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Archbishop Discusses Hospital Merger

The concerns that the pending merger between University of Louisville Hospital, Jewish Hospital and Catholic Health Initiatives has put the future of certain services in question. Doctors in the merged University Hospital will have to follow Catholic directives, meaning many reproductive health services (contraception counseling, vasectomies, tubal ligations, emergency and elective abortions) will not be allowed and end-of-life care will also change.Archbishop Joseph Kurtz recently penned a column defending the church's directives. He also spoke to the Courier-Journal about the merger.Kurtz also said in a brief interview he couldn't foresee a situation in which University or Jewish hospitals would operate under Catholic ownership without also following the formal Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Heath Care Service.

University officials have been relatively quiet on the merger, but School of Medicine Dean Edward Halperin repeated his previous statement that the school will remain unaffected by the merger and will find a way to provide all currently-offered services. Many Kentucky elected officials have put pressure on U of L to do so, and the principals in the merger will discuss their options with a General Assembly committee later this month.WFPL News previously highlighted two instances (Austin, Texas and Kingston, New York) where banned services were continued after a religious-secular merger.You can read the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services here.

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