June 22nd, 2012 by Jessica
The planned merger of St. Mary’s Hospital and Waterbury Hospital has sparked yet another ember in the fabricated “War on Women.” Among the merger terms is that Waterbury Hospital will comply with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic health care, which St. Mary’s adheres to. The combination of St. Mary’s and Waterbury Hospital is vital to Waterbury, which no longer has the population to sustain two hospitals.
Texas-based for-profit hospital group LHP early on formulated an agreement with St. Mary’s. Waterbury Hospital sought to join the deal afterwards, noting the significance of the union. The new hospital entity will build a $400 million, 800,000 square-foot state-of-the-art healthcare facility. The new facility will be a for-profit, tax-paying private entity that complies with Catholic principles.
The agreement to adhere to Catholic ethics as fashioned with St. Mary’s, prohibits tubal ligations, vasectomies, abortions, and some end-of life procedures. The creation of the new hospital has become a flash-point for the so-called “War on Women” and the “destruction of women’s healthcare” arguments have begun to roar.
The Permanent Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW) recently voiced their concerns, arguing, “When a secular hospital and a Catholic hospital merge, several healthcare services for women are put on the chopping block.” This is ironic, given that the merger between these two hospitals promotes healthcare and life. Without it, the facilities would soon face catastrophic economic consequences. It seems that groups such as PCSW would rather promote death than life. How “tragic” that the new hospital will not allow its employees to participate in acts that end the most innocent of lives, among others.
Interestingly enough, most women decide to leave their community when obtaining an abortion, according to Dr. Marcia Tajeda, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Waterbury. This past year, seven abortions have been performed as well as 250 tubal ligations out of the 2,400 births between both hospitals (“Hospitals’ Merger Would Ban Women’s Surgery,” Rep-Am).
A practical mindset needs to be considered among those throwing the “War on Women” phrase around. Do we force Waterbury’s hospitals to go bankrupt under the weight of demographic decay or do we embark on a journey toward sustainable healthcare institutions?
Another notable aspect of the PCSW meeting was the presence of Compassion and Choices, a new player in the merger controversy that is now being quoted in the Waterbury press as a reputable source on end-of-life decisions. You may remember Compassion and Choices by its original name: the Hemlock Society. They are happy to opine that they have a problem with the way Catholic hospitals handle the health care directives of a patient if those directives violate Catholic teaching, but they never mention that they are the primary movers of the assisted suicide movement. Given that Connecticut’s courts chose not to legalize assisted suicide, is Compassion and Choices using this merger as a backdoor into our state to push its pro-suicide agenda?
Will hostile outside entities exploit this merger to force Catholic healthcare out of Waterbury? That is the real question: Is the “War on Women” really a disguise for a War on Religion?