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San Juan Island residents are requesting unrestricted women's health–care services from a new Catholic hospital opening in November. (Photo: Alex Proimos)

San Juan Island residents are requesting unrestricted women's health–care services from a new Catholic hospital opening in November. (Photo: Alex Proimos)

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San Juan Island Residents Fear Hospital Will Limit Women's Health Care Services

Ruby de Luna
09/19/2012

A group of San Juan Island residents are asking for assurances that a new hospital opening in November will not restrict women's health care services — that includes providing birth control and performing abortions. KUOW's Ruby de Luna reports.

TRANSCRIPT

For years San Juan Island residents have gone to Anacortes or to Bellingham for critical care because there's no hospital on the island. That's about to change in November. A 10–bed hospital will open in Friday Harbor. PeaceHealth will operate the facility and provide health care services. PeaceHealth is a Catholic–based health system. The hospital is funded through property taxes.

Monica Harrington lives on the island part time. She worries that the hospital will offer services based on Catholic views and not on what island residents need.

Harrington: "We think there should be a separation between church and state, and taxpayers shouldn't be required to subsidize a faith–based institution if it insists on imposing its religious views on patients and on doctors."

Harrington and more than 300 residents have signed a letter to the Island's Hospital District Commission. They want the commission to change its contract with PeaceHealth to make sure patients' rights are included.

A PeaceHealth official did not immediately return a call to comment for this story. PeaceHealth has said in public meetings that women's health services will continue in the new hospital. But critics like Harrington say they want those assurances in writing.

I'm Ruby de Luna, KUOW News.

© Copyright 2012, KUOW

11.01.14

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