Private Religious Hospitals: Limitations Upon Autonomous Moral Choices in Reproductive Medicine
William W. Bassett
University of San Francisco - School of Law
Journal of Contemporary Health Law and Policy, Vol. 17, No. 2, p. 455, 2001
Contemporary managed care imperatives have severely limited an individual's right to make free and informed choices regarding his or her own health care. The author posits that legislation allowing private, religiously affiliated hospitals to refuse patient requests for legitimate health care services - particularly reproductive medicine - must be reconsidered.
Ethical exemptions allowing religious hospitals to refuse sensitive and controversial medical services such as abortion, sterilization and prescription of contraceptive drugs, AIDS counseling, and fertilization are virtually unlimited. However, these institutional privileges cannot remain absolute. Private hospital exemptions should be re-written, with clear limitations conditioned upon newly evolving public policy imperatives for informed choice in comprehensive patient health care plans.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 130
Keywords: Private religious hospitals, health care, HMO, managed care, Free Exercise clause, First amendment
JEL Classification: K32
Date posted: May 21, 2008