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Below The Radar: Religious Refusals to Treat Pregnancy Complications Put Women in Danger

A serious but little known problem is putting women’s health and lives at risk: because of their religious beliefs, certain health care providers do not give appropriate treatment to women experiencing serious pregnancy complications. A recent study by Ibis Reproductive Health entitled “Assessing hospital polices & practices regarding ectopic pregnancy & miscarriage management” adds to the growing evidence that the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services have been applied to deny women experiencing both ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages the treatment and information to which they are legally entitled.

The Directives govern Catholic-affiliated hospitals and provide guidance on a range of reproductive health services including surgical sterilization, family planning, infertility treatment and abortion. These are cases in which doctors have determined that there is no medical intervention possible that would allow the patient to continue her pregnancy, and delaying care would only endanger the patient’s health or life.

Highlights

Blog Post | Catholic Hospitals' Treatment of Pregnancy Complications: Practices That Endanger Women's Lives Should Not be Below the Radar

January 27, 2011

If you have any social life whatsoever, eventually you will find yourself talking about what you do for a living.  My day job is making sure that women’s access to reproductive health care isn’t compromised by the religious beliefs of their hospitals and health care providers. If you don’t think this is great cocktail party fodder, you have different friends than I do.

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media mention | Tussling Over Jesus

January 27, 2011

The National Women’s Law Center has just issued a report quoting doctors at Catholic-affiliated hospitals as saying that sometimes they are forced by church doctrine to provide substandard care to women with miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies in ways that can leave the women infertile or even endanger their lives.

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media mention | Religious hospitals' restrictions sparking conflicts, scrutiny

January 20, 2011

"The fact that this happens is simply outrageous and inexcusable," said Jill Morrison of the National Women's Law Center, which is releasing a 30-page report documenting the impact of the directives through interviews with 25 physicians and administrators at 16 hospitals in 10 states.

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Reports & Toolkits

January 20, 2011

This national qualitative study looks at how ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages are managed in Catholic hospital settings.

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January 20, 2011

This report explores how religious refusals can impact the care women receive when they are suffering serious pregnancy complications.

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December 22, 2010

Are you getting the care you need? More and more often, the moral and religious beliefs of certain health care providers are limiting the public's access to health care. Many consumers are unaware that these providers refuse to perform certain services or give information that patients want, even when the law requires that they do so. Consumers do not find out about limits on services until they are denied care. By then it is often too late to do anything about it. This brochure arms consumers with the information they need before they make health care decisions.

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Fact Sheets

January 20, 2011

This fact sheet corresponds with our Below the Radar: Health Care Providers' Relgiious Refusals Can Endanger Pregnant Women's Lives and Health.

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Legal Briefs & Testimony

January 20, 2011

This is a complaint that the National Women's Law Center filed in January 2011 with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) urging CMS to investigate how institutional and individual health care providers are violating their obligations under the Medicare Conditions of Participation, and endangering the health and lives of patients.

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