Pro-Life Groups Unite to Stop Abortions at Proposed Chicago Hospital

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 10, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Groups Unite to Stop Abortions at Proposed Chicago Hospital

by Jill Stanek Note: For 10 years Jill Stanek worked as a labor and delivery nurse at Christ Hospital and Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Illinois. She became a national figure when she exposed the practice of leaving babies to die following botched abortions. Her expose’ resulted in the Born Alive Infants Protection Act signed by President Bush.

Chicago, IL ( — Two hospital systems want to build hospitals one mile apart in the southwest suburbs of Chicago.

The Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board will choose only one, if it first determines there is a need.

Advocate Health Care Systems, the parent company of Christ Hospital, is pro-abortion. St. Francis Hospital and Health Center is Catholic and pro-life.

And thus the battle for pro-lifers begins.

A coalition of six pro-life/pro-family organizations, together called Advocates Against Abortion at Advocate, have pooled their databases for a mailing to pro-life families that will be affected by this decision.

On May 3, 2,150 informational letters went out. Included with each mailing were three stamped postcards that supporters of the endeavor were asked to sign, with address identification, and return to the Coalition.

At the same time, the Coalition initiated a postcard campaign within the churches. Fr. Larry Dowling, the dean of Catholic churches surrounding Christ Hospital, and Fr. Joseph Segal, the dean of Catholic churches in the proposed new hospital area, each wrote letters to their churches asking them to participate.

Protestant churches are equally supportive of St. Francis vs. Advocate. Churches are unified to say they want a hospital that respects life in their midst, not a pro-abortion hospital.

Eleven Catholic churches and 10 Protestant churches have thus far signed on to the postcard campaign, with more considering involvement. Three church weekends remain before public comment closes.

The postcards will be submitted during the public comment phase of the IHFPB’s decision-making process, which ends May 27.

The St. Francis hospital endeavor is sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters of Mary from St. Louis.

Advocate’s two religious affiliates (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and United Church of Christ) are pro-abortion.

Advocate’s 2001 abortion policy states it will abort babies with fatal handicaps, for "selective reduction" in the case of multiple gestation, for rape, incest, and life or health of the mother. Advocate’s policy also states it will also abort minor girls without parental consent.

Advocate is involved in the induced labor abortion procedure, committed during the second trimester of pregnancy. This procedure results in some babies being aborted alive.

Although Advocate says its new hospital would not commit abortion, Advocate’s policy states mothers seeking abortion will be referred to one of its three aborting hospitals. These are Christ, Lutheran General, or Illinois Masonic. Advocate will also refer patients to aborting facilities outside of its system.

Advocate would also offer genetic testing and counseling at its new facility. This would be to, according to Advocate’s policy, "understand the available options… [and] choose the course of action." St. Francis would not offer genetic testing and counseling.

The Sisters are not discussing this publicly, but one rationale for building a new hospital in a higher-income area is to subsidize their Blue Island, Illinois, hospital, which is located in a lower-income community.

Meanwhile, Advocate’s pricing and collection policies toward the uninsured are under inquiry by the Illinois Senate Health & Human Services Committee and the Attorney General. Advocate has been accused of price gouging the uninsured and using predatory collection practices against patients who can’t pay their bills.

The six life/pro-family groups in the Coalition are Concerned Women for America of Illinois, Illinois Citizens for Life, Illinois Family Institute, Illinois Federation for the Right to Life, Illinois Right to Life Committee, and Pro-Life Action League.