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Church, state, and a university hospital

Inside Higher Ed, August 10, 2011

A proposal to merge the University of Louisville's teaching hospital with a Roman Catholic health system -- which would prohibit the hospital from providing sterilizations, abortions and other procedures that go against Catholic beliefs -- has provoked an uproar in Kentucky, where residents and lawmakers are questioning the role of religiously affiliated health providers in public medical education and health care. The University of Louisville Hospital, the primary teaching affiliate of the public university's medical school, also provides most of the care for the region's poor. The merger would combine three hospital systems, including the university's, under the auspices of Catholic Health Initiatives, based in Denver. The merged hospitals would be required to follow Roman Catholic health directives, which prohibit abortion, sterilization, embryonic stem cell research and some other procedures.