Exploring the tense relationship between Catholic Hospitals and the A.C.L.U.

(CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

Our guest this week is Stephanie Slade, a managing editor at Reason magazine and contributing writer at America. Her latest article explores the legal challenges launched by the American Civil Liberties Union against Catholic hospitals.

“The A.C.L.U. has decided that the right to have an abortion or to get a sterilization procedure...is a fundamental American human right,” Slade explained. “They have decided to litigate that and to force Catholic hospitals to go along with their views by launching a flurry of lawsuits.”

This development is especially concerning, Slade noted, given that Catholic hospitals are often the sole providers of medical care in certain marginalized communities. The potential success of the A.C.L.U.’s lawsuits, she argued, would be “a terrible outcome that’s going to disproportionately harm poor people, people in rural communities, people in inner cities.”

 

The A.C.L.U.’s legal campaign against Catholic hospitals is surprising given the organization's history of defending religious freedom. “The A.C.L.U. was historically a civil libertarian group, a group focused on maximizing people’s liberties,” she said. “In recent years...there seems to have been a shift away from focusing on civil liberties and toward focusing on what [the A.C.L.U.] call[s] civil rights, but what in reality ends up looking a lot like reflecting the values of progressive interest groups.”

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