Illinois Hospital Merger-Abortion Battle Continues, Pro-Life Groups Fight

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 29, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Illinois Hospital Merger-Abortion Battle Continues, Pro-Life Groups Fight

by Paul Nowak Staff Writer
May 29, 2004

Chiacgo, IL ( — As the public comment phase ended Thursday in Illinois’ battle between two new hospitals, thousands of postcards expressed the public’s opinion that they wanted Catholic and pro-life St. Francis Hospital and Health Center over another hospital by pro-abortion Advocate Health Care Systems.

Both proposed hospitals would be built in the Tinley Park/Orland Park vicinity, and the Illinois Health Facilities Planning board must choose one or the other, not neither.

On Wednesday 6,429 “Vote NO to Advocate, Vote YES to St. Francis" postcards were delivered to the planning board, just one day before the public comment phase for the decision ended. A decision is expected by June 16.

The postcards were distributed by direct mail and to members of 34 churches by a coalition of pro-life groups calling themselves the Advocates Against Abortion at Advocate.

The group is comprised of 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.

A second postcard campaign targeted doctors and residents in the area of Lutheran General Hospital, owned by Advocate. The card depicted the “Hear no Evil” monkey with its ears opened, and stated “Lutheran General Hospital performs second trimester abortions. Now that you have heard evil, what are you going to do?”

The proposal for St. Francis is sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters of Mary from St. Louis. Being Catholic, that hospital would not be performing abortions if built.

Advocate, backed by the pro-abortion Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and United Church of Christ, has stated that its new hospital would not conduct abortions either. However, it would refer women to other facilities for abortions.

According to Advocate’s 2001 abortion policy, Lutheran General, Christ Hospital, and Illinois Masonic Hospital provide abortions trough the second term. Abortions are performed for fatal fetal handicaps, “selective reduction” of pregnancies with two or more babies, rape, incest, or life or health of the mother.

In addition, Advocate’s policy sates it will perform abortions on minor girls without parental consent, and if a woman seeks an abortion for reasons other than those stated in their policy, Advocate Hospitals will refer her to another abortion business.

Advocate would also offer genetic testing and counseling at its new facility. According to their policies, this is for patients to "understand the available options… [and] choose the course of action."

The Advocate Health System has upset more than just the pro-life community. Its pricing and collection policies are under inquiry by the Illinois Senate Health & Human Services Committee and the Attorney General, following accusations of price gouging and predatory collection practices against uninsured patients.