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A serious but little known problem is putting women’s health and lives at risk: because of their religious beliefs, certain health care providers do not give appropriate treatment to women experiencing serious pregnancy complications. A recent study by Ibis Reproductive Health entitled “Assessing hospital polices & practices regarding ectopic pregnancy & miscarriage management” adds to the growing evidence that the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services have been applied to deny women experiencing both ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages the treatment and information to which they are legally entitled.

The Directives govern Catholic-affiliated hospitals and provide guidance on a range of reproductive health services including surgical sterilization, family planning, infertility treatment and abortion. These are cases in which doctors have determined that there is no medical intervention possible that would allow the patient to continue her pregnancy, and delaying care would only endanger the patient’s health or life.

Published On: January 20, 2011Associated Issues: Health Care & Reproductive RightsReligious Refusals
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