Catholic hospitals, which account for one in six acute-care beds nationwide, follow directives from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which restrict access to gender-affirming care, contraception, sterilization, abortion care, and end-of-life options. Now, a merger between two of the largest Catholic hospital networks could create a too-big-to-fail healthcare provider that will impose Catholic religious doctrines on unsuspecting patients. Rewire News reports:

“Ascension is the largest nonprofit health operator in the United States, and the largest Catholic health system in the world. A Rewire investigation in September revealed how a doctor at an Ascension hospital in Milwaukee was forced to watch her patient sicken gravely during a miscarriage because of the hospital’s adherence to the Catholic directives. Last year, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a complaint against Ascension for denying a woman with a brain tumor a tubal ligation during her cesarean section, even though her tumor made pregnancy potentially life-threatening. The degree to which hospitals follow the directives can vary widely, even within the same health system.”

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