By Kyeland Jackson —
Management for the University of Louisville hospital decided to cancel a pending agreement with Planned Parenthood.
The agreement would have provided services to Planned Parenthood patients with abortion complications. KentuckyOne Health, the management of U of L hospital, cited “outside pressures” and possible loss of public funding as reasons they rescinded the agreement.
Planned Parenthood has been tangled in politics since Governor Matt Bevin cited the clinic for providing abortions it deemed illegal. Bevin’s administration claimed the clinic knowingly failed to provide the correct paperwork guaranteeing the safety of it’s abortion patients.
Planned Parenthood said it was legally permitted under former Governor Beshear’s administration, and did not purposefully disregard law. A pro-life advocate, Bevin still pursued legal action and is suing the clinic upwards of $684,000 for offering abortions during his tenure.
Similar legal action was taken March 3 as Bevin sued the EMW Women’s Clinic. The suit also said the Lexington clinic did not have the required paperwork to perform legal abortions.
Abortion and clinics offering abortion have faced a tough Kentucky legislation. Bills requiring women to have in-person or phone counseling a day before abortion have been signed into law. Two pending bills in the house would require doctors to conduct an ultrasound and describe the baby before abortion and would restrict state funds from organizations providing abortion.
Another bill passed March 3 shall require clinics to meet stricter codes and guidelines and for abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a local hospital.
Some speculate the “outside pressures” may be related to KentuckyOne Health’s majority owner, a Catholic Health Initiative.
This is not the first time U of L hospital’s ethical guidance has been questioned.
Plans for a merger between Catholic Health Initiatives and the U of L hospital were first suggested in 2010. Concerns were raised on the catholic beneficiary’s influence on medical care shortly after the proposal.
Lawyer Beverly Glascock researched catholic hospitals’ medical care and raised concerns on possibly unethical and dangerous practices.
Glascock discovered inefficient procedures, questionable responses to end-of-life choices by patients and life-threatening choices for pregnant women. These choices are in accordance with some Catholic doctrine stances.
Similar concerns were raised before the hospital was declared a public property in 2011, cancelling the merger.
Management of the hospital was turned to KentuckyOne Health in 2012, whose majority owner is Catholic Health Initiatives.
Workers at the hospital said catholic directives were being implemented through small changes in 2014. Vasectomies would no longer be covered between employees and their spouses, however non-intrusive contraception for women would still be covered.
The hospital also erased the mention of domestic partners, renaming them “dependent adults”.
Thomas Clay, a lawyer for Planned Parenthood, believes the university hospital decision was not related to it’s majority owner.
Glascock, in an interview with the Courier-Journal about the U of L hospital, thought otherwise. Glascock said KentuckyOne Health was allowing political agenda to determine its medical decisions.
For U of L students and the community around the hospital, the void agreement comes with implications.
Brianna Bryant, a U of L sophomore ,was surprised about the decision.
“Planned parenthood is needed…especially near a college campus,” Bryant said. She believes it would take away from students and anyone living in the area.
The hospital said it will still offer care to patients regardless of the deal however.
David Mcarthur, spokesperson for the U of L hospital issued a statement on the matter via email.
“To be clear, KentuckyOne Health and University of Louisville Hospital will always receive patients in need of emergency care,” Bryant said in the email.
“We will never discriminate or turn away a patient needing emergency care, including patients from Planned Parenthood.”
This story will be updated.