A Catholic hospital’s denial to a patient of a potentially life-saving procedure indicates what many experts have been saying for years: that religious control of medical care represents a burgeoning public health crisis.

Weeks after learning she would give birth to her third child, doctors told Jessica Mann that having her fallopian tubes tied at the time of her cesarean section delivery, scheduled for later this month, would prevent the risk of a future pregnancy’s exacerbating her life-threatening brain tumor. But the hospital, Genesys Regional Medical Center in Grand Blanc, Mich., refused to perform the procedure on religious grounds.

The Guardian reports:

Genesys’s denial stems from a religious directive crafted by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, which governs every Catholic-sponsored hospital in the nation.

The set of rules, called the Ethical and Religious Directives, prohibits the facilities from performing procedures like tubal ligations.

“As a Catholic healthcare system, we follow the ethical and religious directives of the church,” the hospital said in a statement to the Guardian. “Beyond that, we can’t comment on this patient’s particular case.” Ascension Health, the largest Catholic and nonprofit health system in the US, did not respond to a request for comment.

… The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan intervened last month and asked Genesys twice to reconsider. The hospital, however, remained defiant, citing its adherence to the religious directives.

On Wednesday, the ACLU filed a complaint on behalf of Mann with the Michigan department of licensing and regulatory affairs, requesting an investigation of the situation. The department has the authority to revoke the hospital’s license, or impose an administrative fine.

Read more here.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.


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