Canadian Catholic hospital to allow sterilizations

Canadian Catholic hospital to allow sterilizations

“Saskatchewan town’s hospital to allow tubal ligations again”

St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Humboldt, Sask. has lifted its controversial ban on tubal ligations, the Saskatoon Health Region says.

The new policy allows the sterilization procedure when the “primary purpose is to benefit the total health of the person.”

In the summer, the board of the Roman Catholic hospital voted to ban women from the getting the procedure, in which the Fallopian tubes are usually burned, clipped, cut or tied, preventing pregnancy.

But now doctors must discuss the potential benefits and risks of the operation with their patients, along with alternatives.

The physician must sign a form stating he or she has done so, and that the procedure is reasonably necessary and appropriate for the health of a patient.

The preamble to the policy also says the hospital “identifies itself with the health ministry of the Roman Catholic Church and is guided by the teachings of the church.”

This article is unclear. If it’s a Catholic hospital, how can the Health Region (keep in mind that healthcare in Canada is run by the government) institute a new policy? It doesn’t say it explicitly but apparently the Catholic hospital has agreed to do sterilizations in keeping with the policy. Yet Catholic moral teaching does not allow for any exceptions to the teaching that sterilizations are wrong on the basis of “benefiting the total health of the person.” The principle of double effect might come into play conceivably if the woman’s life is in danger, but certainly not for anything less.

In fact, some experts say that tubal ligations are never medically necessary and that the risk of ectopic pregnancies go up, not down, after them.

The original action was taken this past summer and even then legal threats were made against the hospital, including possible complaints before the Human Rights Commission, even though Canada’s health code allows doctors and hospitals to refuse to perform procedures that violate their religious and moral values.

Has the hospital caved? What is this new policy? Hopefully one of the pro-life news sites, like LifeSiteNews in Canada will follow up.

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
  • St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Humboldt, Sask. has lifted its controversial ban on tubal ligations, the Saskatoon Health Region says.

    Controversial ban?  I would say that the decision NOT to ban tubal ligations at a Catholic hospital should be much more controversial than the decision to ban them, given Catholic teaching on contraception and sterilization.

  • When I talked to the Hospital’s officials, they said that there was no way. They were a Catholic hospital and there were plenty of places near by to get yourself done if you wanted. I checked with doctors to see and they said there was NO circumstance in which a TL was of any direct benefit to a woman’s health, either to treat an illness or disease or to prevent one. Quite the contrary, it was considered by some a form of self-mutilation.

    I guess I’m going to be calling Humbolt again.

  • ‘Controversial’ because Canada is sterilization central.  People here are expected to be ‘fixed’ after a few children – its *irresponsible* not to, eh?

    Canadian hospitals are not private; all are funded by the federal government. This means that despite the hospital being founded, owned, and probably staffed by Catholics, the hospital *must* follow the stipulations of the Healthcare Act. 

    A few years ago, an authentically controversial human rights law was passed that forbade any legal person (hospitals included) from restricting access to goods and services usually provided to the general public on the basis of several broadly defined categorical traits.  This law has already been used by homosexual activists to trump the rights of private companies and citizens, so I am not surprised that this hospital chose to ‘buckle’ and allow the sterilizations rather than face a costly legal battle it had absolutely no hope to win.

  • The only circumstance where a tubal ligation might be allowable under the principle of double effect is where the physical health of the woman would be damaged by a pregnancy and there is significant risk of non-consensual sex (e.g., rape).