Beta Culture: Self Defense in the Medical Arena

So you go into a hospital and it looks like every other, right? Doctors, nurses, beeping monitors, an overall air of concern for patient well-being. And for most of us, it’s probably even true.

But for one targeted class, women in need of emergency, or sometimes even routine, reproductive care, one in ten hospitals in the U.S. take a radically different approach to medicine.

Read this paragraph from Miscarriage of Medicine – The Growth of Catholic Hospitals and the Threat to Reproductive Health Care:

With the rise of Catholic hospitals has come the increasing danger that women’s reproductive health care will be compromised by religious restrictions. The Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (the Directives), issued by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), govern care at these facilities. The Directives prohibit a range of reproductive health services, including contraception, sterilization, many infertility treatments, and abortion care, even when a woman’s health or life is in danger. Moreover, they often restrict even the ability of hospital staff to provide patients with full information and referrals for care that conflict with religious teachings.

That highlighted bit means that not only will they not provide certain “sinful” medical services, or even give you correct medical information on which your health may depend, they also won’t tell you where you can go to GET that information and those services.

They will lie by omission, even when your life and health hangs in the balance.

Why is this important? Because the number of Catholic-owned hospitals is rapidly increasing.

While the number of secular non-profit and public hospitals fell by 12 percent and 31 percent, respectively, in the ten years of 2001-2011, the number of Catholic hospitals grew by 16 percent. In that same period the total number of hospitals in the U.S. declined.

The real scare quote for women needing emergency reproductive care is this:

  • In 2011, one in ten acute-care hospitals were Catholic-sponsored or -affiliated.
  • That same year, 10 of the 25 largest hospital systems in the country were Catholic-sponsored.

This is understandable, of course. Hey, souls hang in the balance, right? And what are your annoying little rights, your petty little health and safety, compared with that?

Doesn’t matter that you’re not Catholic. Doesn’t matter that it might cost you your life, or the life of your wife. What matters is THEIR set of moral rules, enforced on US.

Considering that the Catholic Church appears to be actively acquiring more hospitals and hospital systems, it’s hard to say any of this — the enforcing of their moral rules, at times when patients are most defenseless and frightened — is unintentional.

Yet another reason why a new social engine — Beta Culture — is needed. If there are people in positions of influence over you who fail to consider one of the most basic social promises — that in a time of desperate need, your medical care will not be compromised or sold short — it’s time to get out from under and go your own way.


Lest we forget one who died from this this kind of “care”: Savita Halappanavar


  • KarenOfRocks

    This subject pushes more buttons than I thought for sure I had. Ex-Catholic? check. Utter loathing for the we-know-better-than-you attitude of the Catholic church? check. Utter loathing for the we-know-better-than-you attitude of ANY religious tradition? check. The notion, acquired from childhood, that medicine should first do no harm? triple-check. The concept that reproductive rights (and end-of-life death-with-dignity rights) are sacrosanct? quadruple-check.

    Religious control of our health care system is like a computer virus, only instead of infecting machines it infects hospitals. There needs to be one hell of a pushback against the restriction of rights under the rubric of religion, and it needs to start in the arena of the most fragile members of society: those requiring health care. We need a Savita’s Law restricting these bastards’ holier-than-thou control of rights, and if they don’t like it they can go back to their sanctuaries and turn their hospitals into secular nonprofits. I don’t know how to make that happen, but if it involves my vote it’s there.

    (Dammit, I think I just broke my soapbox jumping up and down on it.)

    I was born in a Catholic hospital. I’ve reached a stage in my life where I can safely say I no longer need reproductive care. But dammit, I really don’t want to risk the dignity of my death by dying in a Catholic hospital.

  • $27334126

    It’s too bad atheists are too cheap and selfish to build hospitals.

    • Hank Fox

      I hope you’re kidding.

      But … if you’re sick enough to need emergency medical care, and the nearest hospital is Catholic, you end up there. I don’t see that as difficult to understand.

      Atheists aren’t too cheap, or selfish. We just haven’t yet grasped that we have the power to do such things. I hope to help change that.

      • $27334126

        Nothing prevents atheists from building hospitals. Obviously they choose not to do it.

        • Hank Fox

          It’s gonna happen. Like I said, we haven’t yet grasped that we can.

          One thing I can guarantee you: If and when Beta Culture hospitals get built, patients of any and all denominations, and no denomination, will get the best goddam care there is.

          • $27334126

            I doubt it.

          • Hank Fox

            Heh. Okay.

        • KarenOfRocks

          In the metropolitan area where I live, there are multiple, secular, non-profit hospitals. When I had a heart-attack scare recently (turned out to be esophageal spasm) the paramedics asked me which hospital I wanted to be taken to. That’s a luxury of living where I do.

          When I move from this area to retire, I will have far fewer choices in where I receive trauma-related medical care. As of this writing, the local hospital (singular) is secular, and may or be non-profit. But small rural hospitals have a harder time than their big-city cousins making ends meet, especially since most rural communities are not wealthy. They’re vulnerable to financial distress that might be relieved by a takeover, and the Catholic Medical Machine is the primary takeover instigator right now.

          • $27334126

            Truly dastardly of them to provide medical care.

  • $27334126

    “What matters is THEIR set of moral rules, enforced on US”

    Explain how are you forced to use a Catholic hospital.

  • kenofken

    This problem goes WAY beyond reproductive services. A few years back, bishops issued a directive that Catholic hospitals must ignore advance directives to deliver care according to their doctrine. That means that they will install a feeding tube against your will to prolong your life even if you made your wishes known in advance in a legally binding document. You will have no control over your end of life choices if you are admitted to a Catholic hospital.

    • Hank Fox

      Didn’t know about that. Given my recent experience of sitting with my dying Dad, who vigorously refused any life-saving measures at the end of his life, I’m picturing people barging into his room when he became vulnerable in his last few days, shoving tubes and needles into him, forcing him to suffer longer, and it really, REALLY pisses me off.