How Your Catholic Hospital is Restricting Your Care


It’s important to know if your hospital has a religious affiliation because it can possibly impact the care you receive. Catholic hospitals make up a huge swath of the U.S. healthcare system; in fact, 1 in 6 acute-care hospital beds are located in a Catholic health facility. Amy Littlefield, an investigative reporter with Rewire.News, sits down with us to talk about the ways Catholic hospitals work to restrict reproductive healthcare.

Catholic health systems generally follow rules written by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and these rules ban abortion care (and often leads to mis-managed miscarriage care), contraception, fertility treatments, sterilization procedures, and gender-affirming surgery and treatment for trans patients. Patients often don’t know they requesting care from a Catholic hospital, and are confused when they are denied the services they seek. 1 in 6 women named Catholic hospitals as their go-to for reproductive health care, but more than 30% of those women didn’t know that their hospital was Catholic.

Catholic hospitals have forced women to endure labor and refused termination when their lives were in danger, denied transgender folks surgery, refused to remove IUDs in possibly life-threatening situations, and cajoled patients into burying the remains of their fetuses.

Among those that will be the most impact by the rules of Catholic hospitals are those that are already economically marginalized, people of color, women, people seeking reproductive health care, Medicaid patients, and transgender patients.

If you want to make sure the hospitals in your area aren’t Catholic, you can find that information on the Catholic Health Association Directory, or you can visit the hospital’s website and look at the hospital’s mission statement and history. Logos and names can be a clue, but not every Catholic hospital has a religiously-affiliated sounding name. Merger Watch often publishes reports that names larger Catholic health systems. You can also ask your provider.

Photo by Marcelo Leal on Unsplash

Links from this episode

Amy Littlefield with Rewire.News
Rewire.News on Twitter
Rewire.News on Facebook
Bearing Faith report

Take Action!