Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Pulpit before Brains

Saskatchewan public institutions, always the bastion of progressive thought, are back in the news. Women are no longer able to get tubal ligations at Catholic-run St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Humboldt, Saskatchewan.

The sterilization procedure had been banned at the hospital since the end of June, following a decision by the hospital board. The ban was imposed because the hospital board felt it needed to follow the Catholic health ethics guide more closely. The Catholic Church is opposed to sterilizations.

The Government of Saskatchewan better put an end to this non-sense quick. Taxpayer’s dollars support public healthcare for all citizens, regardless of religious affliation. If Catholic's want to enforce their rules, they should pony up and build their own hospital. Until then, leave the dogma in the aisles.

I figured you'd get a kick out of this one. It has sparked some great comments on "Bugs Day" the hour of rage.

Considering that the hospital is owned by the Saskatchewan Catholic Health Corporation, which operates under the banner of he Catholic Health Association of Canada, an organization that provides funding which keeps the doors of St Elizabeth's Hospital open (not to mention having built the facility in the first place), I think they have every right to "set the rules" according to their "dogma".

If this is a problem, the Saskatchewan government can always pony up and build their own hospital.

You are half-right and I am half-wrong. The Catholics built the hospital - although a new one is coming soon.

The Government of Saskatchewan pays to operate the facility similar to St.Paul's in Saskatoon.

If the Catholic's want to set the rules, they need to pay all the capital and operating costs.
I don't see a problem with applying ethical standards to a facility which is operated by--and fundraised on behalf of--Catholics. Tubal ligations are hardly a life-saving emergency procedure which can't be performed at another facility at taxpayers' expense.

Again, as the government does not pay all the operating costs themselves, then neither should they not be the sole generator of ethical policy.
(please excuse the grammar above)
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
St. Elizabeth's Hospital is affiliated with the Saskatoon Health Region and is funded by Saskatchewan taxpayers to the tune of $8.3 million a year.
As in any news story, one never gets the whole picture. Is anything ever cut and dried, ever black or white, ever just yes or no?
The fact is, a tubal-ligation procedure can be allowed in a Catholic setting, for the total health and well being of the patient and/or where delay or transfer to another health care facility that would constitute a threat to the life or health of the patient.
During an audit of policies and procedures at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Humboldt, it was discovered that doctors were not complying with the hospital's existing tubal-ligation policy. That policy called that a simple application be made for tubal-ligations in light of the church's beliefs on sterilization. (This simple process has replaced an earlier policy in which an ethics committee reviewed requests for the procedure.Hey, they are starting to get it!) Each doctor is aware of this provision and others as stated in contracts when hired to practice medicine in Catholic hospitals.
Should there have been a problem with one of these tubal-ligation operations that was not authorized, the Board could have been held liable. In light of the non-compliance of certain doctors, and after discussion and legal counsel, the board decided to ban the procedure entirely, thus eliminating the problem of doctors not following proper procedure.
Regarding the funding of the hospital, the hospital receives funding from the provincial government, but also from Catholic (and non-Catholic for that matter) associations and donors who believe in the good work of the hospital. St. Elizabeth's is not owned by the province, nor is the land it sits on.
So here we go again...the dilema is on the one hand, people are upset that they can’t get services they think they have every right to when they go to a Catholic hospital. I, on the other hand, don’t appreciate my tax dollars being used to fund abortions in a public hospital. There is not a damn thing I can do about it.
When, in the 1960s, universal health care began to be provided by government, Catholic and other faith-based health care providers were assured that their commitment to providing health care would be respected and that they could continue to provide these services in accordance with their religious values and consciences.
Faith-based health care institutions exercise a community right, generated by the Constitution, based on freedom of religion and conscience – they cannot be forced to do something contrary to their teachings or their conscience. I for one, take some comfort in knowing that faith-based hospitals exist, and I have a choice as to where I would want to seek medical attention. Doctors have the choice of where they want to practice. We all have our choices to make, and aren’t we lucky that we do?
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