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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Bruce Tunnel what a fine example of a "christian" you are. You are a perfect example of why people find "christians" the most hypocritical people on the face of the planet.


I know it's ludicrous but why are you trying to force Catholic hospitals to live by different rules?
Your righteous indignation is hilarious. Like you think you have a legitimate argument but you don't.
Don't go to a Catholic hospital.
Personally I would outlaw any hospital having any ties to a religion.
Also of they take tax money they shouldn't have religious doctrine dictate their actions.
But you acting all righteously indignant, speaking of the care a woman needs is HILARIOUS.


Nothing like omitting pertinent information to deliberately elicit outrage. This woman goes from expecting a baby, to experiencing an elevated heart rate and bleeding, to the decision to have an abortion BEFORE SHE'S EVEN SEEN TO DETERMINE EXACTLY WHAT'S WRONG! Am I missing something from this insanely biased story?

Cathy Henry

If a woman is having a miscarriage, she can get septic and die unless she has a therapeutic abortion. Some Catholic hospitals let women get septic because the baby hadn't died yet.


Don't worry ACLU, Progressives and baby butchers... The Catholic hospitals only use the federal funding for everything other than the things you do not like. Just like your Planned Parenthood butcher shop only uses federal funds for "Woman Healthcare" and screenings. The visits to Planned Parenthood for abortions magically uses non-federal funds.

It works both ways. Enjoy your hell.


Why does the left seek to tear down and attack Catholic hospitals? They have helped millions of people but the radical pro-abortion lobbyists that bow at the altar of Planned Parenthood continue to promote the culture of death. It is truly tragic and very very sad. If anyone doesn't acknowledge the existence of evil, one only need look at this article.

Cathy Henry

Planned Parenthood is helping lower the rate of abortion by providing sex education and birth control. They do abortions, but we know from history that desperate women will get an illegal abortion or attempt a self-abortion. Planned Parenthood is more pro-life that the Catholic Church. They are doing what works to lower the rate of abortion. In the 19th Century, doctors estimated there were 2 million abortions a year. Women had abortions all the time even though they were illegal. The family doctor or midwife did the abortion. In those days, abortion WAS birth control. These Bishops show total contempt for the reality of what it means to be a woman.


I have had 2 babies in a Catholic hospital as well as 3 miscarriages. They were amazing. The DNC was performed. No arguments at all. I have had ZERO issues with our hospital or team of doctors. I would make the same decision again if I had too.

Cathy Henry

I think many Catholic hospitals ignore the rules and do therapeutic abortions for medical emergencies, but if you look at the Catholic rules they are not supposed to. An abortion cannot be performed to save the life of the mother.

Cathy Henry

You said a DNC was performed. The Catholic rules say no abortion can be performed just to save the mother's life if the baby's heart is still beating.
Of course, medical people in Catholic hospitals may look the other way in order to save the mother. It is doctors and also religious in these hospitals who tell us what is going on.
It is ok to kill the baby indirectly. For example, if a surgery for a tumor has the indirect effect of killing the baby.


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