Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Spiting the Face
The hospital closest to my part of Near Philadelphia astonished the community a week or so ago by announcing that it -- a secular institution of high regard -- was negotiating a merger with the second closest hospital, one with Roman Catholic ties. As a result of this proposed merger, the secular hospital was agreeing not to perform abortions in either facility. And this has caused a brouhaha of epic proportions Near Philadelphia.
The secular hospital is fiscally sound, has a state of the art coronary care facility, an affiliation with the leading children's hospital in the area, a powerful oncology unit, and is almost always undergoing a new building project. In short, it is a success story. The Roman Catholic hospital, on the other hand, appears to be in financial difficulty. So I get it that the bigger, more stable institution might want to absorb the other one. Especially since the Roman Catholic hospital is well known for its home care division, a perceived weakness of the larger hospital. But to make such a huge concession baffled me; I believe there is something that is unrevealed.
People are outraged. People are vocal. The plan has somehow been perceived as anti-Semitic. There are those who believe that this is the first step in a series of affronts against women, that surely it is just a matter of time until contraceptive pills, tubal ligations and God knows what else will be denied them. Others are railing out that end of life issues will become cloudy and we'll all be back in the days of Karen Ann Quinlan.We are hearing prophecies of slippery slopes and of camels with their noses under the tent. At least one person I know has declared that she will not go back to this hospital, that she will go elsewhere for all of her health care needs.
As difficult as it often is for me to take a firm stand on an issue, I know precisely where I am on this one. I believe that abortion is never an easy decision, that most people do not use abortion "as a means of birth control," and that those who make this difficult choice do so out of what they have come to understand as necessity. I have never been in a situation of needing to make this decision. But I remember the days of back alley abortions, where women's lives were put in danger -- and often lost -- because the procedure was illegal. I firmly support a woman's right to choose.
I'm not at all happy with the news of a week or so ago. And if the secular hospital doesn't reverse itself, I'll write a letter to them, indicating my disappointment.
And I'll continue to use their facilities and be thankful that I can. This is the hospital where I worked as a candy striper when I was in high school, where my mother found a job after my father's death, where I received fine care on numerous occasions, where my kids were stitched back together and had their bones set, where I first worked as a hospital chaplain.
This is the hospital that saved my husband's life.
Posted by Nancy Stevens on Wednesday, July 11, 2012