According to Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, Catholic hospitals that accept federal funds cannot refuse to grant admitting privileges to abortionists.
LifeSiteNews reports that under a new law signed by Gov. Scott Walker (R), abortionists must have admitting privileges within 30 miles of their abortion clinic. Three Catholic hospitals – Columbia-Saint Mary’s, the Hospital Sisters’ Health System, and Wheaton Franciscan Health-care – declared that, due to the doctrine of their faith, they would not grant privileges to abortionists.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice, however, asserts that according to U.S. law, any facility that receives federal funds would lose that funding if it refused to allow abortionists to admit victims of botched procedures who required transfer from the abortion clinic to the hospital.
LifeSiteNews indicates that Van Hollen filed a brief last week citing “plans by three Catholic hospital systems in Wisconsin to deny admitting privileges to doctors who perform abortions would ‘be in active violation of federal law’…”
Federal law “provides that hospitals accepting federal funds may not discriminate against a physician because that physician has participated in or refused to participate in abortions,” Wisconsin’s DOJ wrote.
U.S. District Judge William Conley, an Obama appointee, has granted a preliminary injunction against the new state law until November on the grounds that it provided “substantial likelihood” of causing “irreparable harm” to women by closing abortion facilities. The state has filed an appeal of Conley’s injunction with the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The Catholic blog Creative Minority Report writes:
The interesting thing is that the federal law the AG’s decision is based on was written to insure that pro-life doctors weren’t forced to take part in abortions. The law, the Church Amendment, states that hospitals accepting federal funds cannot discriminate against doctors either because they refuse to take part in abortion or participate in abortions.
According to JS Online, at least four Planned Parenthood abortionists are applying for privileges at religiously affiliated hospitals…
So, once again we will likely have Catholics heading to court to avoid being required to participate in our nation’s anti-life culture.
JS Online reports that Wheaton Franciscan’s hospital’s assistant general counsel, Matt Moran, said in a statement:
The medical staff and hospital board have discretion in making decisions on granting privileges and can consider the mission, values and operational needs of the organization. Requiring certain professional, ethical and character qualifications is recognized by the courts as valid and related to the operation of the hospital.
However, Gretchen Borchelt, senior counsel and director of state reproductive health policy at the National Women’s Law Center, reportedly said she is not aware of any case law that would support refusing privileges to a doctor who has performed an abortion when neither the hospital nor its personnel would be required to participate in the procedure.
Borchelt added that in other states that have recently passed hospital privilege requirements for abortionists hospitals with religious affiliations have denied the doctors’ applications by citing their failure to meet other standards, such as admitting a certain number of patients per year.