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State: Hoag May Continue Ban on Abortions

The Attorney General's office has struck a deal with the hospital to allow the ban as long as as patients are provided with options to seek the procedure elsewhere.

Hoag Memorial Hospital in Newport Beach may continue refusing elective abortions, the state has decided. Patch file photo.
Hoag Memorial Hospital in Newport Beach may continue refusing elective abortions, the state has decided. Patch file photo.

Hoag Memorial Hospital in Newport Beach may continue refusing elective abortions as long as patients are provided with options to seek the procedure elsewhere, according to an agreement with the state obtained by City News Service.

The hospital stopped offering elective abortions in May 2013, triggering criticism from some physicians and abortion rights supporters.

Hoag acted after partnering with St. Joseph Health System, a Roman Catholic organization, to create the Covenant Health Network, which has expanded medical services to the region's needy.

"Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian shall take steps to ensure that alternative (abortion) providers are available and accessible to all women" in its service area, the agreement with the state says.

The Attorney General's office had begun investigating the partnership between Hoag and St. Joseph's "in response to concerns raised by members of the public, physicians affiliated with Hoag, and others" about the ban on elective abortions, according to the agreement.

Hoag also agreed for the next 20 years to continue providing reproductive health services other than abortions, including contraceptive procedures such as tubal ligations, even if they conflict with St. Joseph's religious beliefs.

Last year, Attorney General Kamala Harris conditionally approved Hoag's affiliation with St. Joseph's. One of the conditions was that Hoag maintain women's services for at least 10 years.

Hoag CEO and President Robert Braithwaite has said St. Joseph's opposition to abortion was not the only reason the hospital decided to stop offering the procedure.

He noted that demand for abortions at Hoag has significantly declined over the past several years because most women prefer to undergo the procedure in their physician's office or surgery centers for privacy and cost reasons.

Braithwaite signed the agreement with the Attorney General's Office March 19, while a supervising deputy for the state's top attorney signed it last Friday.

"We fully support these clarifications of the (AG's) original conditions" for approving the partnership with St. Joseph's, Braithwaite said in a statement today.

--City News Service


imcjl April 06, 2014 at 12:40 PM
Old-timer, I guess if those conditions ever existed, I would simply take my business elsewhere. That's one of the many benefits of living in a democratic and capitalist society. Vote your conscience and take your animal-based shoes for a walk.
OldTimer April 06, 2014 at 01:05 PM
imcjl, that wasn't my question. Let me repeat: If a private business that received government subsidies banned customers who wore articles of clothing made from animal hides or banned men who wore dresses, based upon moral grounds, from using their drinking fountain or restroom, should that business be investigated by the authorities? I am not interested in what your personal course of action would be. I am interested whether you think that business should be investigated for discriminating against customers if those customers hold certain moral beliefs that are different from the business owner?
OldTimer April 06, 2014 at 11:15 PM
That's too bad. I thought we were going to get a nice educational discussion going. I hate it when we get to the meat of the subject matter and the board goes silent. Oh well.
imcjl April 07, 2014 at 11:11 AM
Old Timer, investigate them if you think they violated conditions for receiving the government assistance, sure. But it sounds as if you are also assuming those government conditions were right, just, and legal in the first place. Based on the recent Fast & Furious debacle, the government makes huge mistakes or is full of corruption (i.e. Nixon' staff, Clinton getting BJ's in the Oval Office, etc). The government is simply a collective of people employed by the taxpayers with virtually no accountability for performance and a tendency to bully people and businesses. The government is the last entity I would seek moral or ethical guidance from, and those that do tend to love a nanny state... Not my thing.
Stan Jacobs April 08, 2014 at 12:09 AM
Old Timer - Folks are getting tired of your sympathizing with the military enemies of the U.S. and your veiled (and not so veiled) attacks against the church and American troops.

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