By Angela Valavanis

Having a child should be a cause for celebration, not outrage. But when my husband and I were welcoming our second child into the world three years ago, we learned firsthand how the pervasive nature of religiously controlled medical services can affect us all.

We thought our local Catholic hospital was first and foremost a hospital, offering a standard level of medical care. Sadly, that was not the case.
We intended for our son to be our last child. Early in this pregnancy, I gave my OB-GYN a written birth plan including the fact that if I had to deliver by C-section, I would want a tubal ligation (“tubes tied”). Only after three days of labor, as I was being taken in for an emergency C-section, did I learn that I could not have a tubal ligation—due to restrictions imposed by the Catholic Church.

The story doesn’t end there. When I returned to my OB-GYN (whom I’d seen for 15 years), I asked about contraception, since I had been denied a tubal ligation. She told me that she could no longer prescribe birth control, having sold her practice to a Catholic health system with the same restrictions as the hospital.

When this happened to me, I thought it was unbelievable, truly extraordinary. It is not! A new ACLU report issued this week shows how religious views are shaping the provision of health care in the United States, especially for women seeking reproductive health care.

Please take a minute to read the report. Share it with friends and family. If you or someone you love has been denied care based on religious restrictions, let the ACLU know!

Our health care should not be held hostage by someone else’s religious beliefs.

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