In a letter to affiliated physicians and staff, Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach announced that elective abortions will no longer be performed at the hospital because of the low number of procedures done annually.
The decision was based on a review of clinical services performed at the facility that began last fall.
Hoag Chief Executive and President Robert Braithwaite said the hospital places a high value on the level of care it provides, and that there is a direct correlation between quality of care and the number of procedures performed. Braithwaite said elective abortions are seldom performed in hospitals partly because of the expense and also because of the less private or intimate setting.
Hoag provided about 100 abortions a year, compared with 6,000 births and 10,000 mammograms, Braithwaite said.
"The bottom line is to provide high-quality healthcare to this community," he said.
The decision does not affect the dispensing of emergency contraception following rape or sexual assault, emergency services for women who experience complications from pregnancy termination at other facilities, or management of ectopic or other pregnancy complications, according to the letter sent out to physicians dated May 1.
The review of services was prompted by the hospital's partnership with St. Joseph Health, a Roman Catholic-affiliated institution, although Braithwaite said at no point did St. Joseph pressure the board to change its policy on elective abortions. He pointed to other procedures still performed at Hoag, including tubal ligation, which are typically not provided by Catholic healthcare providers.