Wisconsin to Catholic Hospitals: Don't Discriminate Against Abortion Doctors

Wednesday, 07 Aug 2013 01:11 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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Three Catholic hospital groups in Wisconsin have been warned they will be in "active violation" of federal law if they deny admitting privileges to doctors who perform abortions.

State Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen told Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare, Columbia St. Mary's Health System, and Hospital Sisters Health System they cannot discriminate against abortion-performing doctors because the hospitals accept federal funding.

His edict was spelled out in the Wisconsin Justice Department filing's in federal court, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

The hospitals had said their Catholic beliefs compelled them to deny privileges to doctors who provide abortions.

Under a new state law that goes into effect in November, physicians who perform abortions will be required to obtain privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of their clinics.

That created a hardship for some doctors who applied for privileges at hospitals with Catholic affiliations.

Experts on federal law told the Journal Sentinel that hospitals denying privileges to doctors specifically because they perform abortions could end up losing research funding and public-health grants.

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