ACLU Sues to Force Washington Hospital to Perform Abortions

hospital II pdSEATTLE — The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit against a hospital in Washington in an effort to force the facility to perform abortions on-site.

The suit claims that Skagit Regional Health is not following state’s Reproductive Privacy Act, which requires medical facilities that provide maternity care to likewise offer abortion services. The legal challenge was filed on behalf of Kevan Coffey, a licensed nurse practitioner and doctoral nursing student.

“As a woman and a health care provider, I care deeply about reproductive health issues. I want to make sure that women throughout Washington have access to the full range of reproductive health care services,” she said in a statement. “And I personally want to have all options, including abortion, available to me.”

The ACLU asserts that Skagit Regional Health has been providing maternity services, but does not offer drug-induced abortions and rarely performs surgical abortions. It is asking the court to order the hospital to make abortions more readily available.

“The right of women to choose or to refuse to have an abortion is fundamental and has long been recognized under Washington law,” said Executive Director Kathleen Taylor. “We want to ensure that all women in our state can access the full range of reproductive health care at public health facilities in their communities.”

The organization has also sent letters to hospitals in Mason County, Jefferson County, and Whidbey Island to urge compliance.

As previously reported, in 2013, Attorney General Robert Ferguson and Deputy Solicitor Alan Copsey released an opinion likewise stating that hospitals must offer such services under the law if they also offer maternity care.

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“At the end of the day, if you’re a … public hospital that provides maternity services, if you do that, then you must provide substantially equivalent services related to contraception and abortion,” the opinion stated. “There are more than 50 public hospitals in Washington and this affects all of them.”

In terms of situations where a public hospital contracts with religiously-owned medical organizations that will not perform abortions nor provide contraception, the hospital would be in violation of the law if it did not somehow find a way for the services to be performed.

“In short, in the scenario you describe, where a public hospital district provides ‘maternity care benefits, services, or information to women’ and fails to provide the ‘substantially equivalent benefits, services, or information’ required in [the law], the district would violate [state regulations],” Ferguson and Copsey wrote.

Therefore, they explained, if public hospitals don’t want to offer abortion services at their facilities, then they need to stop offering maternity care.

“It is clear under the statute, however, that public hospital districts may not administer or fund programs to provide ‘maternity care benefits, services, or information to women’ without also making provision for the [abortion] rights secured by RCW 9.02.100 and .160,” the opinion advised. “I-120 does not require that a public hospital district provide ‘maternity care benefits, services, or information to women.’”

Joseph Backholm of the Family Policy Institute of Washington said that he viewed the matter as another attempt by the government to force Christians and those of other religious faiths to violate their consciences.

“[I]t is a local manifestation of a national campaign to require conformity with government dogma on issues like abortion as a condition of being part of the public square,” he wrote in an article about the matter.


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  • Gary

    The aclu loves to see children murdered.

    • Jan van Niekerk

      Perhaps so, but this case suggests that they would like others to get the blood on their hands.

  • Susan Ford Keller

    What’s up with Washington? Personal choice to abstain in the case of vaccinations, is intolerable to WA lawmakers. Personal choice of doctors not to perform abortions, is intolerable to WA lawmakers. Personal choice of religious people to not participate in anything contrary to their religious beliefs [Baronelle Stutzman], is intolerable to WA lawmakers. Will WA rule that hospitals cannot provide health care if hospitals do not provide euthanasia?

  • TheBBP

    Evidently the right to choose has become a political ideology used to attempt to enforce a certain world view and subhuman standards.

  • Frank

    In WA if you help babies live you must also murder babies…. Absolute unconscionable inhuman satanic laws, practices and mindset in WA.

  • MarkT.

    I would suggest that the people in that state get their lawmakers to change the law.

    • Ambulance Chaser

      And if they can’t, then you’ll accept that the law is the law, then, right? The people have spoken?

      • WorldGoneCrazy

        You, Sir, just made an excellent argument for accepting the laws in favor of slavery and the Nazi’s gassing of the Jews. It’s a good thing that there are real men left in this world who are not cowards when immoral laws are put in place.

        “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke God bless!

        • Ambulance Chaser

          I didn’t make any argument at all. I just asked a question, to which I’m still waiting for an answer.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            I thought your question was rhetorical, when you wrote: “And if they can’t, then you’ll accept that the law is the law, then, right?”

            Perhaps I misunderstood you, but you seem to be saying here that we should accept that “the law is the law,” in the sense that we should not seek to overturn any laws. Did I misunderstand you?

          • Ambulance Chaser

            My point is that the Right frequently grouses about “the will of the people” whenever a court decision overturns a gay marriage law that was voted on. If “the People” speak, and say they want abortion to remain legal, then by the same definition, you have to accept your loss.

            If we’re going to be honest here, no one cares about the democratic process, just the outcome. You don’t like abortion, you want to overturn Roe v. Wade, fine, but let’s not pretend you’re supporting some kind of governmental values. You just want to see abortion gone. You’re not going to stop when you hit a setback, just like gay marriage proponents have every right to challenge laws THEY don’t like.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            Awesome! I could not agree more with you. We all want “immoral” laws overturned, regardless if they are legislated “by the people” or “by judicial tyranny.” I actually can’t believe I agree with you.

            The only very slight disagreement with what you said was this: “but let’s not pretend you’re supporting some kind of governmental values.” I agree with you, but I would raise the stakes: I want laws enacted that conform to the morality of the objective moral Law Giver. In that sense, I want to see the government reflect that philosophy, not through a theocracy, but through a basic sophomore-level understanding that our (objective) rights come from our Creator, not from our feelings or wishes or desires or preferences, etc. This was well understood at the founding of our nation, but is completely lost in post-modern Amerika.

            Other than that, I agree that you have hit it spot on. Can you get liberals to stop pretending to believe in the “rule of law” too? Good job and God bless, Ambulance Chaser!

  • Harry Oh!

    The ACLU brought to you by lovely jews.

    • rachel

      You are confused, the Jews run the ACLJ and are currently fighting against the abortion industry. They are the complete opposite of the ACLU.

      • Harry Oh!

        The ACLU is run by jews, I most definitely am not confused.

        • rachel

          You are right, however it has nothing to do with ethnicity and everything to do with the morals of the individual people whether Jews or anyone else. The ACLJ is also run by Jews and they fight for the complete opposite of the ACLU. It is wrong to blame a whole ethnicity of people for what a few of their views are. It’s a moral problem not an ethnicity problem.

          • Harry Oh!

            Call it what you want to make yourself feel better.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            Thank you, Amen!

  • Rey G

    Don’t medical professionals take an oath to promote or protect life and health ? Isn’t abortion the termination of life of the unborn ? Death.

    • Frank

      Yes but that is too logical, sane, loving, humane and the right thing.

    • MamaBear

      Doctors do, but there is a revised version used by many medical schools that leaves out the part against abortion.

  • Mary Kilbride

    That isn’t “reproductive health”….it is murder. Pure and simple.

  • WorldGoneCrazy

    ““As a woman and a health care provider, I care deeply about reproductive health issues. I want to make sure that women throughout Washington have access to the full range of reproductive health care services,” she said in a statement. “And I personally want to have all options, including abortion, available to me.””

    Quite stunning that someone who has surely taken basic human biology would be so ignorantly confused of the difference between “reproductive health care services” and “abortion.” Someone needs to explain to this “nurse practitioner” that by the time the baby killers (abortion) show up on the scene, the “reproduction” has long ago concluded. It’s actually quite scary that a woman this ill-trained who does not even know basic human biology will be “practicing” on anyone.

    • MamaBear

      One of my daughters actually told me that she has Protestant friends who went into nursing who choose to work in Catholic hospitals to avoid being involved in immoral medical procedures like abortion.

      • WorldGoneCrazy

        Yes, indeed! I will leave out the details, but I know of one person near and dear to me who asked a Catholic hospital to withhold basic treatment (way outside of the parameters of a living will) in what would turn out to be an end-of-life situation. I warned her not to make the request, as this was a Catholic hospital, and the reaction to such nonsense would certainly be swift and severe. She came back with egg on her face and ruler marks on her knuckles! God bless the Catholic nuns! I told my wife, a Catholic nurse, about the request, and she blew a fuse. She rarely speaks, and shows tremendous grace, but let’s just say it was a good thing she was a large distance away from the woman who made the request. 🙂

        • MamaBear

          I have been in many discussions with people who do not understand the difference between ending treatment when there is no more hope and leaving it in God’s hands, or what basically amounts to euthanizing the patient. So many people these days cannot or will not understand that difference.
          Amazingly, many healthy people also don’t understand that most people with some kind of terminal diagnosis oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide.
          God bless the nurses like your wife.
          And we definitely need more of those nuns with rulers!

          • Basset_Hound

            Did either you or WGC catch Frontline? It was about patients running out of options and facing death. It was not a “rah-rah euthanasia” program, but one where the doctors did everything they could to make the patients comfortable. One man, surrounded by loved ones and family, described his final days as being some of the best in his life.

          • MamaBear

            No, I didn’t. But we need more of that to counteract the pro-death crowd.

        • Basset_Hound

          See post to MamaBear, below.

        • Basset_Hound

          Nightie-Night World. Stay safe, warm and dry.

  • Nina Khong

    Today this happens. When with the day come when ACLU forces persons to have abortions done at the hospital it today forces to do abortions! Total anarchy!!

  • Dr. Dee Tee

    someone should sue the aclu. no one should be forced to commit abortions. judges should see through this scam and place penalties upon that law organization