Thursday, May 27, 2010

And Here We Go

Not sure how this slipped past me the first time, but, um, pardon me; are you one of the people who thinks physician and pharmacist conscience clauses aren't a big deal because you can just go to some other pharmacy, some other hospital? Yeah, sometimes the Catholic Church takes over the only hospital in town, as it did in Sierra Vista, Arizona, and it suddenly becomes a very big deal.

Southern Arizona's Carondelet Health Network is about to join forces with Sierra Vista Regional Health Center.

The two health-care providers will execute an "integrative network agreement" April 17, which will allow them to share resources, officials from both say.

Trustees with Sierra Vista Regional Health Center say one of the major concerns has been a prohibition on sterilization procedures that will occur at the hospital as a result of the agreement. They say the prohibition is part of the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services used by Carondelet, a Catholic, nonprofit network.

And there you have it. Well, maybe it's not all that bad, right?.

On Sunday, the Sierra Vista hospital ran an advertisement in the Sierra Vista Herald that says the only services that will be discontinued are direct sterilization procedures and IUD insertion, except for directly therapeutic purposes.

The hospital will continue to treat ectopic pregnancies and will still use Plan B (the morning-after pill) for rape victims, says the advertisement, which was signed by hospital President and CEO Margaret Hepburn and board of trustees chair Larry Kope.

Abortion for ectopics and Plan B for rape is great, although I'm not sure why I should be turning handsprings for legal procedures and medications remaining accessible to women who need them, but abortion and emergency contraception for people in different circumstances? It's difficult to conclude otherwise that the level of specificity in the hospital's statement is intentionally exclusive. And that's just fabulous news for the women of Sierra Vista who don't have the means or time to drive the hour and a half to Tucson.

It's a two-year agreement. Maybe the economy will improve enough in that time to allow the Sierra Vista hospital to get back on its own feet and go back to operating under a general humanist code of ethics, not one dictated by the Catholic Church./p>

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