Queen of the Valley Medical Center is tightening its rules regarding tubal ligations -- a permanent form of birth control in which a woman’s fallopian tubes are blocked, tied or cut.
Following Catholic doctrine against birth control, the hospital has never performed tubal ligation simply upon request, but allowed the surgery if a woman’s physician gave a medical reason, such as asserting that a pregnancy would be a danger to her health, said Sister Marian Schubert, vice president of Mission Integration.
But such circumstances are now considered a form of direct sterilization and against the moral teachings of the Catholic Church, Schubert said.
As a Catholic hospital, Queen of the Valley must follow the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, issued by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Schubert said. According to those directives, direct sterilization is considered immoral, and such procedures are not permitted for either men or women.
Queen spokeswoman Vanessa deGier declined to say how many tubal ligations the hospital has performed, saying it was “not relevant to the fact that we have clarified our policy regarding sterilization.”
…Queen of the Valley will continue to be allowed to perform surgeries that result in indirect sterilization, such as removing cancerous ovaries or fallopian tubes, Schubert said. Another example of indirect sterilization is if a woman is hemorrhaging and the uterus must be removed to stop the bleeding -- the hospital would perform that surgery to save her life, Schubert said.
The decision to review and revise the policy was made internally, within the St. Joseph Health System, to which Queen of the Valley belongs, deGier said…
Hospitals in the St. Joseph Health System serve under different bishops in California. Queen of the Valley serves under the Diocese of Santa Rosa led by Bishop Robert Vasa. Vasa said he was not aware that Queen of the Valley was revising its policy, but commended the hospital for doing so and for being more consistent with Catholic moral teachings.
Vasa previously served as bishop of the Diocese of Baker in Oregon, where he revoked the Catholic status of a hospital in Bend after determining the hospital was providing direct sterilizations…
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