“The ACLU is right,” said Art Caplan, director of the division of medical ethics at New York University Langone Medical Center and a frequent NBC News contributor. “At a minimum, patients deserve to know all medically, not theologically, appropriate options. Minimally, patients have the right to know where to get those options. And if no other facility can perform them, patients have a right to expect that a hospital will put aside its theology and do what is medically best for each patient, even if that means violating a deeply held religious view.”
Mercy Health Partners is overseen by parent company Trinity Health, which merged in May with Catholic Health East, a health system that includes 82 hospitals in 21 states. It’s the second-largest non-profit health system in the U.S., according to Moody’s Investors Service.
The lawsuit alleges that Means' case was among five instances in which Mercy Health Partners had not induced labor in pregnant women whose water broke before their fetuses could survive. Joseph O’Meara, the hospital’s vice president of mission services, said that the directives authorized by the Catholic bishops prohibited the hospital from inducing labor.