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Letters: Religion and healthcare

June 25, 2013

Re "Devious ban on abortion at Hoag," Column, June 23

How reprehensible that officials at Hoag Hospital in Orange County blatantly lied when they stated that the discontinuation of abortion services had nothing to do with the hospital's merger with the Roman Catholic St. Joseph Health System.

Hoag was a leader among community hospitals and could have partnered with any number of other facilities. One has to ask why Hoag's leaders chose St. Joseph when the cost to their own autonomy was so high.

Although the only immediate effect of the merger is the loss of abortion services, an association with a Catholic hospital often results in discontinuation of most fertility treatments and of coverage of birth control, and sometimes a failure to respect do-not-resuscitate orders.

The only honorable things for Hoag to do now are to dissolve this association, request the resignation of the former chief executive who negotiated this deal (Dr. Richard Afable, who is now an executive vice president for St. Joseph) and begin to repair its reputation in our community.

Susan Skinner, MD

Newport Beach

I am wondering whether The Times is praising St. Joseph for being successful in providing the health services that people obviously want, or whether it faults it for not providing abortions.

I have always thought that hospitals were places where all people were treated equally. It seems to me that hospitals like those in the St. Joseph Health System are doing what hospitals are expected to do, and their success shows that they clearly have the broad support of people.

Am I missing something?

Peter O'Reilly


In their need to expand their market share of insured patients, many hospitals seek to partner with others to give them greater leverage with insurance companies.

Catholic hospitals may be governed by their church's doctrine on contraception and abortion — even though both are legal in the United States — but should their expansion through partnerships with elite medical centers reduce access to the full range of care that women need? No.

Catholic doctrine should not be allowed to trump our constitutional rights.

Doris Isolini Nelson

Los Angeles

Liberals like columnist Michael Hiltzik have a difficult time admitting the truth on abortion: It is the deliberate intention to kill a developing baby.

There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that justifies abortion. The right to privacy was never intended to justify killing an innocent developing baby.

The Roman Catholic Church and many Protestant denominations share the same respect for the dignity of human life. Infants are a gift from God and deserve to be loved, not disposed of as human waste.

As for so-called reproductive rights, those who do not want to conceive should refrain from sexual activity.

Vincent Sheehy

Newport Beach


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