In the Seattle area, Swedish Medical Center, which was taken over by Providence a few years ago, currently says it does tubal ligations. However, according to a new article posted in ProPublica, the Catholic bishops are clamping down on tubal ligations in situations where a formerly secular medical facility has come under Catholic control. Prior to its takeover by Providence, Swedish was the largest independent nonprofit health system in the Seattle area and still claims to be “the most popular” place in Western Washington to give birth.
The likely implication for Swedish (and other health systems in Washington now under the control of the Catholic bishops) is that tubal ligations will no longer be allowed.
This means that a woman who delivers at a Swedish facility and who is committed to getting a tubal ligation (which is the most popular contraception method for women who have completed their families) will have to undergo the unnecessary pain and expense of an additional separate surgery at a separate facility after her body has healed from childbirth.
For Seattle-area employers who provide comprehensive health care benefits, this means they’ll be footing the bill not just for the additional surgery but also for the additional recovery time associated with a completely separate surgical procedure.
Will Seattle-area employers, including private employers like Microsoft, Starbucks, Amazon, Costco, Nordstroms, Google, and Facebook, stand by while access to important health care services is systematically cut off throughout the largest maternity health care sytem in the state? Will they willingly pay the extra costs of additional surgery and recovery times for their employees who deliver at Swedish and then decide to undergo a tubal ligation elsewhere?
Will the taxpayers who are subsidizing Medicaid births willingly pay for an additional surgery and recovery for Medicaid patients who choose to deliver at Swedish simply because the Catholic bishops have decided the procedure can’t be performed at the largest maternity network in the state?
Will anyone anywhere be able to stop Catholic bishops from using our tax dollars and private health dollars to impose their will on patients across the state?