ASHEVILLE, N.C.(BP) — The American Civil Liberties Union is launching a renewed attack against religious hospitals, claiming they should not be allowed to base the care they provide on the dictates of their sincerely held beliefs.
In a report released in May, titled “Health Care Denied,” the ACLU targets Catholic hospitals, saying they jeopardize women’s lives because they “prohibit a range of reproductive health services,” including abortion, when something goes wrong during pregnancy.
Grazie Pozo Christie, a Miami-area radiologist and a Catholic, said claims of care being denied are false.
“When a woman’s life is in danger, any treatment that a woman needs will be provided to her, even if it endangers the child,” Christie told WORLD News Service. “So there is no point in a Catholic hospital at which a woman’s life becomes really in danger.” . . .[Full Text]
Catholic League president Bill Donohue addresses the dilemma that the Obama administration has created for religious employers:
Yesterday, the Obama administration mandated that all health insurance plans cover contraceptives and sterilization for women, though it made an exception for religious employers. But did it? Not really. To wit: a religious employer is defined, in part, as one that primarily employs, and serves, persons who share its religious tenets.
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo said this means that “our institutions would be free to act in accord with Catholic teaching on life and procreation only if they were to stop hiring and serving non-Catholics.” He’s right: Catholic schools, hospitals and social service agencies have a long and distinguished record of serving everyone, regardless of religious affiliation; most even employ non-Catholics. However, there are matters, like foster care programs, where same-religion requisites make sense.
The situation is even more pernicious than it looks. Consider that three years ago, then presidential candidate Barack Obama said he opposes allowing faith-based programs to hire only their own people. Since becoming president, he has authorized his administration to consider this issue on a case-by-case basis, and just recently many of his allies lobbied him to gut the religious liberty provision in hiring altogether.
In other words, the Obama administration is playing Catch-22 with religious employers. If they are too religious, Catholic social service agencies risk losing federal funds, but if Catholic hospitals are not sufficiently religious, they cannot be exempt from carrying health insurance policies that transgress their religious tenets.
The Obama administration knows exactly what it is doing, and what it is doing is burning religious institutions at both ends. This is a pretty sick game. But it is one where there is plenty of time left on the clock.
The Catholic League is the nation’s largest Catholic civil rights organization. Founded in 1973 by the late Father Virgil C. Blum, S.J., the Catholic League defends the right of Catholics – lay and clergy alike – to participate in American public life without defamation or discrimination.