Colorado Hospital Owner Sues Attorney General Over Sale Limiting Abortions

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 29, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Colorado Hospital Owner Sues Attorney General Over Sale Limiting Abortions Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 29,

Denver, CO ( — The owner of a hospital that a Catholic health system is trying to purchase has filed a lawsuit against the state attorney general for not intervening. Sisters of Charity Leavenworth Health System is purchasing Exempla Lutheran Medical Center in Wheat Ridge, a suburb of Denver, and the sale could stop abortions at Exempla.

State law requires Attorney General John Suthers to approve the transfer of assets, and Suthers decided last month not to challenge the purchase.

Exempla Inc., operator of Exempla Lutheran and Good Samaritan medical centers, filed suit on Friday in Denver District Court to force Suthers to vacate his opinion endorsing the sale. Suthers previously said the sale did not violate state laws on non-profits.

According to a Denver Post article, Exempla argues the attorney general doesn’t have the legal purview over such transactions under the Hospital Transfer Act.

"The proposed transaction would drastically change the fundamental character of Exempla Healthcare," the complaint states, according to the Post.

As reported earlier, doctors at Exempla are upset that the hospital will be sold to a Catholic medical facility that does not allow abortions.

Physicians there tried to persuade Suthers to void the sale but he announced in a statement last month that the transaction can proceed.

Suthers said he found no "material change in the charitable purposes" of the hospitals once the sale proceeds so he has "no basis to challenge the transfer."

The decision does not affect a lawsuit that the Boulder Daily Camera newspaper says was filed in Boulder County District Court in December challenging the sale. The lawsuit says the sale would be illegal if abortions (and more legitimate medical services) are curtailed.

Previously, Dr. Carla Murphy, president of the Exempla Lutheran medical staff, told the Denver Post that doctors are upset that a community hospital supposedly will no longer serve the community by not doing abortions.

"For more than a hundred years, Lutheran has served the entire community," Murphy said. "What might be appropriate for a Catholic hospital serving a predominantly Catholic population is not appropriate for a community hospital."

She claimed several doctors would leave the hospital if the sale is finalized.

The controversy comes as Planned Parenthood has upset pro-life advocates in Colorado by engaging in a secret process to build a new abortion center in Denver.

Planned Parenthood purchased the land it’s using to build the new abortion center from United Airlines.

During the approval process for starting the building project, Iowa-based contractor Weitz Company listed United as the owner of the property to hide Planned Parenthood’s ownership of the land.

Planned Parenthood set up a front group called Fuller 38 to set up all of the operations.