Without reason or notice, Bishops are quietly working to ban Catholic and affiliated hospitals from performing tubal ligations.
Last month, seemingly without notice or reason, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops changed its policy and banned Genesys Health System, a Catholic medical center in Michigan, from performing tubal ligations, the second most common form of birth control for women in their 30s and 40s in America. Upon a woman's request, immediately after she had given birth, doctors would "tie her tubes" to prevent future pregnancies. 700,000 are performed annually across the country.
The Bishops are in the process of tightening the rules that govern Catholic run hospitals, including secular hospitals that are associated with Catholic hospitals. ProPublica reports that what happened at Genesys "is almost certainly a sign of things to come."
Sarah Ward Prager, an associate professor in obstetrics and gynecology and director of family planning at the University of Washington Medical School told ProPublica that making a woman who has just given birth or had a C-section undergo a second surgery carries "unnecessary risk."
"It is simply unethical to say, 'I'm going to make you come back to a different hospital to have another surgery in six weeks because the bishop says I can't tie your tubes right now.'"
Yet, in essence, that's what the Catholic Bishops, who control policy in Catholic hospitals in "thousands of communities" across the nation, are forcing women to do. In fact, the Catholic Church now controls a vast number of hospitals. "Ten of the 25 largest health systems in the nation â€” and four of the five largest nonprofit networks â€”are now Catholic-sponsored," ProPublica reports.
Debra Stulberg, an assistant professor in family medicine at the University of Chicago says that doctors "who receive their training in Catholic institutions are not getting trained in this basic procedure" either. "You are sending them out to provide obstetric and gynecological care without a full set of tools in their toolbox."
A new CDC report finds that tubal ligation is most popular among women who have received no college degree who are between the ages of 22-44, Hispanic and Black women aged 15-44, and all women aged 35-44.
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