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Catholic Hospitals Criminalize Women's Healthcare. Should women be forced to fund these hospitals with their tax dollars?

"Black woman charged with a felony after miscarrying" - NBC

Brittany Watts was arrested for having a miscarriage in Ohio. The ‘abuse of a corpse’ charges against her were later dismissed. She spoke to CBS about her experience miscarrying, the way that the nurse who was rubbing her back and comforting her called 911, and how she was targeted for being Black. - Jessica Valenti in Abortion, Every Day

Watts made her first prenatal visit to a doctor’s office behind Mercy Health-St. Joseph’s Hospital (a Catholic Hospital) in Warren outside Cleveland.

"The spread of Catholic hospitals limits reproductive care. Religious doctrine restricts access to abortion and birth control and limits treatment options for miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies." - Washington Post

How many Catholic hospitals are there? How many births do they provide? How much money do Catholic Hospitals get from your tax dollars while they deny women critical care? Check this StoryMap.

Catholic Hospitals criminalize care

Catholic hospitals & health systems

  • Catholic hospitals and health systems receive nearly $48 billion of taxpayer dollars each year, in the form of Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, while seeking expansion of government permission to use religious doctrine to restrict care.
  • Catholic urgent care centers frequently said they were unable to provide birth control refills or other urgent gynecological services, while non-Catholic centers frequently provided these services.
  • Despite their stated missions of serving the poor, Catholic hospitals as a group serve a lower percentage of Medicaid insured patients than do other hospitals and provide slightly less charity care.
  • The number of communities reliant solely on a Catholic short-term acute care hospital has continued to grow, and in 10 states, 30 percent or more of all short term acute care beds are in Catholic hospitals and 30 percent or more of all births happen in a Catholic hospital. - Community Catalyst

Catholic Hospital Directives

Catholic systems now control about1 in 7 U.S. hospital beds, requiring religious doctrine to guide treatment, often to the surprise of patients. Their ascendancy has broad implications for the evolving national battle over reproductive rights beyond abortion ,as bans against it take hold in more than a dozen Republican-led states.

The Catholic health-care facilities follow directives from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops that prohibit treatment it deems “immoral”: sterilization includingvasectomies, postpartum tubal ligations and contraception,as well as abortion. Those policies can limit treatment options for obstetric care during miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies, particularly in the presence of a fetal heartbeat. - Washington Post

Republican extreme abortion policies

MAGA Republican War On Women - starts with words

"Brittany had already been told this is a nonviable pregnancy. She was afraid for her health and life and knew she needed to be treated. So what’s the issue with using the word ‘abortion’? It makes sense that she would bring up termination! But the staff didn’t like that. They wrote that “ethics supports induction of this patient” if doctors decided she was high risk. (Emphasis mine) They also wrote that if they do perform an “induction,” there should be a conversation with Brittany that the procedure “is not intended to terminate a potentially viable pregnancy.”

So their big concern—big enough to bring in a consult from the ethics committee—was that Brittany talked about her treatment as an abortion. They got nervous, and made judgements, because she used a completely appropriate medical term. The staff at this Catholic institution then used the word ‘abortion’ to make the case that Brittany didn’t want her pregnancy, or that she was callous—a false belief that carried into how way she was turned in by a nurse, the way police turned her home upside down, and why she was charged by a zealous prosecutor.

We know that the case against Brittany, and criminalization more broadly, has a lot of moving parts: racism, misogyny, and all the horrors of the criminal justice system. But we also know that language matters. And I think what we’re seeing here is also how the anti-abortion movement’s war on language can tangibly hurt women." - Jessica Valenti

TakeAway: Catholic hospitals criminalize women's reproductive health care. Should women be forced to support Catholic Hospitals with their tax dollars?

Image credit: Brittany Watts

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Catholic hospitals criminalize women's health care. Should women be forced to support Catholic Hospitals with their tax dollars.

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