Despite Pope Francis’s recent comments that the Catholic Church is unnecessarily obsessed with issues such as abortion rather than worshipping God, the pontiff remained firm that the institution still values and supports life. These pro-life sentiments have been expressed by Catholic institutions for a long time now, and one Catholic hospital in Colorado is taking it to the extreme, according to Colorado’s ACLU.
Mercy Regional Medical Center, a Catholic hospital located in Durango, Colorado, has prohibited its doctors from discussing the idea of abortion with its patients, even if the lives of those patients are threatened by the pregnancy, the ACLU claimed in a formal, written complaint to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Mark Silverstein, ACLU Colorado’s Legal Director, explained that the hospital’s religious ethics are interfering with the standard of medical practice when it comes to discussing abortions.
“When the medical standard of care would recommend termination, the hospital is inappropriately forcing staff physicians to choose between obeying their employer or following their professional medical and ethical obligations to their patients. Moreover, following the hospital’s directive deprives patients of the full information they need to make informed decisions about their medical care,” Silverstein said.
The specific case that caught the ACLU’s attention involves Mercy cardiologist Dr. Michael Demos, who discussed the option of abortion with his patient, who had a family history of Marfan syndrome. When the woman went on to have a healthy baby, she complained to the hospital that the doctor had wrongly encouraged her to end her pregnancy, The Contributor reports. According to the ACLU complaint, Demos was subsequently told that he was “not permitted to recommend an abortion, nor is he permitted to even discuss the possibility of terminating a pregnancy with a Mercy Regional patient, regardless of the circumstances.”
State health officials have not yet responded to the ACLU complaint, which calls for an investigation into the hospital on the basis that it is forcing its employees to adhere to its religious belief rather than acting of their usual medical accord.