California Coalition for Reproductive Freedom
Hospital Mergers Restrict Repro. HealthCare: Action Guide and Resources to Push Back Against Mergers
Issue

Dignity Health and Catholic Healthcare Initiatives are creating a mega Catholic health entity that would forbid all reproductive health services, including all birth control methods, sterilization, miscarriage management, abortion, the least invasive treatments for ectopic pregnancies, and some infertility treatments.

No exceptions for risks to a patient’s health or even life. LGBTQ patients would face discrimination and be denied health services at some of these hospitals, too. (The NYT just did a story on these issues, which you can read here.)  We have concerns that Dignity will try to reduce its commitment to emergency services, charity care, and other services that are of particular importance to low-income and uninsured or underinsured communities.NHeLP, the ACLU, and other advocates across the state have been working together for years to push back against health care restrictions at these and other hospitals.

The ACLU has sued Dignity Health in particular twice in California over denial of reproductive health services and health care for transgender patients. This proposed merger, affecting Dignity Health hospitals across California, could further restrict access to essential health care. 

Advocacy
The California Attorney General will be holding a total of 17 public meetings across the state, at each of the counties where a Dignity hospital is located. These counties are Kern, Los Angeles, Merced, Nevada, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama, Ventura, and Yolo. 
 
Upcoming Actions
 Nevada           Yolo           San Mateo           
Merced          San Joaquin          Shasta          Siskiyou

There will be over a dozen more meetings across the state, throughout September and possibly into October, at the fourteen other counties that contain a Dignity hospital (possibly: Calaveras, Kern, Santa Cruz, and Tehama). 

Email Karen Camacho at kcamacho@aclunc.org with your name, organizational affiliation if any, email address and/or phone number, and the public meeting(s) that you are interested in attending.  We will circle back with you when we have more information about your county.

Resources

Some Things to think about

  • Depending on how many people attend, the meeting will last between 2-5 hours. 
  • You should expect to speak for 3-5 minutes (so far, no one has been cut off from speaking)
  • We recommend submitting your public comment card early. If you arrive late, you’ll still have the opportunity to submit your card and make public comment closer to the end of the meeting.
  • We highly recommend personalizing your public comment, mentioning your expertise and experiences, if possible.
  • You can print out the attached signs to increase your visibility in the room.

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