Fri 2/21: Deadline tonight to write against another side-door incursion of priests into your health care. Two actions!

Action #1 – Write a comment to tell the University of CA to stop collaborating with  entities that discriminate against women and the LGBTQ community.

Last year, we wrote a post alerting people to write comments to stop University of San Francisco Medical Center’s planned merger with Dignity Health, a Catholic hospital chain that uses religious directives to openly discriminate against women and LGBTQ patients.

Your reponse was awesome and UCSF backed out of the deal!

Now, this whole issue is back, and not just for one city.  NARAL Pro-Choice California has notified us that the University of California’s six health systems across the state, which serves nearly two million patients a year, and trains over 14,000 health professionals throughout UC — has affiliations with religiously-affiliated health systems, who use “non-evidenced-based policy restrictions on care” – care defined by those guys in pink skull caps, to refuse essential reproductive health care services such as  LGBTQ+ inclusive care, “End of Life Option” Act, abortion care, miscarriage management, tubal ligation — even medical contraception, that could be required while treating another illness. (UC report, pg. 15)

UC is seeking feedback on maintaining or extracting themselves from this arrangement.

  • Read a short summary and provide feedback here;
  • Get more background on the Working Group on Comprehensive Access here; and
  • Read the full Working Group on Comprehensive Access report here.

Anyone can comment. You don’t need to live in California or have any connection with UC.

Possible comment: My name is _____, I live in [town/city/state]. [If you have an affiliation with the University of California, say what it is.] I’m calling on you to reject religiously imposed limits outlined in this report. The University of California needs to end affiliations that discriminate against women and members of the LGBTQ+ community. 

No one should be denied care because of religious interference. UC is a public healthcare institution and has an obligation to ensure that patients receive appropriate care. You put Californians’ health in real jeopardy by failing to provide this care.

More information:  The UC health system cannot adopt “non-evidence- based restrictions on care” without violating UC policies against discrimination and California constitutional obligations to remain free from sectarian influence in the administration of our affairs.

However, in hospitals which adhere to these “Ethical and Religious Directives” (ERDs), non-physician lay leaders and/or Catholic priests or bishops can meddle with individual patient care decisions, resulting in demeaning experiences for patients, as well as delays or disapprovals of standard of care services that can worsen health and even threaten the life of patients.  You don’t have to be Catholic to suddenly find yourself under the authority of a priest, you just need to be trapped in one of their hospitals.

UC medical professionals working in these institutions must comply with this nonsense as well, causing possible moral injury when forced to watch unneccesary suffering. Patients who fall afoul of the ERD’s are told they must be treated elsewhere, adding humiliation to their pain. (There also may not be a conveniently located “elsewhere“.)

The whole issue of the gradual takeover of discriminatory religious-based hospitals thoughout our healthcare system is addressed in our previous post here.

Action #2 – Call your legislators and ask them to enact anti-trust type legislation preventing religiously-restricted hospitals from becoming the only healthcare option in any region.

Minimum Script: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want Sen./Rep. to know that I’m concerned at the rate that hospitals are being taken over by religious organizations that discriminate against the healthcare needs of women and the LGBTQ community. I want anti-trust-type legislation to prevent these discriminatory and dangerous healthcare groups from being the only available option in any region.

Contact
Rep. Julia Brownley: email(CA-26): DC (202) 225-5811, Oxnard (805) 379-1779, T.O. (805) 379-1779
or Rep. Salud Carbajal: email
(CA-24): DC (202) 225-3601, SB (805) 730-1710 SLO (805) 546-8348
Senator Feinstein:email, DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
and Senator Harris:email,
DC (202) 224-3553, LA (213) 894-5000, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 355-9041, SD (619)
Who is my representative/senator?:https://whoismyrepresentative.com

Reading

  • Letter to Mark Laret, President/CEO of UCSF Health and Chancellor Sam Hawgood, UCSF (ACLU)
  • Report: Health care denied (ACLU)
  • Health care denied at 550 hospitals (Forbes)
  • As Catholic hospitals expand, so do limits on some procedures (NYT)
  • UC’s deal with Catholic hospitals threatens the health of women and LGBTQ Patients (LA Times)
  • Here’s anothe case of a Catholic hospital interfering with patient care. (LA Times)
  • Catholic hospital systems: A growing threat to accesss to reproductive services (php.org)
  • Catholic Health Care in the US (chausa.org)
  • MergerWatch
  • There’s almost no data about what happens when Catholic hospitals deny reproductive care (Rewire.News)
  • Is your hospital Catholic? Many women don’t know (Rewire.News)
  • Miscarriage of Medicine. The growth of Catholic hospitals and the threat to  reproductive health care (ACLU)
  • The growth of Catholic hospitals, by the numbers (ProPublica)
  • Directives – Statement of Values (DignityHealth.org)
  • Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (USCCB.org)
  • 2015 US Transegender Survey (Transsexuality.org)
  • Will ties to a Catholic Hospital system tie doctors’ hands? (Kaiser Health News)

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