I'm responding to two letters in the Columbian, "The choice is yours for hospitals" (Eddie Connor, April 2) and "We have health care choices" (Virginia Bruce, April 4). There are a few problems with their thinking. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt on the first; they probably don't know all the facts.
PeaceHealth Southwest is a Catholic institution that enjoys nonprofit status; the hospital pays no taxes on its profits. To the extent that its profits are tax exempt, it is a publicly supported institution. At the same time, officials there want to operate not on the basis of the medical needs of the public that supports them but on the basis of Catholic doctrine: no reproductive or end-of-life services. In other words, they want it both ways. Tax dollars are not used to support religious ministries.
Second, the idea that both Catholic and secular hospitals be available without prejudice to Catholics and only secular hospitals be open for all services to non-Catholic or secular persons is divisive and discriminatory, an idea that only a religious fanatic can love.
Third, the word "catholic" means inclusive, open to all. These fanatics should try to live up to that name.