All Catholics need to take a serious look at our "Catholic" health care systems. As per health care law expert, Professor Leonard J. Nelson, III, "compliance with the ERDs [The USCCB's Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services] has been uneven when it comes to contraception and sterilization. Typically, obstetrician-gynecologists practicing in Catholic hospitals and physician office buildings owned by Catholic hospitals provide prescriptions for contraceptives to their patients" (p. 53). Professor Nelson goes on to discuss how some Catholic health "systems have entered into arrangements to provide services such as direct sterilizations and abortion referrals....The existence of such arrangements increases the risk of scandal and could embolden those who favor a mandate requiring all hospitals...to provide a full range of [so-called] reproductive services" (p. 102).
There are six Catholic hospitals operating within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia:
- Holy Redeemer
- Mercy Fitzgerald (part of the Mercy Health System, which is part of Catholic Health East)
- Mercy Philadelphia (part of the Mercy Health System, which is part of Catholic Health East)
- Mercy Suburban (part of the Mercy Health System, which is part of Catholic Health East)
- Nazareth (part of the Mercy Health System, which is part of Catholic Health East)
- St. Mary Medical Center (part of Catholic Health East )
As per Professor Nelson, "any argument in favor of exemption from laws requiring a hospital to provide these services may be substantially undermined by the fact that the Catholic hospital is already, in some fashion, involved in either providing those services...or involved in partnerships with entities providing such services" (pp. 132, 137).With regard to Our Savior and our need to speak uncomfortable truths, Elizabeth Scalia recently reminded us: "Being himself All Truth, dishonesty in the guise of niceness could not serve Him."