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Jesuits. Again.

ST. LOUIS PRESIDENT ON BOARD OF HOSPITAL CHAIN THAT PERFORMS ABORTIONS

On July 23, Rev. Lawrence Biondi, S.J., president of Saint Louis University (MO), will be considered for re-election to the Board of Directors of Tenet Healthcare Corporation, a national chain of 114 hospitals which has been tied to abortion. Biondi is currently chairman of the board’s Ethics, Quality and Compliance Committee, charged with ensuring that “Tenet, its employees and directors act in accordance with appropriate ethical standards.”

Despite several inquiries made by Cardinal Newman Society and a Tenet shareholder, Tenet officials refused to disclose the exact number of its hospitals that perform abortions. But they confirmed that each Tenet hospital is free to make its own decision whether to perform abortions. Ironically, in recent years Tenet has aggressively sought to purchase Catholic hospitals, usually with the agreement that those hospitals will continue to abide by Catholic ethical standards.

Catholic Funds Inc., a Milwaukee-based Catholic financial services company that uses two professional screening services to identify businesses that are offensive to Catholic donors, said that both screeners identify Tenet as complicit in abortion. Catholic Funds excludes Tenet from its investment funds.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, which tracks abortions and the facilities where they are performed, Tenet-owned MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham performed 166 abortions in the year 2000-the last year for which statistics are available. Pro-life activists in Massachusetts have called on Biondi to step down from Tenet’s board as part of their protest of MetroWest, but the activists say Biondi has not responded to their concerns.

Attempts to obtain similar information from other states were unsuccessful, as most states do not report the facilities where abortions were performed.

Biondi has served on Tenet’s board since August 1998, when Saint Louis University Hospital was purchased by Tenet amid much controversy and deep reservations expressed by Archbishop Justin Rigali. The university hospital does not perform abortions.

ACTION: Write Father Biondi, urging him to step down from the Tenet board and abandon his re-election bid on July 23. Also write Biondi’s Jesuit superiors, asking them to insist that Biondi step down from Tenet’s board.

President: Rev. Lawrence Biondi, S.J. E-mail: biondi@slu.edu. Phone: (314) 977-7777. Address: 221 North Grand Blvd., Saint Louis, MO 63103.

Missouri Jesuit Provincial (outgoing): Very Rev. Frank Reale, S.J. E-mail: moprov@jesuits-mis.org. Phone: (314) 361-7765. Fax: (314) 758-7164. Address: 4511 W. Pine Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108-2191.

Missouri Jesuit Provincial (incoming in August): Rev. Timothy M. McMahon, S.J. E-mail: moprov@jesuits-mis.org. Phone: (314) 361-7765. Fax: (314) 758-7164. Address: 4511 W. Pine Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108-2191.

The happy thing about academics is that they are typically such gutless cowards when faced with anything like a real public outcry. So make noise in the hope that something will really happen.


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