University Health System Kicks Out Catholic Hospitals, Doctors Because They Won’t Kill Babies in Abortions

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jul 28, 2021   |   11:17AM   |   Sacramento, California

The University of California Board of Regents voted in June to end its affiliations with Catholic medical providers and other pro-life medical groups, despite warnings that the change could cut off healthcare to 35,000 people.

The University of California is taxpayer funded. Its UC Health program runs healthcare facilities and hospitals across the state in partnership with several Catholic medical groups.

According to The College Fix, the board voted in June not to renew agreements with Catholic and other medical providers that refuse to provide elective abortions and other ethically troubling services. It also banned UC Health from entering future agreements with these healthcare providers; the decision will take effect in 2023.

Despite estimates that 35,000 people, including many poor Californians, could lose access to essential health care, the board voted almost unanimously in favor of the motion, the report states.

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Here’s more from the report:

Regent Janet Reilly offered one solution, asking “Why don’t we swap out” partnerships with restrictions for facilities that “don’t have these restrictions.”

[Regent John] Perez said “that is an unresolved question,” and indicated there is no plan to account for the 35,000 who would be left without care.

Perez said UC Health should only be affiliated with groups that provide medical care in a “culturally appropriate and trans-inclusive manner.”

But Students for Life spokesperson Lauren Enriquez told The Fix that the regents’ decision is close-minded and discriminatory.

“The choice to caricature Catholic healthcare as ‘discriminatory’ for refusing to violently kill babies and the utter lack of willingness to even tolerate this Catholic stance exposes the truly close-minded, discriminatory attitude of the UC Board of Regents,” she said.

Separately, the University of California Board of Regents also has been facing criticism for ignoring the grotesque practice of harvesting aborted babies’ genitalia and other organs at the UC San Francisco. Advocates with Pro-Life San Francisco confronted the board again this month to demand an investigation into the practice as well as the university’s admittance that it has “no protocol for determining the viability of abortion survivors, or for providing care to them.”

Similar legislation to prohibit UC Health from working with pro-life medical groups is being considered in the California legislature.

In June, state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, introduced a bill to ban UC Health from entering contracts with health care providers that refuse to abort unborn babies or help people kill themselves in assisted suicides, among other things.

State medical leaders are warning that the change would harm tens of thousands of low-income Californians who rely on UC Health for medical care.

The legislation would “devastate the Medi-Cal safety net, which is a lifeline for our most vulnerable residents” and “end partnerships that save lives,” said Shelly Schlenker, of CommonSpirit Health. “Under SB 379, no one wins and everyone loses.”

UC Health executive vice president Dr. Carrie Byington also criticized the legislation, saying it would negatively affect “low-income and rural communities and people of color,” according to the report. Without the partnerships, Byington said health disparities would be exacerbated.

“We cannot abandon the tens of thousands of patients and families in 77 locations with non-federal restrictions across the state whose lives depend on the high-quality care UC provides,” Byington said.

The California Hospital Association opposes the bill, but leading abortion advocacy groups support it, including NARAL Pro-Choice California, Equality California and the American Civil Liberties Union of California, according to a press release from Wiener’s office.

Wiener argued that the “harmful non-clinic restrictions” on abortion, assisted suicide and other procedures limit services to patients.