The Federal Government Must Stop Catholic Hospitals From Harming More Women

Unfortunately, it’s increasingly a common story. A woman who is expecting a baby rushes to the hospital knowing that something is going horribly awry. Her heart rate is elevated, and she is bleeding. Sadly, the pregnancy is doomed. Crying and upset, she realizes she needs an abortion because she knows the pregnancy won’t make it to term.   And she knows she is getting sicker.   

But in this particular story, the hospital is Catholic, and the medical staff refused to provide an abortion based on Catholic directives that dictate what care can be provided in Catholic hospitals. Instead of providing her with appropriate care, the hospital kept her for six hours watching her bleed. They finally “discharged” her to the parking lot so that a relative could drive her to another hospital to get the care she needed. But by that time, she had lost so much blood that she needed a transfusion of seven pints and emergency surgery.

This story is real, and so is this woman (who is thankfully alive). Her story is one of several complaints against Catholic hospitals – which take billions of taxpayer dollars to serve the public - that have been lodged with the federal agency that oversees hospitals. 

We know that there are more complaints, including the one filed by Faith Groesbeck, a public health researcher, who discovered several stories of women denied proper emergency care during miscarriages at one Catholic hospital in Michigan. One woman described in Ms. Groesbeck’s complaint was turned away by the Catholic hospital twice while miscarrying and given only Tylenol for a potentially deadly infection. The woman ended up miscarrying by herself on the toilet at home.  

It’s very strange, then, that when we filed a Freedom of Information Act request back in 2014 seeking these complaints we received none of them. That’s why today we filed a lawsuit under FOIA to get all documents related to complaints against Catholic hospitals.

We assume there are other complaints that we don’t know about yet. As our recent report documents, the number of Catholic hospitals continues to climb, along with the number of women coming forward to tell their story of being denied care at a Catholic hospital. In 2016, one in six hospital beds in the U.S. are in a facility that complies with Catholic directives, which prohibit a range of reproductive health care, even when a woman’s life or health is in jeopardy.

We know that the government knows there is a problem. The government’s answer to today’s lawsuit will tell us precisely what they know. And we expect them to help fix this problem and use federal law to protect women.

Hospitals violate the law when they refuse to provide emergency medical care or provide information about a patient’s condition. The federal government should systematically investigate Catholic hospitals and hold them accountable. No woman should rush to the hospital and fear for her life because of religious rules that force hospitals to turn patients away without providing the proper care.

If you have been denied proper care at a Catholic hospital, we’d like to hear from you.

Lend your voice to the fight and demand investigations of the violations.

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Let me guess... Catholic?

Ariel C

Actually my mother was an RN at a catholic hospital for over a decade. Not only is this completely true, it's sadly common.


If the embyro/ fetus has a heartbeat they will not do anything to assist the woman. Many times an "abortion" (ie, ending the pregnancy) is the necessary course of treatment, as the pregnancy is doomed anyway and the woman is in danger of bleeding out or infection. The same with ectopic pregnancy- they can't directly cause the death of the embryo, so either no treatment is given until the tube ruptures and the woman is in danger of dying of blood loss, or they remove the WHOLE FALLOPIAN TUBE in a major surgery, reducing the woman's fertility. That way being out of the woman causes the embryo to die, they didn't "directly" kill it.


I thought he meant the bible


Probably the most biased and untrue comment I have ever read.


It's actually a very true story, so shut up dickwad.



Women have DIED because they couldn't get care in Catholic hospitals while they are miscarrying a WANTED pregnancy.


My neighbor DIED as a result of them neglecting her at a Catholic Hospital. She was suffering from asthma and they would only monitor the pregnancy. When she died the doctor tried to refuse to take out the baby at the father's insistence. The doctor was afraid the child would have brain damage and thus have the pants sued off of him! He relented and the baby survived! Pro life UNLESS they will sue you for a brain damaged child that was caused by their own negligence!


ACLU = Anti-Christian


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