I live in rural Northern California, in the city of Redding, and the options of labor and delivery wards here are few and far between. I scheduled my delivery at the only hospital in Redding that has a labor and delivery ward, Mercy Medical Center — the hospital where my doctor has admitting privileges and where I delivered my first child. My first labor came early, and I needed to deliver by Caesarean section. Considering those circumstances, it was incredibly important that I have a plan in place for the delivery of my second child, which is scheduled for next month. Because my husband and I did not want more children, and I would be undergoing my second C-section, my doctor recommended that I get my tubes tied — a common and immediately effective procedure, which would be performed after my delivery.
I discussed the procedure with my husband, and he, too, agreed that this was the best option for us. The procedure would only prolong my time in surgery for a few minutes and would not increase my recovery time after my C-section. Given my particular circumstances, this was without a doubt the best option for me. I filled out the necessary paperwork, and my doctor submitted the request to Mercy Medical Center. However, because the hospital is affiliated with the Catholic hospital system, it originally informed my doctor that he would not be allowed to perform the procedure, citing religious directives written by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. I was shocked to learn that not only was my request denied, but that it was denied by a so-called committee the very same day that it was submitted.
I never thought the hospital where I delivered my first child would deny my doctor’s request to perform a common procedure.
Religious liberty means the right to exercise one’s beliefs, not that a public-facing business should be given a free pass to impose those beliefs on others.
Their directives classify getting your tubes tied as a form of contraception as ‘intrinsically evil.’
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