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Illinois isn’t quite the “abortion-rights haven” it’s being made out to be

Monday, Jul 22, 2019

* These stories are becoming common…

* The New Yorker: How Illinois Became an Abortion-Rights Haven

* Vice: Blue States Are Finally Worried About Abortion — And They’re Doing Something About It

* Chicago Magazine: In a Changing Midwest, Illinois Doubles Down on Roe

* But Stephanie Goldberg throws some cold water on the hype at Crain’s

Despite a new law enshrining reproductive health care as a “fundamental right” in Illinois, hospital industry trends are restricting the availability of contraception, sterilization and abortion.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker last month signed the Reproductive Health Act, eliminating virtually all state restrictions on these procedures. At the same time, consolidation is bringing more Illinois hospitals under the control of expanding Catholic organizations that don’t provide the full range of reproductive care.

With hospitals under pressure to gain market share, control health care costs and increase profitability, many financially strong Catholic chains have bulked up—acquiring both faith-based and secular facilities along the way. Catholic hospitals follow a set of rules that prohibit or sharply restrict contraception, fertility treatments, sterilization procedures and abortions.

As they impose those strictures on acquired hospitals, some women have to travel farther to find facilities that provide such services. That’s especially true for women covered by most Medicaid managed care insurance plans in Cook County, which rely heavily on Catholic hospitals. […]

Some 38 percent of Cook County hospitals with labor and delivery departments are Catholic, according to the report. Meanwhile, Catholic hospitals represented more than 38 percent of in-network hospitals for five of the seven available Medicaid managed care plans in 2018, limiting patients’ options for family planning services, Stulberg says.

Women of color in the county have even fewer options: 85 percent of black and Hispanic women were enrolled in one of the five plans with a heavily Catholic network, compared with 75 percent of white women, the study finds. Meridian Health Plan and NextLevel Health had the lowest percentages of in-network Catholic hospitals, with 37 and 36 percent, respectively.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - lincoln's beard - Monday, Jul 22, 19 @ 1:21 pm:

    Most hospitals, Catholic or not, don’t perform elective abortions. If you read the Crain’s article closely, you’ll see a lot more about contraceptive access and family planning, but not much about abortion.

  2. - Southern Illinois Mayor - Monday, Jul 22, 19 @ 1:22 pm:

    Related: Fill this under things I always assumed.

  3. - Candy Dogood - Monday, Jul 22, 19 @ 1:24 pm:

    One of our excellent legislators should make it so that for a hospital to be eligible for reduced property tax that they are not allowed to eliminated services based off of religious discrimination.

  4. - Chris - Monday, Jul 22, 19 @ 1:30 pm:

    Abortion is profitable, especially when Medicaid pays for it. If there is demand for more abortion services, more clinics will open up to meet that demand. There’s no need to close down hospitals that don’t want to be involved in this or another elective procedure. That just reduces more healthcare access for more people. Not practical.

  5. - sunshine state - Monday, Jul 22, 19 @ 1:33 pm:

    As a personal anecdote on Illinois Catholic hospitals restricting access - I was personally told I could not have a tubal ligation during an emergency c-section after my third near-fatal pregnancy at a Catholic hospital. The MD shared that Bishop Paprocki would not approve any special requests for such surgeries even when recommended by the doctor to preserve the life of the mother.

  6. - JB13 - Monday, Jul 22, 19 @ 1:45 pm:

    Oh, good grief. Catholic hospitals won’t violate their religious beliefs, so Illinois isn’t “haven-y” enough for you all?

    No law prevents any non-Catholics from opening a non-profit hospital to allow poor black and Hispanic women to abort their babies. But if you’d rather force religious believers to violate their beliefs, I suspect there are courts you can defend that stance in - though recent precedent says such a gambit may not go so well.

  7. - Chris - Monday, Jul 22, 19 @ 1:45 pm:

    You could still have a tubal ligation, they just don’t perform that service. Just like anyone can have an abortion in the 8th month in Illinois, but not every medical facility in Illinois is going to do it. Some will, some won’t. Not every medical facility is going to do plastic surgery, even on burn victims. It’s not something they want to include on the list of services they provide. It’s not like they will do tubal ligation for some people and not others. They are not doing it across the board. They are treating everyone the same.

  8. - Lt Guv - Monday, Jul 22, 19 @ 1:47 pm:

    JB13 - stay classy.

  9. - RuralJewel - Monday, Jul 22, 19 @ 2:03 pm:

    I think maybe we ought to look at this big picture. A Catholic hospital might be the only option in some regions. What if your insurance won’t cover a provider that will perform the medical procedure needed? I have no problem with religious organizations operating businesses. However, they must serve all, especially when it comes to healthcare.

  10. - Cheryl44 - Monday, Jul 22, 19 @ 2:10 pm:

    JB13, you stay classy too.

  11. - Juvenal - Monday, Jul 22, 19 @ 2:10 pm:

    === No law prevents any non-Catholics from opening a non-profit hospital ===

    Health Facilities Planning Act:

    === to allow poor black women and Hispanic women ===

    Abortions by Race:

    White: 49%
    Black: 40%
    Other: 11%,%22sort%22:%22asc%22%7D

    === If you’d rather force religious believers to violate their religious beliefs ===

    No one is forced to become a doctor.

    Argue all you want that it should be harder/much harder to get an abortion; but it isn’t easy. As the commenter points out, if you want to make abortions more available in Illinois, you pretty much have to open your own hospital.

  12. - Philly - Monday, Jul 22, 19 @ 2:12 pm:

    == Bishop Paprocki would not approve any special requests for such surgeries ==

    Wait, doctors are calling the bishop for special approval?

  13. - Candy Dogood - Monday, Jul 22, 19 @ 2:27 pm:

    ===in this or another elective procedure===

    Oh look. Some dude thinks reproductive healthcare is “elective.”

  14. - lakeside - Monday, Jul 22, 19 @ 2:38 pm:

    The Catholic health care system has worked to bring hospitals and health care providers into the fold (har har) for the explicit purpose of limiting the offering of procedures, including abortions and tubal ligations, that the Church opposes. You can agree this is a good thing or not, but they definitely use their clout to restrict some procedures, and make no bones about it.

    They’ve even sought to limit other providers. In 1991, they agreed to sell Illinois Masonic Hospital a piece of land they owned, but only if the hospital stopped performing abortions.

    If there’s a crisis and your care (well, if you’re a woman) depends on where the ambulance takes you or what insurance networks you’re a part of, that’s a serious concern.

    Meanwhile, Chris - you know getting a separate tubal ligation means getting a *whole other surgery* right? If it were you, wouldn’t you be pretty peeved about getting cut a second time unnecessarily? And, as always, no one is willy nilly getting a third trimester abortion; they are situations to prevent harm or suffering to the mother or fetus. You guys are so casual with women’s bodies and surgical procedures, it’s amazing.

  15. - zach - Monday, Jul 22, 19 @ 2:47 pm:


  16. - Nick Name - Monday, Jul 22, 19 @ 4:24 pm:

    ===The MD shared that Bishop Paprocki would not approve any special requests for such surgeries===

    Does Bishop Paprocki not have anything else to do besides micromanage medical care? Sheesh.

  17. - Dotnonymous - Monday, Jul 22, 19 @ 4:47 pm:

    No one is forced to become a doctor.

    Many women are forced into pregnancy.

  18. - Captain Obvious - Monday, Jul 22, 19 @ 6:26 pm:

    So Illinois is not as much a haven for abortion because…Paprocki? I have no problem with that.

  19. - Kristin - Tuesday, Jul 23, 19 @ 12:23 am:

    I believe I was critically injured due to a catholic hospital in Illinois while pregnant. My pregnancy ended in miscarriage and an emergency hysterectomy due to an infection. I was not given any assistance what so ever until my miscarriage was complete even though I was severely septic. If I would have known that I could have received more intervention at a non-religious hospital I would have chosen a different hospital.

  20. - Kristin - Tuesday, Jul 23, 19 @ 12:25 am:

    It was my one and only pregnancy and now I can’t have children at all.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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