Letter: Liberty at stake in hospitals issue



I found Aaron Corvin’s March 24 story, “Prescription for conflict,” on the American Civil Liberties Union and Catholic hospitals excellent reporting. I am a member of the ACLU and support its challenge to policies in Catholic-affiliated hospitals in our state.

Through merger and consolidation, ever more Washington hospitals are becoming Catholic-affiliated and with that affiliation comes Catholic-doctrine-framed medical policies; reproductive care and end-of-life care policies are noteworthy in this respect.

By applying religious doctrine, Catholic hospitals restrict life choices legally available to patients. Many patients do not share Catholic religious philosophy, but often the patients have little or no choice where they receive hospital care. The affiliated hospitals are public in overwhelming respects, licensed by the state and receiving substantial, in many instances majority, funding from public sources.

It is wrong for a hospital with a broad public mission to deny a patient medical care that is legal and within its capacity to offer, based on religious doctrine. The medical care should be decided by the medical professional, the patient and his or her family. The constitutional principal of “freedom of religion” includes freedom from religion. Individual liberty is at stake here.

Ronald Morrison