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Over objections, MD will lease land to Catholic hospital



Over the objections of Maryland women's rights groups, a state panel agreed Wednesday to lease land to a Roman Catholic hospital that does not generally perform abortions or provide birth control. The proposed Holy Cross Hospital would be the first in three decades to be constructed in fast-growing Montgomery County. The project has drawn controversy because it would be built on public land but follow Catholic doctrine barring some types of care. "We're disappointed," said NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland Executive Director Jodi Finkelstein. "We would have liked to have seen a different outcome." Holy Cross Hospital CEO Kevin J. Sexton defended the proposed 93-bed facility by saying the county desperately needs a new hospital and arguing that no single hospital provides every service. During a lengthy hearing on Wednesday, all three members of the Board of Public Works grilled him on the care that would and would not be allowed—in some instances offering detailed scenarios. In the end, all voted to support the $8 million ground lease for land on the Montgomery College campus in Germantown.
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