Catholic Healthcare in the United States: A Study of the Adherence to the Sterilization Religious Directives of Ascension Health in Texas
The United States Conference of Bishops created the Ethical and Religious Directives (ERDs) in order to provide clear ethical rules for American Catholics. Included was the prohibition of both female and male sterilization: the tubal ligation and the vasectomy. In some instances, Catholic hospitals continue to perform forbidden procedures to keep the business of a not devoutly Catholic populous. In order to determine the degree of adherence to the ethical guidelines, post partum tubal ligations and vasectomies were tabulated for hospitals in the Ascension Health group in Texas. The data demonstrated that the hospitals are performing these procedures at similar rates as non-Catholic hospitals in the state. The lack of a unified Catholic behavior may negatively impact the upcoming Supreme Court cases contesting the Affordable Care Act. If the current trend continues, hospitals that completely follow Catholic mandates may no longer exist.