A woman is turned away after being told her health insurance is only affiliated with Catholic hospitals.
When a Chicago woman showed up at her doctor’s office with bleeding from a dislodged IUD, she was turned away because the practice was affiliated with the Catholic Hospital – which opposes birth control.
Melanie Jones slipped in her bathroom, dislodging her IUD and causing internal bleeding in her uterus. Her doctor, while confirming the IUD was in fact dislodged and needed to be removed, informed Ms. Jones that due to Catholic restrictions imposed by Mercy Hospital and Medical Center, they would be unable to remove it themselves.
“I think my first feeling was shock” Jones stated in an interview with Rewire, “I thought that eventually, they were going to recognize that my health was the top priority”. Jones wasn’t even aware her healthcare network, Blue Cross Blue Shield, was Catholic.
Not only could Jones’ doctor and Mercy Hospital not help her, but no one in Jones’ health insurance network could remove the IUD either. ALL of the hospitals in Ms. Jones’ network answered to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that were opposed to all birth control and abortion services.
The doctor informed Ms. Jones that “switching networks would take her a month, and that she should feel fortunate because sometimes switching networks takes up to 6 months,” the ACLU of Illinois wrote in a couple complaints filed this June.
DID YOU KNOW HOW MANY HOSPITALS ARE ACTUALLY RELIGIOUSLY AFFILIATED?
Since the early 2000s, one in every six hospitals is affiliated with the Catholic church and has grown by 22%. Even women who have been miscarrying, a completely common, unintentional yet possibly fatal happenstance, have been turned away by Catholic-affiliated hospitals.
Lori Chaiten, Director of the Women’s Reproductive Rights Project at ACLU in Illinois, states that “It’s really important that the public understand that this is going on and it is going on in a widespread fashion so that people can take whatever steps they need to do to protect themselves.”
Ms. Jones was able to change her insurance company and get the IUD removed, even though she needed to wait a full month. Otherwise, a trip to the emergency room for the removal would have cost for over $1,000.
HOW MANY HOSPITALS ARE CATHOLIC?
In a tragic study done by ACLU, there are now 5 states (Alaska, Iowa, Washington, Wisconsin and South Dakota) where more than 40% of beds in hospitals are under Catholic health care restrictions.
In another 5 states (Nebraska, Colorado, Missouri, Oregon and Kentucky), between 30 and 39 percent of the care beds are in facilities that are Catholic-owned or affiliated.
In Washington State, 40% of all hospitals are Catholic affiliated. In entire regions, there is NO care facility that is NOT affiliated with Catholic rules.
The atrocities continue – with a long list of incidents of women being turned away during life-threatening, time-sensitive issues to hospitals three hours away with no transportation and no health insurance. This can be further explored in the ACLU report.
As the ACLU-MergerWatch report concludes, referring to the rise of Catholic-associated churches in the United States, “religious freedom in America means that we all have a right to our religious beliefs. But it does not give us the right to use our religion to discriminate against and impose those beliefs on others who do not share them—especially when doing so comes at the expense of women’s health and lives.”
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