My Catholic Hospital’s Cooperation with Evil
My local Catholic hospital, where I have been on the staff as an internal-medicine specialist for over fifty years, has a good record of following Catholic principles, such as those found in the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ “Ethical & Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services.” My hospital has never permitted abortion or sterilization procedures on its premises.
Recently, however, a letter went out informing hospital employees that they are entitled to contraceptive pills and devices, annual contraceptive counseling, and abortifacients and female sterilizations, and that these services will be free of charge. This apparent paradox was explained when it was discovered that the letters were issued by an accommodator arranged by Ascension Health, the nation’s third largest healthcare provider, which my hospital had joined a few years ago.
In November 2013 Dr. Anthony Tersigni, CEO of Ascension Health, stated that the primary purpose of Ascension Health is to continue serving those most in need, including the “poor and vulnerable,” and to “provide dignity of life from birth through natural death.” Ascension Health has been quite militant in its involvement with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which has mandated that all participating insurance companies must cover contraception, sterilization, and “emergency contraception” (abortifacient drugs) with zero copayments.
One of the first groups that Dr. Tersigni wanted to involve in ACA was his own employees — hardly the “poor and vulnerable.” Dr. Tersigni’s enthusiasm for ACA may be due to the fact that Ascension Health has been the recipient of “navigator grants” handed out by the federal government, by which Ascension Health patients are “steered” toward ACA (hence the term navigator). Ascension Health has received at least two of these grants, one designated for Via Christi Hospital in Wichita, Kansas (in the amount of $232,406), and another for Providence Hospital in Mobile, Alabama ($165,683).
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