Is a Catholic Hospital in Wisconsin Employing an Abortion Practitioner?

State   |   Rebecca Downs   |   Jul 11, 2014   |   6:10PM   |   Madison, WI

There has been an interesting situation as of late at the Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare in La Crosse Wisconsin, according to a local news outlet, La Crosse Tribune.

The hospital is co-sponsored with the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. Thus, as an institution which bears at least part of Catholic sponsorship, one should expect the hospital to run according to Catholic teachings and nothing short of this.

mayoHowever, there is a possible problem at hand, which local Bishop William Callahan has deemed as “scandalous.” The hospital has a relationship with a Dr. Carl Rose, from Mayo in Rochester, Minnesota. According to couple Leif and Karen Arvidson, who have been leading pickets outside the hospital, Rose advised them to have an abortion in 2012. Rose has been working on advising couples facing high-risk pregnancies at Mayo, and the Arvidsons, as well as other pro-lifers are concerned that a Catholic hospital would be employing such a provider with views so contrary to Catholic teaching, especially when women seeking his care are not even aware of his possible involvement in abortions.

A website to educate others and call attention to this situation at the hospital, Expose Mayo, has been created.

While the La Crosse Tribune mentions that “[n]either Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare nor Mayo Clinic have unambiguously said whether Rose performs abortions[,]” a blog post from The Badger Catholic includes an excerpt from Karen Arvidson relating her personal experience with Rose. Because of the bad care she felt she received from him, she suspected he may have performed abortions, and after calling Mayo Clinic in Rochester, she got the receptionist to admit that Rose would perform abortions up to 20 weeks, 6 days.

Statements from the hospital and the diocese claim that the hospital runs and will continue to run according to Catholic teachings, which forbids abortions, as well as referrals or counseling. While this would certainly be rightfully consistent for a Catholic hospital, the association with Rose, a likely abortionist, is still problematic.

Those like the Arvdisons want the hospital to completely sever ties with Rose. As a religious institution, it would make sense that the hospital would employ only those who uphold such a fundamental teaching as the right to life for all, and that even those not yet born would be given health care and treated with dignity and respect. This is hardly too much for local residents and patients to expect.

It is also not so surprising that Karen Arvidson would have such a negative experience with Rose if he performs abortions, one who takes away lives instead of saves them. Many abortionists have had shady records, both when it comes to the law and patient safety, and are regarded with a low opinion from other medical professionals. The patients of Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare certainly deserve better.