When There's a Heartbeat: Miscarriage Management in Catholic-Owned Hospitals

Freedman, Lori R.; Landy, Uta; Steinauer, Jody
October 2008
American Journal of Public Health;Oct2008, Vol. 98 Issue 10, p1774
Academic Journal
As Catholic-owned hospitals merge with or take over other facilities, they impose restrictions on reproductive health services, including abortion and contraceptive services. Our interviews with US obstetrician — gynecologists working in Catholic-owned hospitals revealed that they are also restricted in managing miscarriages. Catholic-owned hospital ethics committees denied approval of uterine evacuation while fetal heart tones were still present, forcing physicians to delay care or transport miscarrying patients to non — Catholic-owned facilities. Some physicians intentionally violated protocol because they felt patient safety was compromised. Although Catholic doctrine officially deems abortion permissible to preserve the life of the woman, Catholic-owned hospital ethics committees differ in their interpretation of how much health risk constitutes a threat to a woman's life and therefore how much risk must be present before they approve the intervention. (Am J Public Health. 2008;98: 1774-1778. doi:10.2105/AJPH. 2007.126730)


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