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.
As a Swedish employee, I am really disheartened to hear about this decision. The fact that they are discontinuing these services seems to imply that there is something wrong with this “choice.” I cannot help but feel like they are sending women around the back door to Planned Parenthood and again, that the PP organization gets a negative image for providing legal, safe, and ethical procedures. I am surprised that more pro-choice groups and advocates are not speaking out about this. The fact that Swedish is bending to a religious organizations’ beliefs does not sit okay with me.
If we had a rational healthcare system in this country – like every other first world country – this wouldn’t have to happen. The Catholic hospitals could do their thing, and the other hospitals could do theirs, with everyone getting reimbursed from the government through a single-payer system.
But we don’t have that in this country, and there’s enough naive people who scream socialism or some other nonsense, whenever the TV tells them to.
And so it goes.
Perhaps the Catholic Church should get serious about removing molesters, and those who conspire to cover up molestation, from their ranks before their organizations try to force their beliefs on other organizations. I’m extremely disappointed in Swedish for caving in to the demands of such a callow group. I will be taking my business elsewhere and urging everyone I know to do the same.
Set your emotions aside and see the comment above. The insurance companies love nothing better than for us to get caught up in infighting,
Single payer national healthcare. Medicare for all.
In this letter to the Seattle Times I echo concerns of others that the merger may also result in Swedish forbidding its physicians from participating in our state’s Death with Dignity act:
As some of you may know, my wife, terminally ill with brain cancer, took advantage of that act:
I’m proud to live in a state that allows such humane measures. It would be a tragedy if religious forces effectively blocked many people’s access to such measures.