The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Washington is actively investigating how the increasing role and presence of religiously-affiliated medical systems and the imposition of the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care are undermining patient and taxpayer rights in Washington State.
CatholicWatch believes the situation in Washington State is relevant nationally because it demonstrates how a lack of vigilance about respecting appropriate church/state boundaries in health care have led to a situation where three Catholic bishops are positioned to impose their moral values on almost half of the health care in the state.
A presentation from the ACLU that describes the situation in Washington State, including a map that shows how WA state will be impacted if proposed acquisitions and mergers go through, is available here.
In addition to the ACLU’s research, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson released a formal opinion in August 2013 that essentially said a hospital district violates state law if it contracts solely with a provider that restricts services protected under Washington’s Reproductive Privacy Act. You can read more about the opinion and what it means here.