If you’re a woman who’s giving birth, and you decide to have a C-section you might also decide that you’re done having kids and you want to get your tubes tied so that there are no unplanned pregnancies in the future I mean, the doctor’s already performing surgery, they’ve already cut you open. So getting a tubal ligation done, it actually makes sense – you can kill two birds with one stone. It’s a very safe procedure, and medical professionals actually say that if you’re gonna have a C-section that’s the best time to get your tubes tied because the doctor’s already in that area. You don’t have to have another surgery. In fact, between 25 and 30 percent of adult, married women in the United States have had the procedure done. It’s just not a big deal. But let’s add a twist to this story. Get it? What if you’re at a Catholic hospital? Doctors there will perform a C-section without a problem, that’s not a big deal But they will not perform a tubal ligation. Why not? Because those doctors are getting their orders , not from medical professionals, but from Catholic bishops. Basically, anything that functions as contraception is forbidden in the Catholic faith and that applies even if future pregnancies would put the woman at risk. I mean, we’re probably all familiar with the fact that the Catholic Church opposes birth control for this reason, but not only won’t they perform tubal ligations, they also won’t perform vasectomies on men because that’s getting in the way of a woman having kids. And here’s where it gets really messed up: if a woman’s life is in danger because she’s having an ectopic pregnancy, and the fetus is stuck in her fallopian tube, the Catholic hospital will not give the woman a drug that would abort the child and save her life. Instead, they will remove the entire fallopian tube, reducing her ability to get pregnant in the future, by the way And even though that’s completely medically unnecessary, because I guess that’s what Jesus wants. In other cases, if a woman has been raped, a Catholic hospital won’t give her emergency contraception. What if you’re a woman who wants to get pregnant through a sperm donor? Catholic hospitals won’t help you there either because that’s “outside the confines of marriage”. Catholic hospitals are more interested in following some arbitrary religious rules than providing quality health care. And this is a big deal, because Catholic hospitals are everywhere. And in many states, they’re actually taking over local hospitals. A report by the ACLU actually said that 1 in 9 hospital beds is now run by a Catholic health care system. They also get billions of dollars in taxpayer money from the government every year to keep this whole charade going. And this whole problem affects poor people disproportionately, because they’re the ones who can’t afford going to a traditional checkup. So they only see a doctor in the case of an emergency, and if a Catholic hospital is the closest one to them or that’s where they get sent to, and it turns out they have to abide by whatever the Catholic rules allow, or at least that’s the healthcare they’re gonna get. Let’s hope for their sake, they don’t have any reproductive issues. So, why am I talking about this now? Two reasons. The ACLU recently sued a Catholic health care provider in San Francisco because a woman, their client, was denied a tubal ligation when she went in for a C-section. Now, because the hospitals around this woman were also Catholic, she would’ve had to drive 160 miles away in order to get this procedure done, which is ridiculous Now, in this particular case, the hospital caved in, they relented, and they said, “Fine, we’ll do the procedure” …”but just for her.” So it doesn’t apply to everybody. Other women shouldn’t have to fight this battle when it comes to making their own decisions about their reproductive health. Second, American Atheists has actually proposed legislation requiring all hospitals to put up a big list of all the procedures they won’t do because of the religious beliefs of the provider. It’s kinda like requiring bakery owners to put up a sign on their store that says, “We don’t serve gays,” if they live a state where that sort of thing is allowed and they happen to be a bakery owned by a conservative Christian person. I hate that that sort of discrimination is even allowed in some states, but it is. And if that’s the case, I kinda want to know which bakeries are bigoted, right up front, so I can avoid them at all costs. And it’s the same idea with the hospitals. Let’s just put a sign on the door that says, “Here’s what we don’t do” Because a lot of people choose to have their babies in these hospitals, or they choose to have elective procedures done at these places and they don’t know any better. They have no idea that the healthcare they’re gonna get is limited to whatever the Catholic faith allows. So I like the proposed legislation. It’s not saying Catholic hospitals can’t follow the rules of the Catholic faith, it’s just saying they can’t hide that, either. Tell us which procedures are banned so that we can decide, if it’s in our power, whether or not to give you our business. Now, I don’t know if any politicians will take the bait and try to pass that bill, but it wouldn’t be a bad thing if they did. My name is Hemant Mehta, and I write at FriendlyAtheist.com. 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