As required by a new state mandate, most hospitals in Washington have submitted their policies on patients’ access to a variety of health-care options. However, the policies vary significantly in format, information provided, and availability of access for people seeking reproductive health care.
The new rules were ordered by Gov. Jay Inslee in response to a wave of hospital mergers in which Catholic hospital associations have joined with secular hospitals, raising concerns about reproductive health-care policies.
New rules proposed by the Washington health department would require hospitals to disclose what reproductive health-care and end-of-life services they provide. Behind the push are concerns about the ethical religious directives of religiously affiliated hospitals.
Some religiously-affiliated institutions characterize themselves as “secular” when recruiting or seeking public funding but “church-controlled” when demanding exemptions from the law, such as the birth control benefit. Potential employees, students, and patients—as well as taxpayers generally—deserve to know who they are dealing with.