Everyone should be able to get the care that they need, and no one should be denied healthcare based on the religious views of the hospital provider.
Ballot Measure BB proposes that Healdsburg District Hospital (HDH) as well as its clinics and ancillary services be purchased by an entity affiliated with the Catholic hospital network Providence St. Joseph Health. In Catholic health care, bishops — not medical providers — set the rules at all levels of care and the administration of that care in any institution they purchase. This is not a secular agreement as stated in the proposal.
Even though the proposal says the purchase of HDH would be by a “secular” affiliate of Providence St. Joseph Health — NorCal Health Connect LLC — this entity still imposes religiously-based restrictions on women’s health care and end of life choices. Providence St. Joseph Health, like other Catholic hospitals, prohibits all “abortion” care which they see as “intrinsically evil.” In this hospital system, “abortion” is defined as a religious matter to include a range of care from contraception to miscarriage. An end of life decision is a private, personal choice, not to be dictated by a religious institution. Even if tax payers, whose monies go to these facilities, want to have these health care services provided, they will be restricted.
As a public entity, Healdsburg District Hospital, its clinics and providers, must treat all women’s health care options and end of life decisions neutrally under California law. A publicly funded hospital should not categorically refuse to provide this range of services throughout the district.
The ballot proposal also states Northern Sonoma County Health Care District (NSCHD) tax payers will continue to subsidize the hospital and its clinic by $3.25 million in parcel tax dollars per year. If the hospital continues to be subsidized through a parcel tax, then it is still a public entity and should not partner with religious institutions that impose religious restrictions on care.
The sale proposal by NSCHD to Providence St. Joseph Health would impose categorical exclusions based on religious biases and should not be receiving public tax dollars.
This was submitted by ACLU of Northern California and the Sonoma County Chapter of the ACLU of Northern California.