Catholic Hospital to Lease Public Land in Maryland

Last week, the Maryland Board of Public Works has agreed to lease public land in Montgomery County to Holy Cross Hospital, a Roman Catholic Hospital. The hospital will likely not offer a full range of reproductive health services, including access to birth control or abortion services.

Jodi Finkelstein, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland, stated, “We’re disappointed. We would have liked to have seen a different outcome.”

In January, a coalition of pro-reproductive rights groups, including the National Organization for Women (NOW), NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland, Catholics for Choice and Americans United for Separation of Church and State, joined to encourage the Maryland Health Care Commission to reject Holy Cross Hospital’s proposal. The coalition objected to the construction of a hospital with religiously sanctioned restrictions on publicly owned land.

The groups expressed concern that Catholic hospitals’ refusal to provide certain reproductive health services, such as tubal ligations, surgical sterilization, and abortions even in life-threatening situations, could restrict women’s and teens’ access to medically necessary services.

Media Resources: National Partnership for Women and Families 6/20/11; Baltimore Sun 5/16/11; NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland 6/14/11; Feminist Daily Newswire 6/20/11

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