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ACLU demands Catholic hospitals be 'punished' for refusing abortions

It urges a major crackdown, but refuses to say whether it sees the fetus as a human being

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is continuing its efforts to force Catholic hospitals to conduct abortions and engage in other medical procedures banned by the American bishops’ Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Healthcare Services (ERD).

On Thursday, the group published a report in partnership with MergerWatch — a group dedicated to eliminating religious objections to morally problematic medical practices in the health care industry — titled Health Care Denied. The subtitle made the charge explicit: “Patients and Physicians Speak Out About Catholic Hospitals and the Threat to Women’s Lives.”

 The ACLU’s Charges

Noting that “One in six hospital beds in this country is now in a facility that abides by Catholic restrictions on care,” the report claims these Catholic hospitals deny women necessary care and provides stories of women who claim the ERD put their health at risk.

“When a pregnant woman seeks medical care at a hospital, she should be able to trust that decisions about her treatment will be based on medicine, not religious policies,” said ACLU Deputy Legal Director Louise Melling in a statement e-mailed to reporters. “Distressingly, in an increasing number of hospitals across this country, that is not the reality.  We all have a right to our religious beliefs — but that does not include the right to impose those beliefs on others, particularly when that means closing the door on patients seeking medical care. ”

The report makes three recommendations, according to an ACLU press release. It pushes the federal government to state that “all hospitals, regardless of religious affiliation, are required by federal law to provide emergency reproductive health care,” it demands that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services investigate and punish Catholic hospitals for alleged violations “of federal laws requiring emergency care,” and says “a change in public policies” are needed to expand access to abortion, contraception, tubal ligations and other practices the ERD ban.

This article continues at [Stream] ACLU Continues Attacks on Catholic Hospitals in New Report

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