“Catholic” Hospital Has Abortionist on Staff

Wednesday, July 27, AD 2011

Hattip to Creative Minority Report. In a story that sums up quite nicely so much that is wrong with the Church in America, Lifesite News has the tale of an abortionist on staff at Mercy Regional Medical Center in Durango, Colorado.

After a Catholic hospital in Colorado refused to remove a Planned Parenthood abortionist from its ob/gyn staff, pro-life advocates have organized a protest, featuring Live Action President Lila Rose, on Aug. 4.

“The reason I perform abortions is because I’m a Christian,” Richard Grossman, a Quaker, told the Durango Herald after a similar protest outside Mercy Regional Medical Center last year.  “Personally, I believe in the strength, intellect and fortitude of women. When a woman says a fetus is a person, I think it is one. I believe the woman empowers the fetus.”

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27 Responses to “Catholic” Hospital Has Abortionist on Staff

  • Why am I not surprised?

    Confusion and doubt abound. If the bishops don’t get it right what hope is there?

  • When the clergy will not defend Catholic teaching T.Shaw, the laity have a duty, not a right but a duty, to do so themselves.

  • Yes, this is truly appalling. But, as one of the commenters at Creative Minority Report points out, having “privileges” at a hospital is NOT the same as being a PAID staff member, which means the hospital may be legally limited in how much action it can take against him over what he does in his private practice (since it doesn’t actually provide the doc with a paycheck). Also, if he’s had privileges at said hospital for 44 years, that goes back to 1967 — well before Roe. He may not have been performing abortions or publicly advocating abortion back when he was originally granted staff privileges. However, I find it hard to believe that the hospital has absolutely no recourse at all, or that the diocese could deem this situation not to be in conflict with the Ethical and Religious Directives.

  • He is a staff member at Mercy Regional Medical Center Elaine. Apparently the powers that be at Mercy are attempting to make this pig stink less by playing at meaningless word games:


  • I suppose he is a staff member in the same sense that I am a “staff member” of the local newspapers that I worked as a freelance stringer/correspondent for. Still, if I were involved in some scandalous conduct that cast a bad light on the publication I was stringing for, they wouldn’t hesistate to stop accepting my work, and there must be some means by which Mercy can do the same. At this late date and after having allowed him to continue with staff privileges for so many years, they would certainly be risking a lawsuit, but so be it.

  • Well said Elaine. Most doctors who work for hospitals are not actually paid by the hospital. They are granted hospital privileges and are considered independent contractors. However, that does not stop the hospital calling them staff members and not infrequently mentioning them in advertising about what fine care they provide. In the minds of the public the staff doctor is associated with the hospital and the hospital is associated with the doctor just as if an employee employer relationship existed. Note this from the Mercy web-site:

    “Medical staff at Mercy is comprised of 135 board-certified physicians who represent 35 medical specialties and sub-specialties One of the largest employers in Durango with more than 700 full and part-time employees.”

    Here is some info on the abortionist. Mercy is the only hospital he is affiliated with.


  • I know of at least one Catholic hospital that refers/outsources abortion cases to an non-affiliated clinic.

  • The name “Catholic” apparently doesn’t mean anything to schools, Universities, hospitals, etc. This is what happens when we start focusing on social justice issues, ignoring the weighty issues of repentance and conversion. John 6:24-27:

    “When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into boats and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus. And when they found him across the sea they said to him, ‘Rabbi, when did you get here?’ Jesus answered them and said, ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.'”

    I am coming to the conclusion that the best thing the Church can do is to get out of the health care, education and adoption businesses, and start focusing on saving souls from eternal damnation. After all, Jesus said in Matthew 28:19-20:

    “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

    There is nothing in that statement about hospitals, adoption agencies, schools or universities.

  • I disagree Paul. The Amish style of withdrawal from the World has never been what the Catholic Church does. Our mission is to convert the World. We need to reclaim our institutions, our hospitals, adoption agencies, schools and unversities and we need to be busy about the work of converting all the nations.

  • ‘The Amish style of withdrawal from the World has never been what the Catholic Church does.’

    Don, you’re forgetting about countless Catholic monastic orders that live in virtual seclusion and spent entire lives with no contact with the outside world.

  • Not at all Joe. The monastic life has never been for more than a minute portion of the Catholic population and never has been recommended by the Church for the entire population. Engagement in the World so as to Christianize it, not retreat from it, has ever been the message of the Church for the vast majority of Catholics.

  • Don,

    I’ll compromise. First, let’s clean up our parishes and dioceses. Let’s return to preaching the Gospel of repentance and conversion. Let’s put the Bread of Eternal Life first. Then, when we can do that right, we might be able to return to social justice activism. But right now, social justice activism has replaced Jesus Christ as God in much of what passes for Catholicism in these United States. While yes we are called to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, care for the sick, etc., NONE of these things are the GOAL of the Gospel. The goal is repentance and conversion. It is righteousness and holiness, NOT filled bellies. Even Jesus said that.

  • “On staff” at a hospital generally means a physician has privileges. Unless they are made a director of a certain department, they are usually not employees of the hospital.

    Credentialing and privileging is controlled by the medical staff bylaws and the medical executive committees and board of trustees, who are independent of the hospital management/ownership. There is a little the hospital can do with morality clauses, but it may be difficult to restrict because if the hospital wants to be viable as an ongoing concern (whether profit or non-profit) it will most likely have to be medicare/medicaid certified. That means it will have to comply with fed regs that can require certain provisions in bylaws, etc. For example, privileges have to be reviewed/renewed every two years.

    There are other restrictions. Because a hospital has to be licensed by the state as well as the physician, the state can impose requirements on credentialing and privileging. There are minimum due process rights a physician has with respect to obtaining privileges at a hospital, so whether a “no abortion on your own time” restriction would work is probably an open question.

  • So Mercy Hospital blandly asserts that it is unable to remove a doctor
    from its staff because while what he does outside of the hospital
    undercuts everything a Catholic institution should stand for, it’s still
    perfectly legal.

    Why do I get the feeling Mercy Hospital wouldn’t be so willing to
    throw in the towel on getting this man out if he were discovered to be,
    say, a member of a neo-nazi group? Really, would their response to
    the press and outraged Catholics be just as tepid as it in this case?

  • Clinton, a neo-nazi could be a threat to patients. A better analogy may be if the abortionist was openly gay and cohabitating with another man. In that case, I can easily imagine a similar response from the hospital.

    Suppose it wasn’t a doctor but the hospital’s IT guy. Would people still be outraged?

  • RR, certainly an abortionist could be considered a threat to Mercy’s patients, at least
    its’ unborn ones. I used the example of a neo-nazi because while such an affiliation
    is legal, it would be very controversial and certainly politically incorrect. Would the
    hospital continue to blandly assert that such a person wasn’t doing anything illegal
    and so could not be denied privileges, or would they work overtime to somehow get
    such a person off the staff? Of course they would, and a good days work it would be.

    I suspect that this doctor has been on the staff of Mercy Hospital for 44 years yet
    has made no bones about his pro-abortion work because the other staff of that
    hospital think that killing babies is not a huge deal. I would go so far as to say that
    Mercy Hospital is a secular, decadent hospital that uses a thin, decorative veneer of
    Catholicity as a marketing tool, with no real commitment to the Church’s teachings.

  • “Suppose it wasn’t a doctor but the hospital’s IT guy. Would people still be outraged?”

    I certainly would RR. Abortionists should have no connection with Catholic hospitals. In a morally sane era, this would be a subject for black humor rather than an appalling reality.

  • I asked my mother about this one. She’s a doctor and has been on the board of her hospital, for profit not Catholic, but they follow the same regulations. She said that once a doctor has privileges at the hospital it is nearly impossible to remove him unless he does something illegal or negligent at the hospital itself. Since this doctor has been at the hospital since before Roe, I don’t believe he can be removed by the hospital unless he were performing abortions at the hospital itself. He could also take retaliatory action against the hospital by excessively using resources (ordering unnecessary tests for non-paying patients, leaving patients admitted for longer than needed etc.). He could make life very difficult for everyone at the hospital if he wanted to, and they wouldn’t be able to remove him. What protesters can do is draw attention to the doctor through public pressure and encourage his regular ob/gyn patients not to use him. But I think the hospital is probably stuck between a rock and hard place.

  • So the law is rigged to protect an evil abortionist but defame the righteous pro-lifer and murder the innocent baby. Truly what is the difference between this abortionist “physician” and his spiritual Nazi fore bearers?

  • “He could make life very difficult”

    Time for protesters to make life very difficult for this murderous “physician”, including, I trust, the Bishop of the Diocese. You know, the stunning part of this is that I am sure that this bozo didn’t begin doing abortions the day before yesterday. This probably has gone on for decades, and, as far as I can tell, protests about this have only begun very recently. Time also for Catholic hospitals to include a “morals clause” in their agreements with physicians. Such are standard in the broadcast industry and would perhaps give Catholic hospitals an avenue for quick firing of “physicians” who decide that giving death is their true vocation.

  • No you’re talking, Donald!

  • Now you’re talking, Donald!

  • Ignore the “no” – I hate iPad editing!

  • “I know of at least one Catholic hospital that refers/outsources abortion cases to an non-affiliated clinic.”

    what is the name and the location?

  • “When the clergy will not defend Catholic teaching T.Shaw, the laity have a duty, not a right but a duty, to do so themselves.”

    not without a price to pay. Come to boston and find out.

  • Jasper, St. Mary’s Hospital in Rhinelander, WI, Marshfield Clinic, Marshfield, WI

3 Catholic Hospitals To Close Allegedly Because Of Obamacare?

Monday, October 11, AD 2010

CatholicVote is mounting a campaign to bring attention to 3 Catholic Hospitals that are closing. The CEO said that ObamaCare “absolutely” factored into the decision.

This is certainly a troubling concern, made more so by the allegations that the White House, the local media, and Sr. Keehan have tried their best to quiet the story.

However, one has to be cautious. The report that CV apparently relies on is based on a doctor’s opinion-a doctor that does not appear to have any knowledge of the actual discussions at the hospitals in question. This unnamed doctor alleges that it is due to Obamacare restricting the ability of the hospital to collect Medicare reimbursements and thereby making its debt unbearable.

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8 Responses to 3 Catholic Hospitals To Close Allegedly Because Of Obamacare?

  • Pingback: 3 Catholic Hospitals to Close Allegedly Because of Obamacare?: The American Catholic « Deacon John's Space
  • I agree with the overall gist of your post but I feel obliged to say that “unbearable debt” and “not profitable enough” are two quite different financial states. Your use of the phrase “not profitable enough” seems intended to imply that greed might be a factor. Exactly how much debt should Americans, catholic or otherwise, have rammed down their throats before they resist? Should we wait until the Greek debt crisis, with its concomitant violent civil unrest, looks like amateur hour compared to our own economic collapse? I do however agree that pro-life issues are a separate issue, and even more important, in this particular context.

  • Ugh, pardon my grammatical pratfall in that last sentence. Hopefully my point still came through.

  • Your use of the phrase “not profitable enough” seems intended to imply that greed might be a factor.

    I understand why you might think that, though it was not intentional. I only meant “not profitable” enough in order to have the resources to pay back its debt. I’m not accusing the hospital of short-changing patients in order to make a bigger buck somewhere else.

  • While Obamacare may not be a factor in the hospitals’ decisions, I can tell you non-profit hospitals are very afraid of what health care reform will do to revenues.

    The cover of a hospital administration magazine recently had its cover story about the potential threat to non-profits that health care reform holds. The cover photo was of a Catholic hospital.

  • Here’s from the CEO of the involved hospitals:

    “”Actually we’re doing well. We’re ahead of budget for the year. It’s more that when we look out over the landscape of health care over the next five years and the needs of these facilities, the needs of this community, we understand a different level of investment will be needed than what we can do on our own,” Cook said.

    They said much of that required investment is the result of the health care reform bill passed in Washington.

    The CEO said it means the need for more spending and less federal reimbursements.

    “Health care reform is absolutely playing a role. Was it the precipitating factor in this decision? No, but was it a factor in our planning over the next five years? Absolutely,” Cook added.”

  • Philip:

    Do you have a link for that quote?

    I’m a little confused by the quote, but it sounds like the hospitals think they’re required to expand services/facilities and combined with the other investment the hospital needs to do, the budget isn’t there so they want to bring in private investment to take over so the investment in the community can occur.

    While that may be a little more damning of Obamacare, it’s still a very tenuous connection. After all, they say the planning began before Obamacare, suggesting that much of the investment couldn’t be afforded even if Obamacare was passed.

    Regardless, CV needs to produce a lot more evidence before making the claims it’s making. A sentence quote isn’t enough.

Should Catholic Hospitals Remain Tax Exempt?

Friday, March 19, AD 2010

On the heels of the Catholic Health Association’s endorsement of Obamacare comes another precedent-setting decision affecting Catholic hospitals and other institutions.

The Illinois Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a Catholic hospital in downstate Urbana is not entitled to exemption from local property taxes because, among other things, it failed to devote enough of its resources to charity care of patients:

Provena Covenant Medical Center, one of six hospitals in the Provena Health system, had fought for six years to regain the tax exemption stripped from it in 2003 by a local tax board. Since then the hospital has been paying more than $1 million per year in local property taxes. The case was being watched by Catholic hospitals around the nation because of its precedent setting potential, and the Catholic Health Association intervened in the case.

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7 Responses to Should Catholic Hospitals Remain Tax Exempt?

  • Here is a link to the text of the decision courtesy of Illinipundit.


  • Part of me wishes to say chickens meet roost. You want government to run the show in regard to health care? This is a taste of what you can expect, you bloody fools!

    However, I do believe this is an appallingly bad decision from a public policy standpoint. I do not want government micro-managing charities. I especially do not want judges attempting to do it, since they have no expertise outside of the law. I do think that too many non-profits differ little from their for profit brethren, but my concern in that area is outweighed by my fear of government intervention doing long term damage to all charities in this country.

    A great and timely post Elaine.

  • I think you might reduce if not eliminate finicky controversies of this nature if you replaced property and general sales taxes with simple personal income levies as a means of state and local finance. An incorporated entity might still be held responsible for collecting Pigouvian excises, paying tolls and fees for select services (e.g. water provision), and paying excises for their purchases of supplies (of gasoline, for example). Taxes on the net profits of corporations could be limited to those which have a body of owners to which to pay dividends, which would commonly exempt philanthropies.

  • Just recenty we had a chaplin for Ministry for Prisoners to help prepare them for life in the outside world. I was told that they cannot speak about the Gospel to their clients because they recieve money from the Faith Based Initiatives fund.

    This plus the problem of our “Catholic” Colleges and Universities speak loud and clear to me that taking Government money is the Devil’s bargin. But evidently the Hierarchy does not agree.


  • I don’t think that the “Catholicity” problem of our colleges and universities can fairly be laid at the doorstep of government funding. Most such funding actually goes directly to students or is earmarked for specific research, and this funding does not include problematic strings. Catholic primary and high schools also have similar “Catholicity” issues even though they typically receive no government funding at all. This is not to say that government funding does not create risks and problems in some environments, but I think the case against it is more murky and contextual than clearcut.

    As far as tax exemptions go, I do think the public policy of extending such exemptions to non-profit organizations is sensible to the extent such organizations provide servics that reduce the burdens that otherwise fall on government. In such cases, the exemption is not only in the interest of the non-profit, but also in the interest of government.

    But as Faustina suggests non-targeting general funding of a charitable organization by the government does present some legitimate challenges for faith-based charities. The United States Supreme Court has said that faith-based organizations may not use “direct” government support to support “inherently religious” activities. Basically, this means a grantee may not use any part of a direct federal grant to fund religious worship, instruction, or proselytization. Instead, organizations may use government money only to support the non-religious social services that they provide. Therefore, faith-based organizations that receive direct governmental funds must normally take steps to separate, in time or location, their inherently religious activities from the government-funded services that they offer. Such organizations should also carefully account for their use of all government money. This does not mean a charitable organization can’t have religious activities. It simply means it can’t use taxpayer dollars to fund them. Some faith-based organizations set up separate charitable organizations (so-called “501(c)(3) corporations”) to keep programs that receive government money separate from those that engage in inherently religious activities. Whether these encumbrances are inappropriately burdensome on a Catholic non-profits mission depends on the nature of that mission, but in some cases they would be.

  • I guess that is a mistaken impression about the colleges; I remember reading some where about the Land o’Lakes resolution declaring their independence from the Magisterium. They opted to become like secular schools wit lay governance and government grants. Maybe the idea was that the board started to cater to the thinking of politicians who push that grant money.

    The other example I can think of is a person who use to work for the Archdiocese of ….. She said their was nothing Catholic about the local Catholic Charities. This corroborates what I have heard from some other urban Catholics in another city that “on the street” people go to the Catholic church for social services but go elsewhere for the Gospel…

  • That would go along with what I’ve been hearing in a course I’ve been taking. Personal conversion is not important as personal orthodoxy is not important. What is important is right action or orthopraxis. When there is orthopraxis then there will be orthodoxy. Of course orthopraxis gets defined as greater govt. social programs.