Doubts Cast on ACLU-Backed Account of IUD Controversy at Catholic Hospital
A Chicago woman’s claim in court that she could not get a damaged contraceptive device removed does not fit with either Catholic teaching or the facts, Mercy Hospital contends.
CHICAGO — Last month, a Chicago woman with a dislodged intrauterine device claimed she was turned down for removal of the device at a Catholic hospital, claiming her doctor said the procedure went against Catholic rules on contraception.
Melanie Jones, 28, slipped and fell in her bathroom, dislodging her copper IUD to the point that it needed removal. She visited her doctor at Mercy Medical Group at Dearborn Station, an off-site location of Chicago's Mercy Hospital and Medical Center.
She claimed her doctor said she could not remove the IUD due to the hospital's policy of following the U.S. Catholic bishop’s ethical and religious directives for health care. Jones alleged the doctor also told her that every other hospital in her network followed the same restrictions.
Jones later filed a complaint with the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois against the hospital.
However, representative from Mercy Hospital told CNA on Sept. 6 that the doctors at Mercy Hospital offered to remove the woman’s IUD — the removal is an entirely ethical procedure from the Catholic moral standpoint — but Jones declined.
“This claim has no merit. The treatment Ms. Jones received at Mercy was entirely consistent with the standards of high-quality care,” Martin Folan, the director of mission and spirituality at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center said in an email.
“Mrs. Jones described to our clinical team a dislodged or troublesome IUD. When our Mercy physician followed our protocol and offered to remove the IUD, Ms. Jones declined the removal and left the clinic,” he said.
The ACLU has long opposed Catholic hospitals operating according to Catholic teaching. The group continually files claims against Catholic hospitals for following Church teaching in their practices.
In 2015, the ACLU sued Trinity Health Corporations, one of the largest Catholic health care operations in the U.S. and of which Mercy Hospital is a member, for their refusal to perform abortions and tubal ligations. The lawsuit was dismissed.
Folan said despite the allegations, Mercy Hospital remains committed to providing quality care to everyone they serve.
“Our priority at Mercy is the safety and well-being of the people we serve,” he said, “and we are committed to the high-quality care our ministry has provided for more than 150 years.”