We reported last week that Swedish Health Services and Providence Health & Services are planning to “join forces” to form a new partnership. As part of the arrangement, Swedish, which has a facility on Cherry Hill, would remain a non-religious organization while Providence would keep its Catholic affiliation. But the Seattle Times also reports that Swedish will back a new Planned Parenthood facility in the Nordstrom Tower.
The Seattle Times reports that if the partnership goes through, Swedish will stop offering elective abortions at its facilities “out of respect for the affiliation” with Providence, Swedish Spokesperson Ed Boyle told the Times.
From the Seattle Times:
In 2000, when Swedish took over the former Providence Hospital in Seattle, now named Swedish/Cherry Hill, it stopped performing elective abortions. At that point, the hospital was doing fewer than 50 procedures annually at its First Hill and Ballard campuses.
The 2000 agreement was sought by Providence, which was founded by the Sisters of Providence, as a condition of the arrangement. At the time, Richard Peterson, then CEO of Swedish, said he realized the decision would be of “major concern to the community.”
Swedish continued performing other reproductive services, including tubal ligations, contraception and the morning-after pill. Providence’s stance at the time was to keep the procedures at arm’s length, saying it would not benefit economically from any of those services.
At some point, Boyle confirmed, Swedish restarted doing elective abortions in its facilities.
The Seattle Times also reports that Swedish will refer women to the First Hill Health Center of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest but will continue to provide reproductive emergency services and birth-control services. The center is expected to open in early 2012.
Swedish Medical Center, beset by mounting opposition to its decision to stop performing elective abortions if a pending alliance with a Catholic health system is approved, will help underwrite a Planned Parenthood center in the Nordstrom Tower adjacent to the hospital.
Swedish’s plan to refer patients to the center, which will provide a full range of reproductive-health services, including elective abortion, has been in the works for several months and was expected to be announced next week.
Currently, there are four Planned Parenthood clinics in Seattle including the health center at 2001 E Madison.