Our local hospitals (Skagit Valley Hospital in Mount Vernon, Island Hospital in Anacortes, and Cascade Valley Hospital in Arlington) and their related clinics are in the process of choosing a partnership with a larger healthcare system. They have identified five hospital systems as potential partners, three of which are non-sectarian and two of which are owned and operated by the Catholic Church.
Catholic hospitals and associated medical clinics are required by the church hierarchy to observe a set of rules called the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Service. These directives prohibit many types of medical procedures:
● Contraception, including The Pill, IUDs and emergency contraception
● Sterilization procedures such as vasectomies and tubal ligations
● Fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization, artificial insemination, and surrogacy
● Abortion, including in the case of extrauterine (ectopic) pregnancies, rape, or incest;
● Participation in the Death with Dignity Act (DWDA) provisions;
● Participation in any other end-of-life Advanced Directives that the bishops deem to violate the moral teachings of the Catholic Church.
If our three hospitals choose a partnership with a Catholic healthcare provider, then all Western Washington hospitals from the Canadian border to King County will be bound by the bishops’ Directives and the above-listed medical procedures will be unavailable in that vast area.
The signer attests that:
We the People, being residents of Skagit and Snohomish Counties, and of adjoining counties that use or may need to use the services of your hospitals, do hereby respectfully urge you, our duly elected representatives, to fulfill your fiduciary responsibility to ensure inclusive healthcare by requiring that that the following provisions are included in any future partnership agreement with an outside hospital entity:
1. Medical services, including reproductive services and end-of-life services, will not be restricted by religious doctrine, including the bishops’ Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Healthcare Service
2. Patients will have access to all medically appropriate and scientifically proven treatment modalities.
3. All patients’ statutory and Constitutional rights will be respected and protected.
4. The partner hospital must agree that it will abide by the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) and will not invoke any religious exemption.
More information on People For Healthcare Freedom can be found at: http://healthcare-freedom.net
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