A Catholic public hospital in Canberra has come under fire for reportedly limiting Canberrans’ access to abortion and contraception. Source: Canberra Times.
Concerns have been raised with the ACT Human Rights Commission that Calvary Public Hospital Bruce in is limiting information provided to women at the hospital about contraception, abortion and other related services.
Calvary Public Hospital is a publicly-funded hospital run by Catholic organisation Little Company of Mary.
In a submission to an ongoing maternity committee inquiry, Health Services Commissioner Karen Toohey said it may be appropriate to investigate the claims further, as it is a publicly-funded hospital.
“I have been advised some women are reluctant to use Calvary services for these reasons or where they may be in a same-sex relationship or marriage,” she said.
She encouraged the committee to investigate the matter, especially considering the limited availability of maternity services in the ACT and the need for Calvary facilities to be effectively utilised.
A Calvary Public Hospital spokesman said the hospital’s policies were informed by a Catholic code of ethics for health services.
“That code reminds our clinicians that the responsibility for decision making about whether to accept or refuse treatment and other forms of care lies with the patient,” he said.
“The code makes it clear that there are certain procedures which are not offered in Catholic hospitals: this includes deliberate terminations.
“Calvary’s clinicians respond sensitively to their patients, providing comprehensive information and advice on therapeutic options.
“If the patient seeks information about services available at Calvary, our clinicians explain what is and what isn’t available at Calvary, and why.”
A spokeswoman for Health Minister Meegan Fitzharris said the government would continue to discuss the matter with Calvary and would soon write to Little Company of Mary to clarify its approach to women’s reproductive services.