We are not allowed to even mention any type of sexual education, sex education, and even LGBT type services. If these institution want to be churches that is one thing. But providing health care requires a state license and therefore the provider holds themselves to a higher standard than their employer. There should be disclaimers in bright bold letters when you seek treatment in these facilities that state “because of our religious teachings you may not be provided with all possible treatment options for your condition…” let’s see how long these institutions stay in business.

  • http://twitter.com/enuma enuma

    Between the documented issues and my own personal experiences with a Catholic hospital (more than once) ignoring my dying grandmother’s written medical directives, I’ve told my friends and family that I do not want to ever be treated at a Catholic facility. Just in case I’m ever unconscious and can’t make that request for myself.

  • A3Kr0n

    But both hospitals in town are Catholic?
    I’m screwed!

  • Cyril Jones-Kellett

    I do not see anyone here defending the Catholic hospitals, so let me ask this, why not just go to a hospital started by a group of atheists? Certainly there must be thousands of such hospitals, because atheists are committed to the welfare of the poor and service to the community. Why not let Catholics have their hospitals (which are protected by the First Amendment) and atheists have theirs and let the public choose?

    • HA2

      Because there’s no particular reason to make a hospital an ‘atheist’ hospital. Why would the religious beliefs of the founder matter at all? If an atheist was going to start a hospital, they probably wouldn’t end up putting theirnonbelief anywhere in the hospital mission, because there’s no good reason to. Or are you really proposing that people start a hospital not to help patients, but to show off their atheism?

      There’s plenty of SECULAR hospitals out there. This blog post was specifically about catholics taking them over!

      • Cyril Jones-Kellett

        So, just because you don’t want to be bothered to start your own hospital, Catholic people who do start and run a hospital have to do it your way? How does that work? Does everyone have to live their lives in a way that makes you most comfortable? Is anyone allowed to provide a service of any kind in a way that might, even for a moment, contradict what YOU SAY is the way to do things?
        What if I help an old lady across the street and don’t do it just the way YOU think it should be done? Wouldn’t it be fair for me to ask, “Then why didn’t you do it yourself?”
        This is embarrassing. How about a little freedom in this world where people can offer services and nobody has to take those services if they don’t want.
        Start your own hospital if you have a better idea of how a hospital should be run. Whose stopping you?

        • RobMcCune

          This is embarrassing. How about a little freedom in this world where people can offer services and nobody has to take those services if they don’t want.

          It’s incredibly embarrassing that you can’t grasp or are too dishonest to admit that hospitals provide emergency services. People don’t necessarily have the time or convenience to shop around.

          • Cyril Jones-Kellett

            So, why are people being taken to Catholic hospitals in emergencies? Maybe that is the problem. Maybe you should go to your city council and suggest that people not be taken by EMS to Catholic hospitals. That seems fair. Or maybe people who do not want to be taken to Catholic hospitals should be permitted to refuse by wearing a med-alert or keeping something in their pocket that says “No Religious Hospitals.” (Actually, most people who go to a hospital go wide awake and of their own volition.) But I truly agree with you that people should not be taken to a place they oppose. That is part of being a free person, just like the right to start a hospital if you want and run it according to your beliefs. I mean, I see all these nature-paths opening offices and they don’t offer any western medicine at all. More power to them. If I need an electrocardiogram I won’t be going to them, but I’m not going to tell them they HAVE to offer electrocardiograms because that is the care I BELIEVE IN.

            • http://profiles.google.com/entelechy77 Kurt Horner

              You’ve *almost* arrived at a logical position Cyril. Given that people cannot opt out of being taken to a Catholic hospital, doesn’t there mean there’s a problem here? There seem to be two options:
              a) Religiously-owned hospitals continue to be a part of the standard 9-1-1 system (i.e. open to the entire public, and accepting emergency patients who are nearest to them) AND provide ALL forms of medical care, OR
              b) These hospitals must become the legal equivalent of large, private clinics — advertising as such, and ceasing to operate emergency rooms.

              • Cyril Jones-Kellett

                Why would they not be part of the 911 system? Why can’t people just go to the hospital of their choice? What if the EMS people are giving a Catholic guy emergency care and he WANTS to go to a Catholic hospital. “I’m sorry sir, we can’t take you there because Kurt isn’t Catholic, and the ENTIRE universe must rotate around Kurt and cater to Kurt’s views.”
                Catholic guy: “MY bad, I forgot that Kurt is our benevolent overloard. OK take me to Kurt’s hospital.”
                “Um, well, Kurt never bothered to start a hospital, he just complains about other people.”
                Catholic guy, “OK, can you just drop me off at Kurt’s house.”

                • The Captain

                  “Why can’t people just go to the hospital of their choice?” you’ve never been in an emergency EMS situation have you? Most people have no choice. And if they do, you are asking for that choice to be your religious freedom, or possibly your life. That seems like religious coercion to me.

                • AntonioPeYangIII

                  @59282ac890bb544aab6c6428c76a0a09:disqus

                  Funny – that exact scenario has already played out, except in reverse.

                  A hospital refusing to apply a medical procedure that could have saved a woman’s life, and claiming it’s because they’re in a Catholic country.

                  Keep talking, lad. You’re doing a terrific job destroying your own points ;)

                  http://drjengunter.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/did-irish-catholic-law-or-malpractice-kill-savita-halappanavar/

            • AntonioPeYangIII

              Or maybe these Catholic Hospitals should STFU with their religious indignation nonsense, and actually apply sound medicine for a change, and not intentionally put women’s lives at risk.

              http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18703442

        • AntonioPeYangIII

          //So, just because you don’t want to be bothered to start your own hospital, Catholic people who do start and run a hospital have to do it your way?//

          No, what he means is that Catholics should do it according to proper medical science, and not because of their religious nonsense. Hasn’t what happened to Savita Halappanavar taught you anything?

          • Cyril Jones-Kellett

            So you’re saying they should be more like Kermit Gosnell?

            • Liberated Liberal

              Yes, that is exactly what everyone is saying. We are insisting that everything be either exactly 1) Catholic Hospitals or 2) Kermit Gosnell-like clinics. Brilliant. Such sophistication blows me away.

              • Cyril Jones-Kellett

                Well, then, what are you saying? That there should be hospitals that fall somewhere between Gosnell and the Catholic hospitals. THEN START ONE!
                It is called freedom. It is hard, but it works.

            • AntonioPeYangIII

              The funny thing is that even the greater medical community vilifies Gosnell for his actions, and rightly so. He was exposing vulnerable women to unsafe conditions.

              What is especially ironic about you bringing Gosnell is that his business is thriving because people like you have rabidly campaigned to close down legitimate Planned Parenthood clinics.

              What do you think happens when you deny people access to abortions – that the problem magically goes away?

              http://reproductiverights.org/en/forsakenlives

              • Cyril Jones-Kellett

                I think you are having trouble with the idea that people are free to do things that you don’t like.

                In fact, lots of people have defended what Kermit Gosnell did, including Planned Parenthood in open testimony in front of the Florida legislature.

                But here is the hard part that you seem to struggle with:

                You are free to start your own hospital if you do not like Catholic hospitals. If there is no hospital you like near you, that is not Catholics fault, that is your fault. Get working!

        • Baby_Raptor

          Whoa there, lady.

          Let’s get something straight: Nobody in this forum is talking about dictating how people have to live their lives. What we’re talking about is mandating that religious institutions be required to adhere to a level of care that doesn’t allow them to make people suffer or give them inadequate care because the doctor happens to believe in a sky fairy.

          If these doctors don’t believe in abortion, then they shouldn’t have one. But if a patient needs an abortion to save their health, the doctor should not be able to shrug and let that patient die.

          And you’re the thing in this situation that’s embarrassing. You’re openly getting offended because people are getting offended that doctors are forcing religion on patients and patients are suffering from it. Way to keep your morals on straight.

          And like I said previously: When there actually ARE options, I will happily choose to not go to the Godbots. But the Godbots are steadily buying all the hospitals up, because they know they can use them to force religion on people. Go on, keep defending this. Whatever helps convince you that you’re special and god loves you.

          • Cyril Jones-Kellett

            No, I see your point. Patients should have their religious rights respected but doctors and hospitals should NOT have their religious rights respected. Unless they agree with you, even though you could start a hospital of your own if you wanted.
            Religious rights, according to you, mean that if you are a doctor or a hospital you can be FORCED by atheists who won’t start their own hospitals to do things that violate your values.
            Got it!

            • AntonioPeYangIII

              //Patients should have their religious rights respected but doctors and hospitals should NOT have their religious rights respected. //

              The way I see it, if your personal belief system interferes with your ability to practice medicine – which can very well save lives – you are in the wrong effing profession.

          • AntonioPeYangIII

            @Baby_Raptor:disqus

            [What we're talking about is mandating that religious institutions be required to adhere to a level of care that doesn't allow them to make people suffer or give them inadequate care because the doctor happens to believe in a sky fairy.]

            Exactly. You’d think the RCC would be a little more self-reflective about the sad state of their medicine after the clusterfuck surrounding Savita :(

            http://drjengunter.wordpress.com/2013/04/24/dear-ireland-the-answer-to-allowing-medical-necessary-abortion-isnt-an-inquisition/

            • Cyril Jones-Kellett

              If you don’t like the care you get at a nature-path, don’t go to one. If you don’t like the care you get at a Catholic hospital, don’t go to one. If there is no hospital you like, start one.
              IF you won’t start one, then be quiet.

              • golby260

                Yeah, man! You tell them!

                If a naive, poor person makes the mistake of being forced in certain circumstances to have to be treated at a Catholic hospital, and hell, if said person even dies at one due to the doctors and administrators exercising their rights to neglect certain methods of care due to their Catholic beliefs, it’s that person’s fault for not knowing better, not having found the hospital they wanted to go to in the right timeframe, and for not having the deep pockets needed to start their own hospital!

                YEAH!

                • Cyril Jones-Kellett

                  Well, why do poor people end up at Catholic hospitals? Because Catholic hospitals exist. And why do poor people not go to atheist hospitals? Not because the Catholics did anything wrong, but because the atheists never bothered to build hospitls, staff them, run them, etc.
                  If someone helps a poor person and you don’t like the way they did it, the question is — Why didn’t you help the poor person?

                • golby260

                  “And why do poor people not go to atheist hospitals?”

                  Because there’s probably no such thing as an atheist hospital, nor is there any need in a secular society, because secular societies are concerned with the greater good and the religious rights of everyone, provided that they don’t overstep the rights or endanger the lives of others, like every civilized society. What are you on about?

                  “If someone helps a poor person and you don’t like the way they did it, the question is — Why didn’t you help the poor person?”

                  And if a poor person in someone’s care dies, why didn’t I help that person when I was far and away from the situation, and had only heard about these people on the news, and the someone whose responsibility it was to save the person’s life let the person die because that someone felt one way about something and simply just didn’t care to do the right thing rather than do nothing and thus keeping looking good in front of the “good,” powerful people?

                  Or, to put it much simpler, if your best friend gets murdered by suicide bombers tomorrow because your government did nothing to prevent such people from getting into your country, having such easy access to bombs, and not being stopped at any step of the way, is it my fault for failing to prevent your friend’s death because, you know, I live in Atlanta? What a stupid question.

                  You keep trying to make this about atheists versus Christians, when it’s really about what the responsibilities of a public service provider like a hospital has to a community. Plenty of Christians, including my Nigerian Adventist mother, would think you’re a crackpot for pretty much all but advocating that if I ever tried to have a child, the fetus became nonviable, and I ended up dying of a medieval disease like septicemia, it was my fault for putting my trust in a Catholic hospital. Just because a hospital is run by people who espouse certain beliefs doesn’t mean that they suddenly no longer have the responsibility to perform the primary function of a hospital in the first place: keeping people healthy and alive. It’s not my responsibility as a broke college student to keep people like Ms. Halappanavar from dying. It was the responsibility of her doctors to have saved her. It’s the responsibility of every hospital, no matter its religious mission, to actually save people. Otherwise, they’re more of a danger to everyone than anything else. Same reason why we didn’t just grow our own Osama bin Laden in a lab to compete with the other one, rather than, you know, KILL HIM.

                • Cyril Jones-Kellett

                  Yeah, that makes not much sense. I did not make this about atheists vs. Christians, I just defended Catholic hospitals. They have a right to function as Catholic hospitals. They won’t abort because they believe a pregnant woman is carrying a baby, and they don’t want to kill a baby. You disagree. The fact that you disagree is not THEIR problem, it is yours. If you want abortions done in hospitals, start hospitals that do them. The fact that you are a broke college student is actually a benefit. Get a degree in non-profit management or hospital administration. You can work at the forefront of what YOU SEE as a problem.

                • golby260

                  And I argue that Catholic hospitals can be hospitals all they like, but if the doctors there choose in certain situations to be more of a danger to their patient than their savior, then they’re a danger to the community and their facilities must be shut down for everyone else’s safety. I don’t even care that they don’t do *elective* abortions — I mean, it’s a Catholic hospital. Duh. At this point, it’s like going to a chapel of theirs to have a same-sex marriage. I have a valid fear, thanks to that Irish case and that other case where an Arizona nun *did* save a woman’s life by aborting her fetus three years back, and she was excommunicated as punishment, that these now Catholic-owned hospitals won’t save a woman near certain death with a nonviable fetus. The only reason to try to keep a woman pregnant when her fetus has no chance of survival and she has no chance of surviving the pregnancy is just to serve a political agenda to be against abortion at all costs. Allowing that is not religious freedom anymore, that’s allowing people to practice political expediency over other people’s bodies. That’s crossed the line from “freedom” to endangering others. Any government with common sense would shut something like that down.

                  You and I are just going to disagree on this one.

                • Cyril Jones-Kellett

                  OK, fair enough.

                • golby260

                  BTW, now that Disqus is finally working, I’ll just respond to this and be on my merry way.

                  “Get a degree in non-profit management or hospital administration. You can work at the forefront of what YOU SEE as a problem.”

                  Because American health care isn’t run enough for profit? Because there aren’t enough dispassionate careerists in health care, people who just work in the field for the prestige and the money? (I’m Nigerian, too — you don’t see enough of us being nurses or doctors just because of the job security? You want more of that?) Because it’s impossible or hypocritical somehow to care about what other people are going through without needing to be personally involved oneself, or…

                  …Wow. I’m really being nice here. I’m not yet 30 (I think I’m Hemant Mehta’s age), but I’ve been on Usenet for 15 years now. I don’t like arguing with people when they say silly, dumb things, and I don’t like flaming people. It was fun in high school and in my early 20s, but it’s not fun, now. Something about having a real job, in particular, a mail handling job for the USPS, a job rather infamous for driving people, um, postal, and having money on my hands for once will do that to you. Please stop making this argument. This dog won’t hunt. It’s stupid.

                  The libertarian argument for using the free market to resolve social ills will not work here. Stop arguing this. According to this, the Freedom Riders who agitated in the 1960s for the federal government to simply enforce the law to de-segregate the bus system in the South, they didn’t have a point. All of those black college students with money should’ve started their OWN bus system to compete with Greyhound, then they could have sat anywhere they wanted waiting for or on the bus. Who cared that buses were providing a service to the community, and that their companies and Southerners in general had to follow the rules like everyone else? Greyhound is a private company, too, so *even better.* Just start your own buses! Problem solved, right?

                  You can’t start your own schools, start your own buses, or even just your own private company that sells or does whatever else without following the rules, without following basic ethics and standards. I’m just saying, a hospital can be Catholic all it likes, but it’ll get hit with a medical malpractice suit like every other one that kills one of its patients. Very simple. You don’t suddenly own your own piece of the universe and your own plane of reality when you start something. It wouldn’t matter if I started my own “atheist” hospital, because I would still have to be a hospital just like your Catholic hospital is supposed to be. You have to follow the rules like everyone else. If anything, I’m being pro-Christian here by arguing that you still have a responsibility and certain expectations to meet towards the community no matter what.

                  Moving on…

                • Cyril Jones-Kellett

                  But there already is a public hospital system. I am not arguing against it. Just like there is a public bus system.

                  Great, but people still start private bus companies, and people still start private hospitals. And that is their right.

                  It has nothing to do with libertarianism. It has to do with the basic right that people have to form associations and take private actions.
                  We will always need government facilities, but who wants to live in a world with no private bus companies or hospitals or whatever else.
                  All I am saying is that when other people do things of their own private initiative, you have no right to order them to do it your way.

                • golby260

                  All I’m saying is that, it barely matters that it’s public or private. It’s privately owned, but it buys or rents land from the government, and the government always has rules that these companies have to follow. If the government decided tomorrow that every hospital was obligated to perform abortions on demand, Catholic hospitals will have to decide whether they want to still be hospitals or care about being Catholic more. If they decide to close up shop, well… so much for being so great with care. You’d leave a whole bunch of people without your services, but maybe some secular companies will be around to buy them and pick up the slack, or maybe the government will take them over. I’m no expert in this, so I don’t know.

                  All I’m saying is that, private initiative or no, you end up endangering anyone with bad care, bad education, or bad bus service, you’ll have to pay. It’s unethical to say, “just start your own [whatever]!” especially when what your private business is is in the business of saving lives. That’s not how it works.

                • baal

                  ” They have a right to function as Catholic hospitals.”
                  NO!
                  They should be required by law to provide the same care as other secular hospitals. Anything else is the RCC using the power of their pocket to force non-believers to accept sub-standard health care.

              • baal

                No, we will not shut up. You’re denying reality in your insistence that we can keep the RCC from buying hospitals with the buckets of privileged wealth the RCC has and that we have meaningful options to skip out on the RCC hospitals. You asshats are buing them all so that we will be denied the choice to vote with our feet or our dollars. That’s the point of the OP.

    • RobMcCune

      Because catholics keep buying up hospitals, not founding them, buying already existing hospitals. As a result they’re removing choices in more ways than one, including removing the ability of non-catholic doctors to make the choices they believe are best for their patient.

      • Cyril Jones-Kellett

        Bummer. People are out there doing things you don’t agree with while you are busy not doing anything.
        Start your own hospital. It is as simple as that.
        Is it really grown-up to get upset when Catholics run hospitals according to Catholic belief and not according to your belief?
        You are aware that the universe does not revolve around you, right?

        • The Captain

          ‘”Start your own hospital. It is as simple as that.” you have a child’s understanding of both macro economics and the division of labor. Perhaps when you get an education on how the real world works out side of Ayn Rand novels you will understand the immense stupidity of that statement.

          • Cyril Jones-Kellett

            So are you saying that macro economics make it impossible for you to start a hospital. In my city a group of nuns started a hospital. Why do macro economics apply to you and not to them?
            Maybe the power of religious faith can overcome macro economics! It’s a MIRACLE!

            • alfaretta

              Right. A group of nuns. With no help from the wealthiest religious institution in the world, which they happen to belong to. It’s a miracle.

              • Cyril Jones-Kellett

                Wait, what happened to macro economics, now the problem is that atheists don’t have money? When the nuns start a hospital, they go to Catholics and ask them for financial support, and lots of Catholics give them money, including rich Catholics and poor Catholics. Really, why can’t you do this? Atheist people are just as generous as Catholics, right? Ask for donations, start a hospital.

                • The Captain

                  HA! Yea, you are showing a 5th grade level of economic understanding. So here’s my question for you… what if lets say, there is not enough money in the atheist community (or any non-chtolic community) of a town to start a hospital? Are you then saying that religious freedom in regards to healthcare a person can have should be based on the economics of that person?

                • Cyril Jones-Kellett

                  No, actually, I believe in government hospitals, especially for rural areas. I am a strong believer in rural healthcare. And, if your scenario is to be believed, so are some Catholic nuns who started rural hospitals where no one else would.

                • The Captain

                  Yes we agree on that, more government hospitals would solve this problem. The issue is many people do not have access to non-Catholic hospitals. Or in an emergency getting to a non-Catholic hospital could be life threatening. A hospital is a huge resource drain for a community, and a good one and many do not have more than one since it is not economically feasible. So in that case if catholic hospitals are the only ones serving a community, then they must be held to the same standards of religious freedom for all members of the community.

                • Cyril Jones-Kellett

                  Agreed. But religious freedom must be for everyone, not just for patients. Doctor’s and hospitals have rights, too. And no one should be FORCED to violate their conscience. If a hospital is religious, then the first amendment applies to it. It has a right to be left alone by the government in making religious choices, just as I do and you do.

                • The Captain

                  I also agree (to an extent) that no one should be forced to violate their conscience. But no one is forcing them to be a doctor either. They chose that. If a doctor had a religious belief that white people should never help a black person, should a doctor be permitted from giving care to a black person? People don’t have the religious freedom to deny other relies freedom. Should muslim cab drivers be allowed to not pick up women? How about a HR person who’s religion says they should not fire people for company profits? Or should muslim teachers be allowed to not teach girls in school? If your religion prevents you from doing your job, you need to find another job.

                • Cyril Jones-Kellett

                  Look, bringing race into it is cheap. America has a long history of race problems, that is why the courts have said that race is a protected category. But who gets to decide if abortion is morally acceptable? That is not a scientific question; it is a moral question. In fact, pro-choice people always say that the decision should be between a woman and her doctor. Well, the doctor has as many rights as the woman. Now are you saying even the doctor doesn’t have a say? Everybody just has to do what they are told to do? That’s not very pro-choice,
                  It kind of turns pregnant women into dictators.

                • The Captain

                  I am only bringing race into this to show that we as a society force people to violate their religious beliefs all the time, If those religious beliefs violate the rights of others. I have lived in the US south and seen religions that believe black should be segregated. Are you saying that the state should pick and choose what religious beliefs are “official” and others not? If the state can not force a catholic to violate their religion, why does it have the right then to force a racist souther baptist to violate theirs?

                  A hospital (and a doctor) is there to server the greater community. That community will probably be made up of non-catholics. Why does the doctor get to force their religious beliefs on to others then? If a doctor can not serve the community as we as a society has defined it, one that consists of religions other than catholic, then they should not be in that position.

                • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

                  a doctor does not have ‘rights’ over my body just because he’s a doctor, any more than a priest does. way to miss the point. a doctor does take an oath to do no harm, and that include providing abortions to women who will die without one, which at least a few doctors failed to do. they should lose their licenses. there is no ‘right’ to practice your profession any way you see fit, with any definition of “public service” you choose.

                  this is what really stinks about you people. you have no idea what civilization is, or means, and why it’s better than a constantly squabbling group of city-states with their own independent religious laws. no, you’re so ignorant of history you just can’t understand that privileging religion over everything else invariably leads to war and ethnic cleansing.

                  and the race metaphor is entirely appropriate. touched a nerve, eh? you bigots are all the same. flappity yap yap, until someone points out how bigoted you are, and then you’re always crying “oooh, you’re so mean! make it stop!”

                • Cyril Jones-Kellett

                  You are wrong. A doctor does not take an oath to do no harm, unless you mean the Hippocratic oath, which includes a vow never to do an abortion. Who is ignorant of history?
                  If you don’t like Catholic hospitals, don’t go to them. And if you want to have a bigger say in healthcare, start your own hospital.

                • The Captain

                  Actually what you are refering to is the original Declaration of Geneva oath from 1948, not the Hippocratic oath. Since then though the Declaration of Geneva oath has been changed a few times and no longer contains the phrase (I will maintain the utmost respect for human life, from the time of its conception, even under threat, I will not use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity;) which is still pretty ambiguous on abortion. Also only about 30% of med schools even use this oath. Interestingly though both versions contained a variation on this phrase “I will not permit considerations of religion (<—-see that part…. right there), nationality, race, party politics or social standing to intervene between my duty and my patient;"

                  The new Declaration of Geneva is
                  I SOLEMNLY PLEDGE to consecrate my life to the service of humanity;
                  I WILL GIVE to my teachers the respect and gratitude that is their due;
                  I WILL PRACTICE my profession with conscience and dignity;
                  THE HEALTH OF MY PATIENT will be my first consideration;
                  I WILL RESPECT the secrets that are confided in me, even after the patient has died;
                  I WILL MAINTAIN by all the means in my power, the honour and the noble traditions of the medical profession;
                  MY COLLEAGUES will be my sisters and brothers;
                  I WILL NOT PERMIT considerations of age, disease or disability, creed, ethnic origin, gender, nationality, political affiliation, race, sexual orientation, social standing or any other factor to intervene between my duty and my patient;
                  I WILL MAINTAIN the utmost respect for human life;
                  I WILL NOT USE my medical knowledge to violate human rights and civil liberties, even under threat;
                  I MAKE THESE PROMISES solemnly, freely and upon my honour.

                • Cyril Jones-Kellett

                  Actually, I was referring to the Hippocratic Oath, but the Geneva oath will do, as it, too, prohibited abortion until people decided they liked abortion.

                • baal

                  “If you don’t like Catholic hospitals, don’t go to them”
                  Like we have a choice. Fuck you.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Patton/592034163 Andrew Patton

                  Like St. Luke, Catholic doctors are true followers of both the Lord Jesus Christ and Hippocrates. To ask any doctor to do what the Church forbids is to ask him to do what the Hippocratic Oath forbids.

                • Stev84

                  No. A hospital isn’t a person and doesn’t have religious freedom. Businesses don’t have religious freedom either.

                • Rwlawoffice

                  What a demeaning and incorrect statement. Groups of people get together and form businesses all the time. Heck, I see in my own town groups of doctors forming hospitals everywhere. What would stop a group if atheist doctors getting together to form an atheist hospital? Nothing. The point being made is that atheists talk a lot about caring for others and criticizing religious folks when they do it but they rarely put their money where their beliefs are. Instead they look to the government to do it for them.

                • The Captain

                  “they rarely put their money where their beliefs are” Have any proof of this or is it just more bullshit you spit out and claim to be “fact” as usual. Leaving aside Doctors without Boarders, Bill Gates is an atheist and has spent around 36 billion on medical programs for others… so what have you done? (since you seem to want to play this bullshit game)

                • Rwlawoffice

                  Sure the proof is obvious. Look around your own town. How many baptist hospitals do you see, Methodist hospitals, Jewish hospitals, catholic hospitals, etc. now how many secular hospitals that are not government institutions?

                  For every bill gates or doctors without borders there are hundreds of Christian based mission organizations that do similar work. It is literally people in the millions. Take the much criticized Catholic Church, it has literally thousands of hospitals, orphanages and other institutions to help the poor around the globe mostly if not always funded through private donations of Christians.

                  As for myself, I am actively involved with orphanages in Africa and Mexico spending thousands of dollars in the process, my family has established its own non profit that establishes health clinics in Africa and my wife and I have established our own nonprofit organization

                • Mogg

                  And what, exactly, is wrong with governments running hosptals? Or, for that matter, governments mandating the standards of care to be expected ina hospital?

                  Incidentally, where I am most of the private hospitals are non-religious. There is a Catholic system, but both secular private and secular government hospitals well and truly outnumber them. There are Catholic and other denominational nursing homes, but also plenty of non-religious ones, mostly privately run. So your insinuation that religious people are doing stuff for healthcare that non-religious people don’t does not hold true.

                • baal

                  You’re still using a counter attack rather than saying why it’s acceptable to leverage health care power to force non-christians to follow your religion.

            • Liberated Liberal

              It’s called funding from the government for being a religious institution, tax breaks for being a religious institution, and probably more funding FROM the religious institution. THAT is why they were able to start a hospital. That makes them pretty much bullet proof. They are exempt from laws, standards and anything else that would be a strain on other groups forming these kinds of organizations.

              • Cyril Jones-Kellett

                Good points. Now we come to the heart of the matter. You overstate your case when you say they are exempt from laws, standards, or anything else. They have to follow all kinds of laws and regulations. It is also not true that anyone gets government funding for “being a religious institution” (see First Amendment). But it is true that religious institutions get tax breaks. But so do ALL non-profit hospitals. So start your own non-profit hospital and you can have the tax breaks, too.

        • RobMcCune

          I’m not the one whining because they can’t handle criticism of the catholic church.

          You are aware that the universe does not revolve around you, right?

          You also don’t believe health care revolves around the patient so at least you earn some consistency points.

          • Cyril Jones-Kellett

            I didn’t notice any criticism of the Catholic Church. I was reading all the people complaining that some people disagree with them. OH MY GAWD, Catholics run Catholic hospitals in a Catholic way! Who knew?????
            And actually, patient care involves both the care taker and the patient. If a patient wants to shoot himself in the head, the care taker is not obliged to provide the bullets.
            Patient choice includes not going to a Catholic hospital if one doesn’t want to.
            It also includes STARTING YOUR OWN HOSPITAL IF YOU DON”T LIKE THE WAY CATHOLICS DO IT!!!!!!

            • AntonioPeYangIII

              *Gasp* He’s using all-caps. We’re well and truly buggered in this debate now.

              Seriously, who gave the big boy pants to the brat?

              • Cyril Jones-Kellett

                Call me after you have started you own hospital. I want to come by for the grand opening. Will you be serving snacks?

            • AntonioPeYangIII

              “The way Catholics do it”

              You like like soliciting money from mass-murdering fascists?

              http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jan/21/vatican-secret-property-empire-mussolini

              • Cyril Jones-Kellett

                You are aware that Mussolini was an atheist, right? Kind of limits your attempt to shame the Catholics when the guy you are shaming them with is one of your own. Bummer.
                Oh, and how is your new hospital coming?

                • AntonioPeYangIII

                  At what point did I say I’m an atheist?

                  Never ASSUME – It makes an ASS of U and ME

                • Cyril Jones-Kellett

                  So, you are against atheists? It was atheists you were trying to shame by posting an article about the atheist dictator Benito Mussolini?

            • Sven2547

              Don’t like the fact that Catholic hospitals are murdering people (see Savita Halappanavar), start your own hospital.
              Don’t like the fact that abortions happen? BAN ALL ABORTIONS FOR EVERYBODY!

              Catholic “logic”.

              • Cyril Jones-Kellett

                Really? Catholic hospitals are “murdering” people. Have you heard of Kermit Gosnell? Does his one case mean all Planned Parenthood clinics are horror shows?
                Would you apply the same logic to Joseph Stalin? He was an atheist mass murderer. Does that mean all atheists are mass murderers?
                If the logic would not work on those you favor, you should not use it on those you oppose. That is just lazy.
                The fact is, Catholics start hospitals and run them and you don’t. That means you don’t get as much say in how hospitals are run.
                Want more say? Start more hospitals.

                • Sven2547

                  I’ve never heard a single person defend Gosnell’s behavior.
                  On the contrary, the death of Savita Halappanavar was in complete accordance with Vatican policy, and has been defended by Catholic apologetics far and wide, even here at Patheos. Your comparison is bullshit.
                  Further bullshit is the notion that if I don’t own a hospital, I can’t do anything to fight the stupidity of Catholic medical institutions.
                  Imagine if you were hit by a car, and brought to a hospital run by Jehovah’s Witnesses. You’re bleeding out, but too bad, they don’t do blood transfusions. But wait! “Free market”! You can be driven 50 miles to another hospital instead! You won’t make it. Society wouldn’t stand for that, yet society seems to tolerate fatal miscarriages in Catholic hospitals while not even batting an eye. It’s sick, it’s depraved, and it’s inexcusable.

                • Cyril Jones-Kellet

                  Never heard anyone defend Gosnell’s behavior? You mean the behavior of killing babies AFTER they are born. Actually, Planned Parenthood recently defended that very behavior in open government testimony. Google it. It was covered in all the major media.
                  If society thinks that hospitals are too far apart, then society can build more hospitals. What is your problem with freedom? Let Catholic hospitals do what they want. If you don’t like it, build other hospitals. Maybe even start your own.

                • Sven2547

                  What’s my problem with freedom? Hahahahaha, you’re too much.

                  Go on, keep on fighting for the “freedom” to kill women for the sin of having a miscarriage. Catholicism will be dead in three generations if they don’t grow up.

                • Cyril Jones-Kellett

                  No one should have the freedom to kill others or take away the rights of others.
                  So you are pro-life?

                • AntonioPeYangIII

                  //No one should have the freedom to kill others or take away the rights of others.//

                  Says the church that’s repeatedly tried to block gay marriage, and with blatant lies to boot.

                • Mogg

                  Er, no, the spokesperson for Planned Parenthood was commenting on a leading question put to her on a situation which was already illegal in Florida (a state which doesn’t allow abortions past viability), about how, hypothetically, such a situation would be handled in a PP clinic in Florida. Her answer, very clearly for anyone who knows anything at all about care of a patient who cannot make a decision for themselves, was to treat a live-born infant as any hospital anywhere would treat a premature infant – allow the parent/s to make a decision as to whether or not to start resuscitation and critical care, if the infant is developed enough to have even a tiny hope of surviving. Nothing about physically killing a born infant, which is what Gosnell did – just the choice to either allow nature to take its course or provide heroic care measures. Remembering, of course, that because PP are a legally run organisation, it couldn’t legally ever occur in a PP in Florida, PP doesn’t offer late term abortions where it isn’t legal, and that Gosnell’s clinic was not in Florida, and AFAIK not a PP.

                • Cyril Jones-Kellett

                  Probably from the infant’s point of you a lot of these finer points would not seem relevant.

                • Mogg

                  Hardly minor points – you are misrepresenting what the PP spokesperson said.

                • Cyril Jones-Kellett

                  A dead baby is a dead baby, and I watched the whole testimony. The PP rep favored the baby being dead. That is a crime. It is called felony child neglect and felony negligence.

                • Mogg

                  Nope, it’s legitimate and legal decision making about providing or witholding medical care to the critically ill by the legally recognised guardian. Exactly the same as if I got hit by a bus and suffered critical injury, and my family and partner had to decide whether it was in my best interests to keep me alive in ICU, knowing that my chances of recovery were slim to nil and I would likely suffer from the treatment, or allow me to die. That doesn’t mean doing anything to ensure I die, like Gosnell did, but not preventing natural death. In many premature birth cases witholding care may indeed the most humane option. Medical staff may recommend it or hold that opinion, even if the parent/s decide otherwise. Really, death is not the worst thing that can happen! I used to work in a neonatal intensive care unit, so I’ve seen, yes, some good outcomes, but plenty of bad ones with a lot of prolonged agony.

                • Cyril Jones-Kellett

                  With a child, one must make a decision based on the best interest of the child. Best interest of the parent cannot be a consideration. If the child can survive and you leave it to die, you have committed felony neglect.

                • Mogg

                  Like all witholding of care decisions, it *is* done in the best interests of the child, to reduce its suffering before a death which is almost certainly inevitable in any case. As I said, death, particularly if it comes before the stage of development where pain can be experienced, is not necessarily the worst outcome. Death with days, weeks or months of struggle and pain is worse, and life with massive disability is, in many people’s opinion, also worse.

                • baal

                  It’s not an infant until it’s born. Stop fucking with the language. It makes you look like a dishonest liar.

                • AntonioPeYangIII

                  //Would you apply the same logic to Joseph Stalin? He was an atheist mass murderer. Does that mean all atheists are mass murderers?//

                  Ironically, Stalin’s regime can best be summed up as a religious cult, except that God is replaced with the dude with an awesome moustache.

                  Also, you failed to indicate exactly what bit of Stalin’s actions were influenced explicitly by his atheism:

                  http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2012/01/02/christian-billboard-suggests-stalins-atrocities-were-due-to-his-atheism/

                  As compared to the case of Catholic hospitals, where they’re very blatant about their stupidity being a result of Catholic Doctrine.

                • Cyril Jones-Kellett

                  So now religion is responsible for all the evil things religious people do AND it is responsible for all the evil things atheists do?
                  And why is it a problem that Catholic hospitals follow Catholic doctrine when anyone is free to start their own hospital any time they want?
                  The Catholic “stupidity” wouldn’t bother you if you had your own hospital.
                  Try freedom, it’s great!

            • baal

              You keep repeating and now shouting that anyone can just up and buy a hospital to use to force non-catholics to bow to your religion all the while ignoring the obvious fact that the RCC is extremely wealthy and privileged. Very few other folks or institutions in the US enjoy such a gilded life.

        • Liberated Liberal

          Catholic institutions receive massive amounts of money from the government to buy and run these hospitals, not to be mention an infinite number of tax breaks because they are a “religious institution.” Secular hospitals don’t receive this kind of money, which is how the Catholics end up buying up so many hospitals. They aren’t giving millions of people choices by being the only hospitals for hundreds of miles.

          If Christian Scientists ran most of the hospitals in this country and did nothing but pray over you while you were dying, wouldn’t you be outraged? But it’s YOUR theology being shoved down everyone’s throat in life and death situations, so it’s ok.

          • Cyril Jones-Kellett

            Actually, it is against the law for the government to show preference for religious hospitals.
            The government subsidizes all hospitals. When you start YOUR hospital, the government will subsidize it, too.
            It is not Catholic’s fault that you don’t start a hospital.

    • Baby_Raptor

      Yeah, okay. You come down here and start a hospital like that.

      The only two hospitals in my area are Catholic hospitals. Its the only choice I have. And the Catholics know this; that’s why they’re going out and taking over other hospitals. They know that the government won’t say anything about them violating our rights by forcing us to get care under their views. (Which is NOT protected by the First Amendment, by the way. I have no idea how you could possibly believe that, unless you’re just believing whatever nonsense necessary to support these people.)

      And why would anyone here defend these hospitals? What they’re doing isn’t worth defending. You certainly wouldn’t be defending it if it weren’t your views they were forcing down other peoples’ throats.

      • Cyril Jones-Kellett

        Have you read the first clause of the First Amendment?
        You should, it protects atheists just as much as anyone else.
        And, I might have mentioned this before, if you don’t like Catholic hospitals, start your own hospital. Who is stopping you?

        • Beutelratti

          Finances? Have you started a hospital recently?

          • Cyril Jones-Kellett

            Catholics have, why can’t you?

            • Beutelratti

              Because the Catholic church is a multi-billion dollar instution that gets tons of tax breaks and no atheist organisation has that status or that money? Did that dawn on you yet?

              • baal

                Catholic charities alone got 3 billion in US FED GOV tax dollars and no oversight last year. I’m sure when the AA gets that kind of cash, we’ll be able to compete for hospital purchasing. And if we’re in charge of them, we’ll use the guidance of medical ethicists and not the fucking churches to decide on how to do medical care.

        • Rwlawoffice

          You are hitting a nerve with these people. You are correct. There is nothing stopping them from starting their own hospital to be run according to their beliefs, but the reality is they really just want everyone to bend to their beliefs without doing the work themselves. It’s much easier to get on the Internet and complain about religious people who at actually doing things to help people than to go out and do it yourself.

          • Cyril Jones-Kellett

            And if a person wanted to start an atheist hospital they would not be alone. They would find there are other atheists who would take an interest in their project.

            One advantage that Catholics have is that there is a meeting they all attend every week. It is easier to get them together.

            But atheists have meetings, Web sites, community events.

            Atheist groups put up clever billboards. They pool their money to do that.

            I just think that many of the people posting here really believe that they can’t do it, and then they get mad when other people, people they look down on, do it with so much success.

            • baal

              Hospitals cost a lot more than billboards.

          • Mogg

            You appear to be living in Alice’s Looking Glass world, where everything is backwards. Whose beliefs are being forced on whom here? Nobody wants to force Catholics to accept treatment which they don’t believe in, but Catholics are forcing their beliefs on patients of all or no beliefs. Perhaps you should read the article again – these are hospitals that weren’t Catholic, ie. founded by non-Catholics, being taken over. I’m incredibly thankful to live in a country where this is a non-existent problem, and no religious group can dictate what care I receive.

            • Rwlawoffice

              Who is forcing these hospitals to sell?

              What do you call the federal government forcing Catholic institutions to provide birth control in violation of their beliefs?

              • Mogg

                I would assume that finances are forcing them to sell – which imho is a failure of the model. Healthcare is not an optional product, it is a public service and should be provided whether or not it makes a profit for a corporation. That is what governments are for – providing public services.

                I’m not American, so I don’t really know the ins and outs of the health insurance provision system there apart from to say that it seems bizarre to me that employers provide something as basic and essential as health insurance. If that is the system, then what the US government is doing is making Catholic institutions provide basic healthcare, and individuals can choose to use birth control or not on their own conscience. No employer has the right to make that kind of decision on behalf of an individual, and if that is the only way people can afford it under your system, then Catholic institutions should absolutely be made to provide it. If it were about a benefit that only affected staff’s working life it might be different, but health insuranceaffects all of life not just for the employee but their family as well.

            • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Patton/592034163 Andrew Patton

              Why do you want to force Catholic doctors to do what they believe to be evil. No one drafts a Quaker into the Army and demands that he be a rifleman, but rather they put him to work as a medic or Explosive Ordinance Disposal Technician- jobs which exclusively save lives and do not take them.

          • baal

            Killing women is not helping people. And again, you have buckets of wealth and priviledge to use to enforce your religion on others. It’s sick and totalitarian of you.

        • golby260

          I don’t see a meaningful difference between people dying from inferior care because one’s health insurance won’t cover life-saving treatment and a woman dying from septicemia because doctors at a Catholic hospital refused to abort her nonviable fetus until the fetal heartbeat had stopped, at which point she was already past saving. I happen to think hospitals should be about the saving and maintaining the well-being of the patient first, religious beliefs that prize something hypothetical and nonviable over someone already whole, living, savable, and here dead last. I think hospitals and health care in general shouldn’t be about putting your money where your mouth is but about saving lives without concern for cost. How about you?

          • Cyril Jones-Kellett

            You sound very compassionate. You should start a hospital where they do things your way.
            Oh, wait, it’s easier to stomp on other people’s rights than to do something yourself.
            But you really are compassionate, so, you know…

            • golby260

              No, no. You first. You’re the one who apparently believes that poor people ought to be at the mercy of other people’s beliefs, even if they don’t share them, and even if said beliefs endanger people’s lives. (Which is why your “stomp on other people’s rights” comment is just so self-serving, ironic, and precious, considering who often has the power in such a relationship — it’s usually doctors, not the patients.) I just have a simple question: do you believe that health care is a public service or is it subject to how much money someone has to proffer up like every other private thing?

              If a poor woman went to check up on her pregnancy tomorrow in Ireland, and if she ran into the exact same situation Ms. Halappanavar ran into, do you think it’s her fault she couldn’t afford to go to a secular hospital in a secular country where they would abort her fetus and save her life?

              • Cyril Jones-Kellett

                I don’t think it very ironic or precious to point out that you do not care about the rights of doctors or hospitals.
                You are anti-freedom, a totalitarian.
                Probably someone should have pointed this out to you before.
                When you want to force other people to do things according to your conscience and not leave them free to follow theirs, you do not really believe in freedom.
                You want control, and you do not want to make the sacrifices necessary to create things on your own. You just want to control other people’s work.

                • golby260

                  No, I just think it’s precious to act like health care is a product like any other, when doctors have a special responsibility towards the community and not just providing only for the highest bidder like you obviously want. It’s in the best interest of all people that health care providers be as unbiased as possible and be as dedicated to preserving human life as possible. I don’t see any preserving going on when doctors care more about the words of some faraway bishop espousing some unreasonable political agenda than about the practical needs of the patient right there in front of him/her. But that’s OK. You think I’m “anti-freedom” (whatever that means) based on a couple of my replies, when you don’t even know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I’m even an atheist (or at least, your childish impression of an convenient atheist boogeyman — -woman, in my case) to begin with, and, of course, that doesn’t even matter. You also presume that because I’m not starting a hospital of my own, (I’m a black woman with thousands of dollars of student loan debt! I make $10/hour at the post office! I don’t even yet own my own car! I live at home with my mom! OF COURSE, I COULD START A HOSPITAL OF MY OWN! WHAT’S STOPPING ME?!?), which is a moronic proposition on its face to begin with and not even worth the effort of discussing with any seriousness, I must somehow not care about others. You’re the one who wants the doctor’s “rights” to inflict whatever beliefs he or she has over that of the patient, and pretend that the patient and the community at large is the one overstepping the doctor’s boundaries when they’re reasonably expecting that the doctor and his/her employers aren’t going to come up with religious woo and other convenient excuses for not opting to save one’s life in the most optimal way.

                  You see, were it up to me, we wouldn’t have “Catholic” hospitals, at least none that would get away with what that Irish hospital got away with. No Catholic hospital would get away with not providing an abortion if it’s the only way to save a woman’s life. Any hospital that would deprive such care would get shut down and taken over by the government. All offenders would be put in jail for criminal negligence or outright malice and they would never be allowed to practice medicine again. Any and all religious hospitals will subsequently face much scrutiny from up high. Your hospital may practice whatever mission it wants, but it better be a hospital interested in actually saving people and keeping them alive. Whichever hospital fails in this endeavor will face the consequences, and severely, too.

                  I don’t believe health care should be a part of the “free market.” I believe it should be a public service, first and foremost. Just like we don’t (or as far as that one Tennessee town goes, we really shouldn’t) have private firefighters who put out fires only for their subscribers, I don’t believe that hospitals pick and choose how they want to treat lives when their methods of treatment unnecessarily kill people. We don’t need “atheist” hospitals, we just need a secular government willing to shut nonsense like Ms. Halappanavar dying of preventable causes down. End of.

                  The reason why we don’t need “atheist” hospitals to compete with Catholic hospitals is the same reason why Iranian civil rights activists don’t need to start their own country to compete with the theocrats. It’s just dumb on its face.

                • Cyril Jones-Kellett

                  OK, I’m sorry I called you a totalitarian. But, you see, when you talk about jailing people who disagree with you, it sounds totalitarian.

                  I am actually very moved by what you just wrote, and I should not have been so harsh.

                  But can’t you see that Catholics believe that a pregnant woman is carrying a baby, a human baby, and they do not want to kill it.

                  You can say that they should just do what is right for the patient, but a Catholic sees both the mother and the baby as patients.

                  Even if that makes you really mad, you can’t just say that they are crazy to think that. Lots of people think that pregnant women are carrying babies.

                  I saw a pregnant woman talking to a child once and the child wanted to know why she had such a big tummy. She told the child that she had a baby inside her.

                  Is that really such a crazy idea?

                  I have a confession to make to you, I decided to defend Catholic hospitals here because I am a Catholic. I did not talk about being Catholic because I wanted to defend the hospitals, not get into my personal beliefs.

                  And I know this, if you tell Catholics that they have to perform abortions at their hospitals, the hospitals will close. We will never do it.

                  No matter how much you tell us that the only life that matters is the mother’s, we know that the baby’s life matters, too.

                  And don’t tell me the old song that Catholics don’t care about women. Catholics provide more free medical care to women around the world than anyone else. They have led the fight against female circumcision. They care for women refugees and prostitutes and farmers, for disabled women and women with mental illnesses, women who are mothers and women who are never going to be mothers.

                  There are more women doctors and nurses serving as nuns than you can probably even count. These are fantastic, bright, powerful women who have given their lives to serving the poor.

                  Catholics care about women and for women all over the world every day. We just do not believe that death in the womb is fair. It is an attack on the poorest and the most helpless.

                  And if you put us in jail for refusing to go along with abortion, we will go to jail.

                  What will that prove? All that will get you is fewer hospitals and a lot of your neighbors in jail.

                  But even if you never agree that the child in the womb is worth every effort to save and protect, what right do you have to tell us we must kill?

                  There is no right more fundamental to America than religious freedom, If you take it away from the people you do not like, sooner or later it will be taken away from the people you do like.

                  And if I may, let me just say a word about the poor mother who died in Ireland. The problem there was two-fold, and in fairness, I think you must admit this.
                  One, as the coroner reported, her doctor’s bungled her case. It was just clear medical malpractice that they did not treat her toxic blood. Well, medical malpractice happens every day in hospitals. It has nothing to do with abortion.
                  Second, even if the hospital had allowed abortion, the doctors would not have done it because Ireland has no clear law for such cases, and doctors are afraid of facing murder charges.
                  That is a bad situation. Doctors need clear laws to follow. But Ireland is a complex country. Now, you can well say that the reason Ireland lacks clear abortion laws is that it is Catholic, but there are lots of Catholic nations that do not have this problem. Ireland is complicated.
                  So, all I am trying to say is that one case of malpractice in Ireland, a case where the coroner specifically pointed to the confusion in Irish law, is not a fair measure of what Catholic medicine and medical ethics are about.
                  I will just give you one more example. Lots of people complain that Catholic hospitals will not give a rape victim Plan B, but this is not true. Catholic hospitals will so long as Plan B cannot act as an abortion drug in the woman’s particular case, which, I believe, is the wide majority of cases.
                  You see, Catholic hospitals do everything they can to aid women so long as they are not asked to commit murder. Now you might think it crazy to say that aborting a baby is murder.
                  But your view is not the only view, and that is a good thing.
                  Religious freedom is beautiful. Embrace it.

                • golby260

                  And I argue that Catholic hospitals can be hospitals all
                  they like, but if the doctors there choose in certain situations to be more of
                  a danger to their patient than their savior, then they’re a danger to the
                  community and their facilities must be shut down for everyone else’s safety. I
                  don’t even care that they don’t do *elective* abortions — I mean, it’s a
                  Catholic hospital. Duh. At this point,
                  it’s like going to a chapel of theirs to have a same-sex marriage. I have a valid fear, thanks to that Irish
                  case and that other case where an Arizona nun *did* save a woman’s life by
                  aborting her fetus three years back, and she was excommunicated as punishment,
                  that these now Catholic-owned hospitals won’t save a woman near certain death
                  with a nonviable fetus. The only reason
                  to try to keep a woman pregnant when her fetus has no chance of survival and
                  she has no chance of surviving the pregnancy is just to serve a political
                  agenda to be against abortion at all costs.
                  Allowing that is not religious freedom anymore, that’s allowing people
                  to practice political expediency over other people’s bodies. That’s crossed the line from
                  “freedom” to endangering others.
                  Any government with common sense would shut something like that down.

                  You and I are just going to disagree on this one.

                  I’m just going to say a few things and then, move on.

                  “I have a confession to make to you, I decided to
                  defend Catholic hospitals here because I am a Catholic. I did not talk about
                  being Catholic because I wanted to defend the hospitals, not get into my
                  personal beliefs.” That was obvious. :P

                  My family’s Adventist. Only just yesterday, I’ve discovered
                  that many Adventist hospitals (yeah, they buy, too) still do elective and
                  therapeutic abortions. This is still a shock and a surprise to most Adventists,
                  and quite a few of them don’t like it, but the Adventist church higher-ups
                  (I’ve been out of it for a very long time…) don’t mention it and they’ll
                  defend it when pressed. Go figure.

                  “So, all I am trying to say is that one case of malpractice
                  in Ireland, a case where the coroner specifically pointed to the confusion in
                  Irish law, is not a fair measure of what Catholic medicine and medical ethics

                  are about.”

                  Well, I’m glad to see that you and I agree at least that
                  that was pretty much malpractice going on there. And I don’t know much about other Catholic
                  countries and their laws on it except for whenever El
                  Salvador and Guatemala are in the news a few
                  times as being very anti-abortion. I’m
                  skeptical in general, but considering how infrequent I hear of other countries
                  and what they do in situations like ectopic pregnancies and little girls who
                  were raped, I’m willing to believe for the moment that their laws are clearer
                  and Ireland’s
                  are not.

                  “I will just give you one more example. Lots of people
                  complain that Catholic hospitals will not give a rape victim Plan B, but this
                  is not true. Catholic hospitals will so long as Plan B cannot act as an
                  abortion drug in the woman’s particular case, which, I believe, is the wide
                  majority of cases.”

                  This, I’m not comfortable with. All Plan B does, from what I know, is prevent
                  a fertilization from occurring. It’s
                  just ultra-birth control. It’s not an
                  abortion if there isn’t even a fertilized egg to deal with. It prevents the process from even beginning. I would think that that’s far more humane
                  than having to abort a fetus if you can prevent one from even developing in the
                  first place. No more “murder.” It’s like taking the flour away before you
                  could even make a cake. There’s no more
                  chance for a cake, because you couldn’t start to make it to begin with. That’s just pure political agenda right
                  there, again.

                  “You see, Catholic hospitals do everything they can to
                  aid women so long as they are not asked to commit murder. Now you might think it
                  crazy to say that aborting a baby is murder.”

                  No, I just think that calling it “murder” is just
                  politically convenient language. It’s a
                  mercy killing than anything else; a sacrifice.
                  I’d argue more that not every fetus should be brought to term. I don’t believe in taking giant risks with
                  hypotheticals and other people’s lives, if one cannot even be sure that the end
                  will be worth it, if it will be happy, if it will end well, and if you’re going
                  to be dragging another new life into it.
                  I don’t believe that biology is destiny.
                  I don’t believe that someone having 15+ kids and not being able to
                  afford them all, or a single mother raising a child out in a warzone or other
                  undesirable area when she has no chance to get out or escape, is a situation
                  any better or more humane than a dead fetus.
                  Call me classist or cold, but there it is. We have the technology now to prevent things
                  like that. I’ve yet to see a good reason
                  why we should not, too, other than explanations which try to emotionally
                  manipulate and lay guilt on people, bizarre reasons like “your kid could
                  be the next Einstein!” (In the ghetto?
                  With poor public schools? With
                  gangs everywhere? No. Not bloody likely.) Better that a child grows up actually wanted,
                  in the very least, anyways.

                  “But your view is not the only view, and that is a good
                  thing.”

                  I don’t even count on that.
                  I’m not threatened by mere difference of opinion, but opinions that
                  threaten to harm others: opinions like poor kids can be janitors to bring their
                  parents extra cash or opinions like all abortions are evil and wrong.

                  “Religious freedom is beautiful. Embrace it.”

                  Religious “freedom” that represses society, proves
                  to be a danger to the world at large, or kills women isn’t real freedom. There are plenty of religious beliefs out
                  there which hold society back and kill others.
                  We all know which ones these are, which is what everyone’s been arguing
                  about on this page.

                  In any case, I’m glad this discussion has been as civil as
                  it has, in a relative sense. I’m moving
                  on from here.

                • Cyril Jones-Kellett

                  OK, Thanks.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Patton/592034163 Andrew Patton

                  “Mercy killing” is murder as far as the Catholic Church and the Hippocratic Oath are concerned. You cannot give poison, deliberately injure the patient or deny food and water. If you do, you have broken the Hippocratic Oath and become a murderer. Now, this does not mean that we should withhold pain killers or that we should force-feed those whose bodies have deteriorated to the point where they can no longer take food without injury, but you cannot deliberately kill the patient even to spare him agony.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Patton/592034163 Andrew Patton

                  If the doctor believes that doing what you say he should would make him a murderer and that God will send him to Hell if he does it even if you would pin a medal on him for it, how will you force him to do your will? Offer him money? He’ll tell your money to go to Hell. Threaten his job? He’ll quit before submitting to you. Arrest him? He’ll be a hero.

              • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Patton/592034163 Andrew Patton

                Would you prefer there be no hospitals at all? Because the Church WILL shut down hospitals before ever allowing an abortion on the premises.

                • baal

                  oh good – re-read your comment andrew P. You’re using the threat of no healthcare to spite everyone if you can’t have your way in denying care to (condemning to death) dying women.

                  Use of threats like that are a clear flag that you fail at morality.

                • Andrew Patton

                  We must obey God rather than men. God decides what’s moral and what isn’t, and He says that abortion is ALWAYS wrong.

                • baal

                  You speak for God? Shouldn’t you be more humble than that?

                • Andrew Patton

                  I don’t, but the Church does, and it has been decreed that whoever is willfully party to an abortion is excommunicated.

                • Obazervazi

                  Your god is a genocidal tyrant. We can take care of each other better than he has ever bothered to.

                • Andrew Patton

                  Is that really a smart thing to say? I mean, He holds your life in His Hands. Even if He were a tyrant, which He isn’t, it would be suicidal of you to tell Him so. He could, in an instant, kill your body and cast your soul into Hell, where you will writhe in pain for all eternity. How is it, then, that you insult Him without fear?

                • Obazervazi

                  The whole “all-knowing” thing makes it pointless to hide. The mere fact that I cannot love an entity that knowingly abandons its creations to a place of endless suffering for even minor slights is itself a dire insult to Him, so the only option I have is to fight Him with every bit of power I have. I will not and can not convincingly fake loving him just to save my own hide.

                • Andrew Patton

                  Fight Him with what? He can kill you effortlessly whenever He wants. You are still alive because He, in His mercy, has seen fit to let you live for the time being. No one told you to force yourself to love Him. Fear Him, and the love will follow in due time. Tell me, does the prospect of spending eternity in the midst of flames that burn but do not consume frighten you, even a bit? If so, good, because that’s your self-preservation kicking in. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. All good things will follow if you but take that first step and fear the Lord.

                • Obazervazi

                  I never said I’d win. It’s a choice between suffering courageously or suffering as a coward. There is no point in fearing the inevitable.

                  It’s that “Fear Him, and the love will follow in due time” nonsense that reveals him as the enemy of all that lives. It is my duty to stand in the way of anyone who would try to force the people of this world into subjugation under YHWH’s law (since He is apparently to weak to enforce his law without human help) as well as the followers of any other divine tyrant, real or not.

                • Mo Reno

                  God says nothing against abortion in the Bible. In fact, numerous passages support abortion and the killing of the unborn.
                  http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/says_about/abortion.html

                • Andrew Patton

                  God is so pro-life that He judged Onan practicing contraception as worthy of death. How much greater would his condemnation have been had he not merely subverted sexual relations with his wife, but instead killed the child they conceived!

                • Mo Reno

                  I don’t buy it. God expressly causes the deaths of millions in the Bible, on purpose.
                  No getting around that.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  You mean by accusing the wife of adultery and forcing her to do the ritual of the sotah, an explicitly abortifacient ritual?

                  Or do you mean the God who clearly states that causing a woman to miscarry by striking her is not murder; one owes a fine for her pain and suffering (miscarriage is physically painful), but is not charged with murder. Obviously even people over 2,000 years ago had figured out that fetuses aren’t people.

                  Or do you mean if he’d done what God commanded many to do and murdered all the men and women and boys (including infants) while keeping alive the virgin girls to rape? God clearly doesn’t mind killing children at all.

            • baal

              You don’t have a right to use your history of privilege and wealth to make other people suffer for your religion. You’re the one ‘stomping on rights’ and are a total failure of compassion.

              • Andrew Patton

                Actually, we do have the right to dictate the terms of healthcare, because we’re the only ones who bothered to show up.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  Constitutional values disagree with you, as do all adult philosophies and ethics systems. Your demand to tell others their rights to their own bodies isn’t even worthy to be called childish; it’s authoritarian, totalitarian, and reeks of a lack of regard for, or even a non-sociopathic understanding of human rights.

                  By YOUR OWN LOGIC, you have to follow Greek healthcare ideals, including paying attention to the elements and humeurs, because, hey, they may be ignorant of modern medicine and what it tells up about bodies and even things like decision-making, they’re the ones who implemented the system.

                  Don’t forget to leave your tithe to Apollo on your way out the door.

                • Andrew Patton

                  Who will force us to do what we refuse to do in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ?

                • baal

                  ” who bothered to show up.”
                  I deny this claim. See prior points on excessive federal tax dollars being given (or not taken) from the Catholics. I’m sure if the James Randi Foundation got billions of dollars each year, it’d “show up”.

  • TheG

    Considering how many Catholics have been railing against the Affordable Healthcare Act because it is the government substituting its judgement over religion, I’m surprised they don’t have a problem with one religion substituting its judgement over an innocent person’s religious or non-religious beliefs.

    • Derrik Pates

      But see, their judgment is “right”. So that’s totally different.

  • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

    Re: “Catholic organizations are merging with secular hospitals and health-care providers, striking agreements that include strict adherence to Catholic teaching. The implications for patient care can be very serious, especially if you’re a woman or an elderly person…”

    Here in Connecticut, only a few months ago, we dodged this particular kind of bullet. Whew!

  • rgcustomer

    The Catholic/Salvation Army hospital in my Southwestern Ontario city is going to merge with the public hospital, in the next decade. (Actually, it’s apparently already happened, with the public staff providing emergency and short-term care, and the Catholic/Salvation Army staff providing long-term care).

    Ontario has a long record of pro-Catholic discrimination, providing them (and only them) with a separate publicly-funded school system. I’m not hopeful about the result of this hospital merger.

  • Keulan

    Religious organizations shouldn’t have control over hospitals. Whether it’s the Catholic Church or other religions, they value their dogma over improving people’s lives far too much.

  • JA

    This makes me miss Tri-Care even more. Sure, it’s rife with its own problems, but at least they didn’t put an invisible man in the sky before treating people.

  • Jayn

    You know, I think this just decided which facility I want to give birth in. I haven’t decided yet, but this reminded me that one of my options is most likely (and on quick check is) Catholic.

    Eh, my OB seems to have a preference for the other place anyways.

  • spectator

    Your link to treatment for an ectopic pregnancy doesn’t say “remove the entire tube”. It says, remove the section of the tube containing the ectopic pregnancy. But of course, atheists have no moral duty to be truthful.

    • RobMcCune

      …removal of the whole section of the tube on the side of the woman’s body where the unborn child is lodged.

      This threat is addressed by removal of the tube…

      It is tubal removal…

      Given the language in the source your talking about, it’s not that difficult misunderstand it and make that association. In any case the tube is still irreparably severed.

    • baal

      or instead of reducing the woman’s fertility, you could just remove the potentially fatal embryo….

      Careful who you’re calling truthful when you use half truths to lie.

  • http://www.facebook.com/paul.grimm.14 Paul Grimm

    I guess the Catholics are simply against murdering children and elderly

    • The Captain

      “I guess the Catholics are simply against murdering children” which is a religious belief they are forcing onto someone else!

      • Cyril Jones-Kellett

        Refusing to kill children and the elderly is not a religious belief. Lots of people would call it basic morals, even lots of non-religious people. See Nat Hentoff.

        • The Captain

          That a fetus is a “child” is a religious belief. Get it? And when you force that belief onto others, you are forcing another person to practice your religion.

        • The Captain

          That a fetus is a “child” is a religious belief. Get it? And when you force that belief onto others, you are forcing another person to practice your religion.

          • Cyril Jones-Kellett

            Actually, it is basic embryology that tells us when the life of a mammal begins. You can look it up.

            • The Captain

              Mammal ≠ child!

              • Cyril Jones-Kellett

                Actually, every human child ever born or conceived has been a mammal.

                • baal

                  irrelevant
                  Also, your citing to biology is at best misleading.

              • RandomRambler

                Brain doesn’t always equal thinking, bear!

            • Mogg

              The life of a mammal doesn’t begin until it is born. Until then, it is not an individual being any more than a skin cell, tumour or any other part of the mother’s body is an individual being. It may be living in the sense that it is comprised of living cells, but it is not a child.

              • Cyril Jones-Kellett

                Um, did you miss biology class? Your skin has your DNA. Your baby has the DNA of another person.
                No serious biologist would say that life begins at birth.
                Certainly an important threshold is crossed at birth, but the birth canal is not a magic portal into which a nonliving thing descends only to emerge a living thing.

                • Mogg

                  I was awarded the prize for top biology student in my graduating year, and tutored other students to high marks. DNA does not define whether or not something is a living being in its own right. The birth canal is not magic, but passing through it marks the transition from foetus, sustained only by its mother’s flesh, to child, a separate human being capable of being sustained in ways other than via its mother’s body.

                • baal

                  living thing =/= person
                  Are you familiar with the HELA cell line?

        • Deborah

          You don’t get to force YOUR morals onto anyone else, Not in this country. Try that shit in Afghanistan, they love that stuff

    • AntonioPeYangIII

      //I guess the Catholics are simply against murdering children//

      Probably because they’d rather not break their toys or breeding stock.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17453849
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-21765850

      Your church didn’t seem to have any problems with endangering the lives of women either.

      http://drjengunter.wordpress.com/2013/04/13/expert-in-savita-inquiry-confirms-irish-women-get-lower-standard-of-care-with-chorioamnionitis/

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2636458/

      • Deborah

        The catholic church lost their moral authority when they sanctioned pedophilia. I don’t want any catholics, or any evangelicals around my children.

  • http://www.facebook.com/paul.grimm.14 Paul Grimm

    Damn those Catholics for providing 1/6 of America’s health care to all people

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

      Damn them for not providing health care to me! Damn them for denying people needed medical services in the name of “providing health care”, when they actually are doing the opposite.

      Damn them for giving people no choice. Damn them for taking advantage of the non-taxation of religious institutions to destroy any hope of competition in a free market between secular and religious institutions.

      Damn them for saying that a small clump of cells is more important than my life. Damn them for saying I’m not a real person, I don’t matter, and really it’s all my fault for being so stupid as to have gotten sick and pregnant at the same time. And damn you for supporting them.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Patton/592034163 Andrew Patton

        Blessed are they because you curse them for their righteousness, for great is their reward in Heaven.

        • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

          I live my life here. They can fucking deal with the curses, so long as they do their fucking jobs. I’ll deal with any after-life repercussions, but don’t send me there early when I don’t choose to die.

          • Andrew Patton

            They are blessed because you curse them for being faithful to God regardless of the consequences.

            • baal

              Andrew, this is why you religionists scare us. Faced with a decent argument, you display your thought blinders and dive head first into an irrationalist mental rut.

              • Andrew Patton

                Your priorities are not our priorities. We will choose death rather than violating God’s Commandments. We will shield the Eucharist from desecration even at the cost of our lives.

                • baal

                  “We will shield the Eucharist”
                  Truely, your comments show your mind is sealed by the lord. How we tell the difference between that and 6 year old closing their eyes, screaming and plugging their ears is the next question.

                  ME: “you scare me”
                  YOU: “I’m also a blinkered cannibal”
                  ME: “That’s not helping”

                • Andrew Patton

                  I missed the part where I’m supposed to care. We will do as the Lord Jesus Christ commands, even if it costs us our lives.

                • Deborah

                  No one gets out alive

                • Andrew Patton

                  Not entirely true. There will be a remnant who will live to see the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that faithful remnant will never die.

        • Obazervazi

          Oh yes, the verse commonly interpreted as “If you’re an asshole and everybody hates you, you must be doing something right.” It’s remarkable how Christians manage to take a book full of cruelty and superstition and manage to make it into something worse.

    • baal

      If they did it for free, that’d be one thing. As it is, they are displacing regular secular medical care. Being a for-profit institution is hardly church business.

      • Deborah

        That they don’t provide it for free while the vatican is gilded in gold sickens me. The church should be headquartered in a shack and all that money should be used to feed and clothe and heal the poor and needy.

  • http://mittenatheist.blogspot.com/ Kari Lynn

    I’m glad I live in Metro Detroit where I can go to a hospital in the Henry Ford Health System. Historically, they are not affiliated with a particular religion, and I doubt they ever will be as long as they are funded by Ford. And people say Detroit sucks. Pfft.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    They terrify me. I’m female, and I do want to have babies some day. I should not have to worry that the hospital I go to might decide my life and my medical wishes are unimportant compared to their holy book’s demands, especially if there was an emergency.

    Health care professionals take the Hippocratic Oath to do no harm. Catholic hospitals require harm to be done to female, terminally ill, and elderly patients on a regular basis. How can any doctor or nurse justify working for a Catholic hospital, ever?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Patton/592034163 Andrew Patton

      We do not require them to do harm. You are calling “harm” what is not harm. For the record, the Hippocratic Oath requires physicians NEVER, under any circumstances, to perform an abortion. Indeed, it forbids them even suggesting one. Catholic hospitals obey the Hippocratic Oath in ways that secular hospitals have forgotten.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Shockingly, the Greeks were also misogynist pricks a lot of the time. Modern versions of the Hippocratic Oath take that out for a reason.

        • Andrew Patton

          Maybe so, but Hippocrates wasn’t one of them. He was just pro-life, not a misogynist. No abortions, no euthanasia, no abuse of the sick or their families. Physicians must heal, not kill.

          • C.L. Honeycutt

            Disallowing euthanasia and abortion is doing far greater harm. The ethics you describe are twisted.

            • Andrew Patton

              Thank you for blessing me.

      • baal

        “For the record, the Hippocratic Oath requires physicians NEVER, under any circumstances, perform an abortion.”

        Bullshit. I don’t see watching a pregnant woman bleed to death (and that will kill the baby (to use your terms)) as in keeping with the Oath and neither does the medical community. You seem to have forgotten that it’s the medical ethicists and not religious dogma that should be used to set professional guidelines.

        • Andrew Patton

          The Hippocratic Oath specifically bans abortion, without exception. No excuses, abortion always transgresses the Oath.

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        Obeying that part of the ORIGINAL Hippocratic Oath, which was very flawed, would mean condemning women to die every day from miscarriages and complications.

        Weird how rational people don’t assume that a millennias-old oath written by someone with an ethical system that vastly differs from, oh, say, CATHOLICISM, that was written in the context of a plainly inferior level of medical knowledge on every conceivable level, and that invokes Greek gods isn’t flawed, huh?

        • Andrew Patton

          Which is why we strike the preamble and replace it with an invocation of Almighty God, of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Great Physician, with Heaven and Earth as witnesses.

    • RandomRambler

      Harm is ripping children into pieces without anesthesia in their mothers’ wombs, cutting ducts, killing the elderly, and many more.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        You do realize that … doesn’t happen, right? Any of it?

        The typical abortion is either medical or vacuum extraction. Medical abortions (take a pill, induce a miscarriage) look exactly like any normal early miscarriage, which is to say it looks like a menstrual period. Blood, clots, kinda gross, cramping, but that’s a normal part of a woman’s life. Vacuum extraction abortions look like little clumps of tissue about 2 inches long. They’re removed intact.

        The only abortions that involve cutting fetuses apart (which can’t even feel pain until 22-24 weeks because they don’t have the nerves or brain structures to do so before then, thanks for playing) happen because the mother is going to die if it doesn’t happen. Late-term abortions occur for life or health of the mother reasons or because the fetus has defects incompatible with life. They also comprise ~1.5% of all abortions if you count from 20 weeks on. They’re less than 1% if you count 24 weeks on, which is considered the point of theoretical viability. So why did you mention abortions in graphic, inaccurate terms?

        Cutting ducts? I’m not sure what you mean. We cut the vans deferens in vasectomies, but that’s a very minor procedure and entirely voluntary. Seriously, it’s outpatient surgery- my dad called it a walk in, limp out procedure. Tubal ligations are a much more serious surgery because it’s abdominal cavity surgery, but it’s still pretty minor compared to many and especially now we have laparoscopic procedures it’s not super harmful.

        Killing the elderly? No one does that against their will and without their consent. Euthanasia laws are very clear on that, and most actually require the patient to self-administer their death agent. It’s a triumph of recognition that sometimes, people want to die before they suffer ridiculous amounts of pain, and since they aren’t going to get any better that’s a reasonable desire.

        So tell me, if I come in bleeding from my vagina and the hospital determines that I’m in the process of a miscarriage at 16 weeks, what should they do? The right answer is lay out the risks and benefits and ask me what I want to do. The probable right answer is immediate abortion, now. The answer they’d give is watch me bleed and bleed, writhing in pain, and open to all sorts of nasty opportunistic infections, all for an embryo that can’t survive anyways. I’m not seeing how that sort of care is a good, ethical, or moral thing to do, but it is very Catholic.

  • golby260

    I just want to say this, and then, MOVE ON.

    If this were an Adventist health care company buying up all of these hospitals, the only things you guys here might be complaining about is seeing less workers on Saturday, along with any other nominally Christian thing they might do. Hell, there would be more vegetarian food to eat there, too, which could only be a plus. However, I’ve yet to hear of a woman seriously facing death from a unsuccessful pregnancy because some Adventists decided that their jobs and their livelihood were more important their her survival in any one of their hospitals. Given how obscure their church is, such a case would’ve blown up all over the major news outlets, and it has yet to.

    I’m just saying.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pandora114 Monique Boulanger

    This is for CyrilTroll:

    You know, that, if the Catholic hospital refuses to do an abortion to save the life of the mother, BOTH FETUS AND WOMAN DIE. Right? so by your “Logic” TWO people died.

    A family was left motherless, two kids no mom, no sibling. A Widower man, left to take care of two children and his own grief.

    All because a life saving procedure COULD be performed, but was not due to religious objection. So either way, you wind up killing the fetus, you just also kill the woman as well.

    It’s amazing how these pro-life people TOTALLY neglect to see that if the MOM dies the baby dies anyway. *sigh* BIOLOGY 101

    • Cyril Jones-Kellett

      I don’t think you understand the Catholic position, which is fine. But you are saying things that are not true, which undermines your point. Before you criticize the position of Catholic hospitals, try understanding it first.

      First, you should know that Ireland has one of the lowest maternal mortality rates in the world, so they do a pretty good job of treating pregnant women.

      Second, the woman had E.coli blood poisoning, how, exactly, was an abortion going to save her life?

      And third here is what the Irish Catholic Bishops said:
      “We believe in upholding the equal and inalienable right to life of a mother and her unborn child … where a seriously ill pregnant woman needs medical treatment which may put the life of her baby at risk, such treatments are ethically permissible provided every effort has been made to save the life of both the mother and her baby.”

      So, while they won’t allow just neglecting the baby, they do allow treatment of the mother even if it will kill the baby.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        If you’re referring to Ms. Halappanavar- she had E. coli blood poisoning due to infection that traveled from the fetus, up the umbilical cord, and into her system. It got in due to an incomplete miscarriage, which means she had an open, gaping wound exposed to the air and everything. We know that’s not safe. We know that if someone presents with an infected gash on their leg, we need to clean the gash before we close it up or the person could get blood poisoning.

        A uterus is no different. You need to clean it out (evacuate, abort, terminate, pick your word) to prevent deadly infection if it’s an open wound. Once the infection is present, you definitely need to do so or the woman is going to die. For sure. 100%. Sometimes after an infection a woman can still be saved if the source of the infection (fetus and/or placenta) is removed, but if it’s not removed the woman is dead. The doctors in Ireland did eventually perform an abortion, but they had to wait until Savita was sick enough. Never mind that sepsis is always life-threatening, they had to wait until the risk of death passed 51% in their minds before they could take action. And they waited too long, and she died. In any sane world, she would have presented with a miscarriage in progress at 17 weeks and a fever and been given an immediate abortion, especially since she requested one.

        • Cyril Jones-Kellett

          A human fetus got e.coli infection in utero and then infected the mother? What the hell was that baby doing, working nights on a farm?

          • http://www.facebook.com/pandora114 Monique Boulanger

            Ok, E.coli is natural flora in the human digestive tract as well. Sometimes, feces can travel up the vaginal canal…you know since it’s PRETTY darned close to the anus. The vagina usually has safeguards against this, but during pregnancy, the normal vaginal flora and PH levels are out of whack due to hormones.

            Also, just for the record, Pregnant women CAN STILL HAVE SEXUAL INTERCOURSE during pregnancy. Penis and or toys could have had the bacteria on it…a little too rough of the rumpy pumpy and it manages to damage the cervix just a little and introduce the bacteria into the amniotic fluid. voila.

            Now as for the feotal heart beat still being detected, the mother’s heartbeat can cause the already dead baby’s heart to keep pumping due to the connected circulatory systems through the placenta and umbilical cord. Sort of a CPR type deal. Hence how the infection got into the mother’s blood from the fetus in the first place.

            • Cyril Jones-Kellett

              The fetus did not give the mother e. coli. If you are saying the mother had it in her system, then the mother might have given it to the child, but the child cannot contract a disease and then pass it to the mother. How would that happen?
              We really still do not know all the details of this case, but the mother certainly was not given e.coli by the baby.
              And it is wrong to say that the child had been miscarried and the mother was not helped. The whole point of an abortion is that the child has not deceased.
              The mother wanted an abortion so that she could be treated more aggressively BEFORE she was septic.
              I do not know what the law should be in such cases, but in Irish law the doctor’s could not perform an abortion on a mother who was in no apparent risk of dying.
              After that, it is not clear why they did not treat her poisoning. That may well have been malpractice.
              None of which has anything to do with Catholic hospitals. It has to do with the laws of Ireland and what appears to be malpractice.
              Who cares, though, when it offers such a nice opportunity to blame Catholic hospitals?

              • http://www.facebook.com/pandora114 Monique Boulanger

                Umm, The fetus contracted Ecoli from the amniotic fluid, the FETUS transferred this bacteria TO THE MOTHERS CIRCULATORY SYSTEM that happened to be linked through the UMBILICAL CORD AND PLACENTA. Man you have an absolute shit knowledge of biology don’t you?

                • Cyril Jones-Kellett

                  Yes, my point exactly. The fetus got e.coli from the mother (ie amniotic fluid).
                  The baby did not take a trip outside and get e. coli. This seems to be an obsession with some people, to turn the baby into the mother’s enemy. The baby is not the enemy of the mother. The baby is completely innocent.
                  Sometimes there are cases where it is difficult to save both mother and child. In such cases, Catholic teaching says that an effort must be made to save both, but if saving the mother will result in the child’s death, it is ethical to proceed to save the mother.
                  So, Catholic hospitals are not the enemy of the mother, either.
                  And Irish hospitals do a better job of keeping pregnant women alive than almost any other hospitals in the world, including countries with very liberal abortion laws such as the United States.
                  Hence, neither the baby nor the Catholic Church nor the Irish hospital system is an enemy to mothers.
                  Difficult cases are difficult. Just as you would say that one accidental death in an abortion clinic does not condemn all abortion clinics (and there have been two in recent weeks just in the U.S.), you must admit that one unusual death in a Catholic hospital cannot be generalized to condemn all Catholic hospitals.
                  Or, no, maybe you wouldn’t be so reasonable. Maybe you really want to believe that the baby, the hospital, and the Irish nation are all enemies to women.
                  OK, but don’t call that “reason.”

          • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

            It’s not uncommon for a woman to have an e. coli colony in her vagina. Vaginas are actually very dirty, biologicially speaking- there are lots and lots of germs that live there. Also there’s e. coli in the environment; remember, open, bloody wound exposed to air in an uncompleted miscarriage. Would you be shocked by e. coli-induced sepsis from someone who had an infected arm wound? Look up chorioamnionitis- that’s the technical term for infection of membranes.

      • http://www.facebook.com/pandora114 Monique Boulanger

        You totally missed my point.

        If the mom dies, the baby dies by default. Two “lives” lost.

        If the abortion happens, according to you only “one” life is lost.

        IMO only a POTENTIAL life is lost. The existing life, with status, experience, and surrounded by other people, someone who has already made an impact, should come before a potential life. Since either way, the baby is gonna die, save at least one life, that of the mom’s.

        • Cyril Jones-Kellett

          I do not think “potential life” can mean anything but sperm and egg. Otherwise it has no biological meaning.

          Once ontogenesis occurs you do not have potential life, you are alive.

          We have known for more than a century how mammalian embryology proceeds. When sperm and egg combine fully, we have a new creature.

          And if there is a case in which treating the mother is necessary to save her life but treating her will mean the death of the child, the Catholic Church teaches that it is morally acceptable to treat the mother despite the death of the child. It is done in Catholic hospitals all the time.

          The Irish case was malpractice, not Catholic theology bursting into the room and killing someone.

          Does it make you angry that the Catholic Church treats the child as a living human creature? Well, basic embryology tells us it is a living human creature. Catholics
          just add the idea that all living human creatures are equal before God. That means mother and child must be treated with equal concern.

  • JujuC

    While I agree with much of what is written here, I can attest to the fact that the busy oncology floor at the Catholic hospital in which I work does *not* deny the end of life wishes of patients. If a patient has a legal document signifying DNR in place, a hospital can – and often will be – sued in a court of law for not honoring said document. We do have varying degrees of “code status”: for example, a patient can signify whether they want nothing to be done (a.k.a. “comfort care) or if s/he wants no chest compression but does desire chemical means of resuscitation. I’d wager that other Catholic institutions work on similar protocols. My beef is that our employee insurance covers Viagra but not contraception and with other similar misogynistic policies. Just sayin’…

  • ReadsInTrees

    My sister has both of her children at the maternity ward of a local Catholic hospital. She highly recommended it after the great care that she received. Despite being an atheist, I was still considering this maternity ward for my own future pregnancies. Now, just out of curiosity, I visited their website and looked at their “womens’ services” section. Comprehensive family planning? NOPE. The only mention they had was a section on “natural family planning”, which they claim is 98% effective. Yikes. Nevermind.

    • RandomRambler

      If done PROPERLY (the full method), it IS 98% effective – just like your pills.

      • Guest

        And if I’m not interested in doing it PROPERLY by screwing around with my cervical mucus every day and keeping ridiculous charts as if I’m participating in some sort of reproductive experiment? Then I’ll take the pills. Well, actually, I got the tubes slashed and burned. Nuke it from space. It’s the only way to be sure.

  • RandomRambler

    Go to your atheist institutions instead – yes, you can do it. You do not need life-preserving Catholics to serve you.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      Your angry pettiness and inability to grasp the point are noted.

  • Doug

    Hey, then who should step in and provide that amount of funding? The Catholic Church provides ONE FOURTH of the worlds healthcare. You want to remove them, who takes their place? Do you have any viable options? Do you also dislike the Baptist, Methodist… etc. hospitals too for putting God first? Seems like you’re only focusing on the negatives and being passive aggressive behind your keyboard.


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