FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: David Miller
EASTSIDE FORUM TO EXAMINE IMPLICATIONS OF MERGERS OF CATHOLIC AND SECULAR HEALTHCARE SYSTEMS
On Thursday, June 19, a panel of experts will discuss existing and potential restrictions on healthcare services provided by formerly independent and secular healthcare systems that have merged with Catholic ones. The forum, titled "Religious Doctrine, Medical Best Practice and You", will take place from 7:00-9:00 p.m. at Bellevue's First Congregational Church at 752 108th Ave. NE. It is being sponsored by the Greater Seattle Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
Participating on the panel will be representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood, the University of Washington School of Nursing, Compassion and Choices of Washington, and Catholic Watch. Dave Miller, president of the Greater Seattle Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, will moderate.
The purpose of the forum is to make Washingtonians aware of the increasing percentage of Washington hospital beds (now nearing 50 percent) subject to the ethical and religious directives of Catholic healthcare systems, such as PeaceHealth, Providence and Franciscan. These directives impose restrictions on reproductive, women's health and end-of-life care. Panel members will discuss whether such restrictions violate federal or state law, as well as what remedies are available. Questions from the audience will be welcome after the panel presentations.
"We are committed to separation of church and state because we believe it is best for government and for religious belief," says Dave Miller, president of American United's Greater Seattle Chapter. "Government funds provide care for patients in almost all healthcare systems. In a nation of diverse religious beliefs, we question whether any church's religious doctrine should determine healthcare decisions."
(Free parking for the event will be available in the parking lot to the east of the church via the entrance on NE 8th St. between 108th Ave. NE and 110th Ave. NE.)