Yesterday, the Maryland Health Care Commission voted unanimously to approve a plan for Holy Cross Hospital to build a new facility in upper Montgomery County. As mentioned yesterday, several groups such as the National organization for Women opposed the Holy Cross proposal because Catholic hospitals do not perform abortions and other services that do not fit within the directives of the Catholic Church for hospitals that operate in its name.
A spokeswoman for Holy Cross pointed out that the largest access issue for women in the county is not abortion, but prenatal and primary care services for women and that Holy Cross is already the largest provider of such services in the county. So, NOW was more concerned about the few women who might want an abortion than they were about the many women who need good prenatal services. That kind of thinking is skewed.
As Catholics we do not believe abortion is health care. Health care tries to save patients not kill them. There are many Americans who do not share that view and there are many hospitals to which they can turn for abortion services. (Montgomery County has five hospitals already.) But, to allow the agenda of a few, ardent pro-choice groups to keep the state of Maryland from embracing a hospital plan they felt was better conceived and better funded simply because of the abortion issue would have been the height of bigotry. And, it would have harmed the many women who do not seek abortions but want good prenatal care of the kind Holy Cross provides.
Kudos to the Maryland Health Care Commission for not allowing this narrow, anti-Catholic agenda to keep them from their task of ensuring the best possible care for all of Maryland's residents.