In a federal lawsuit against Trinity, which is one of the largest Catholic health systems in the country, the ACLU explained that their doctors refused to perform abortions on five women who suffered preterm, premature rupture of membranes. This complication arises when the amniotic sac breaks and leaves no fluid around the unborn child.
Sarah Prager, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Washington, said the condition almost always results in fetal death. She said, “This is a situation where there is virtually no chance that the fetus will survive. The miscarriage has started. It just hasn’t completed.”
Additionally, Prager said that if care is denied women are at risk for infection and termination of pregnancy is considered “the standard of care.” USA Today reports that Trinity believes the case has no merit. In a statement, they said, “A federal court already dismissed a similar ACLU claim, and we will seek dismissal of this suit for the same reason. The Ethical and Religious Directives are entirely consistent with high-quality health care, and our clinicians continue to provide superb care throughout the communities we serve. We are proud that more than 25,000 licensed physicians work directly with our health system and share our commitment to people-centered care.”
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Trinity Spokeswoman Eve Pidgeon added that Catholic directives “are entirely consistent with high-quality health care, and our clinicians continue to provide superb care throughout the communities we serve. We are proud that more than 25,000 licensed physicians work directly with our health system and share our commitment to people-centered care.”
However, the ACLU argued that Trinity violated the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) by failing to stabilize the women’s medical conditions. ACLU attorney Alexa Kolbi-Molinas said, “Patient welfare must be the No. 1 concern of health care professionals. Every pregnant woman who enters an emergency room should be guaranteed that she will get the care she needs, and should not have to worry that she won’t get appropriate care because of the hospital’s religious affiliation.”
As LifeNews previously reported, the ACLU has been big advocates for abortion and forcing Catholic hospitals to perform them even though it’s against their religious beliefs. In fact, they ACLU of Michigan recently lost a lawsuit where they were trying to force Catholic and other religiously affiliated hospitals to do abortions in cases where the mother’s life is supposedly in danger. The judge involved in the case, Robert Holmes Bell, dismissed it and said that Michigan federal courts had no jurisdiction over the bishops conference policy directive and had no business interfering with their religious doctorial decisions.
Then, earlier this year, the ACLU sued the Obama administration for documents it says will show that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is restricting access to abortions for unaccompanied immigrant children. In February 2014, the USCCB objected to a new regulation proposed by the Obama administration that would require contractors to provide access to contraception and abortion for unaccompanied immigrant children who have been raped.
In an official letter, the USCCB as well as World Relief, the National Association of Evangelicals and Catholic Relief Services, explained that the new regulation violates religious liberty, specifically the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
They wrote, “There is little question that a government requirement to provide or refer for items or procedures to which an organization has a religious and moral objection would impose a ‘substantial burden’ on its exercise of religion.” Additionally, the USCCB said they were opposed to transferring teenagers to other groups that would do abortions because they believe it still enables actions that violate their religious beliefs.
Brigitte Amiri, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU, disagrees and said, “The bishops want to take millions of dollars in government contracts, but at the same time, they don’t want to comply with the terms of the contracts.” USCCB said they were opposed to transferring teenagers to other groups that would do abortions because they believe it still enables actions that violate their religious beliefs.