Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic World News

Half of US Catholic hospitals do sterilizations, report suggests

February 20, 2012

Nearly half of the Catholic hospitals in the US perform sterilizations, according to an extensive study.

In a doctoral dissertation presented at Baylor University in Texas, Sandra Hapenney studied 176 Catholic hospitals, across 7 states. Of those hospitals, 85—or 48%--performed tubal ligations. Hapenney’s study of hospital records found over 20,000 cases of direct sterilizations at those institutions between 2007 and 2009. The Catholic Church teaches that direct sterilization is intrinsically wrong. The inclusion of coverage for sterilization in the Obama administration’s health-care plans has been the subject of a keen debate in recent weeks, with Catholic bishops saying that Church-related institutions cannot in conscience subsidize the procedure. Hapenney’s research covered Catholic hospitals in seven states, representing a cross-section of the US: California, Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey, New York, Texas and Washington. In some cases, the bishops of the dioceses in which the hospitals were located have said that they believe the institutions are in compliance with Church directives, despite the occurrence of sterilizations.

In at least one case, in Tyler, Texas, Bishop Alvaro Corrada del Rio took action to rein in a Catholic hospital when he learned that sterilizations were being performed, and Hapenney's data show that no sterilizations were performed there after the bishop's intervention. Last year he was appointed Bishop of Mayaguez in his native Puerto Rico.


For all current news, visit our News home page.

Further information:
Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a current donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

  • Posted by: Bernadette - Feb. 23, 2012 3:17 PM ET USA

    They know. They know. They don't do anything about it and that's why this whole "call to arms" and hullabaloo over the Mandate is so hypocritical on their part. They simply have not taught the people for decades and decades and it's either because they don't believe what the Church teaches with regard to sexual morality or they don't have the courage to do so in the face of persecution. If they believed, they would be more zealous. The bishops have colluded with the govt. for handouts.

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Feb. 21, 2012 6:23 PM ET USA

    Bravo, Defender! I have long maintained that the USCCB should meet every ten years, and bishops should be walking in unannounced at parishes, schools and all other institutions that call themselves Catholic within their own dioceses. They would probably want to skip the decennial meeting when they got to it.

  • Posted by: wolfdavef3415 - Feb. 20, 2012 8:40 PM ET USA

    Everyone here knows the religious argument against this procedure. But I want to provide the secular argument against this line of 'reasoning' (if I can use the term so loosely). If half of US Catholic hospitals are violating the teachings of the Church and providing these procedures, than half are faithful and are not. Government should not force the faithful to violate their faith. And allowing conscience exemptions would apparently (and sadly) not create much of a road block to access.

  • Posted by: msorensen71798 - Feb. 20, 2012 7:04 PM ET USA

    I wouldn't call those 7 states a representative "cross-section" of the U.S. But even one Catholic hospital that is operating against Catholic teaching is too many.

  • Posted by: debjmj9652 - Feb. 20, 2012 6:56 PM ET USA

    If the religious orders that run the Catholic hospitals only accepted physicians on staff whose practices were in line with Catholic teaching, this would not be a problem. Physicians who prescribe artificial contraceptives, perform sterilizations or abortions would not practice at Catholic hospitals period. No camel's noses under the tent. Teach, teach, teach... Then there wouldn't be so much ignorance in the pews, etc. All those Saints who founded Catholic hospitals, pray for us!

  • Posted by: Defender - Feb. 20, 2012 4:40 PM ET USA

    Just like Catholic colleges within their purview, doesn't this indicate that the bishops don't know what's happening within their own dioceses?