Abington Health, a non-religiously-affiliated hospital in southeastern Pennsylvania, recently announced plans to merge with Holy Redeemer Health System, a Catholic institution.
As a result of the merger, Abington Health will desist performing abortions out of respect for Holy Redeemer’s pro-life convictions. Abington Health President and CEO Larry Merlis said, “Abington Health will continue to provide a full-range of services of women’s health and reproductive services except for abortions.”
“We wanted assure that we would be able to provide assurances that Holy Redeemer would continue to fully comply with ethical and religious directives — and all the Catholic entities of our new organization would,” said Merlis. “But at Abington we would want to assure that we were also providing that full range of services — we have tremendous women’s health services between both organizations and reproductive health services. But we, moving forward, would no longer do abortions at Abington.”
Holy Redeemer’s website highlights “Our Values” on its homepage. The first value listed reads, “Respect- We revere all life as sacred and value each person as one created by God.” It later mentions, “Stewardship- We care for all of creation, human and material, that has been entrusted to us by God.”
The move has enraged the abortion industry in Pennsylvania. “Women seeking abortion in Pennsylvania already have limited options. It’s unfortunate that a longstanding provider of this critically needed care has chosen to succumb to pressure and is discontinuing these services,” said Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania President and CEO Dayle Steinberg.
According to the latest data available from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, 36,778 abortions were performed in 2010. Of those abortions, 21,612 were performed in the southeast region of the Commonwealth. These figures hardly indicate abortion is “limited” in the area as the President of Planned Parenthood of Southeastern PA suggests. The numbers underscore the need to reduce the number of abortions in the region. Steinberg also omits the fact that women in Pennsylvania benefit from the pregnancy services offered by Real Alternatives, a network of pregnancy resource centers, which receive partial state funding.
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“This is the first of many steps toward creating a new parent organization that will bring opportunities for quality enhancements and greater efficiencies,” said Merlis, who will become the new CEO of the new combined health system.