The University of California has decided not to form an expanded partnership between its San Francisco campus and a Catholic hospital system — but only after an outpouring of warranted criticisms.
In April, we wrote about the “affiliation” between UCSF and Dignity Health, which routinely discriminates against women and LGBTQ people because its primary obligation is to the Catholic Church and not the patients. In Catholic hospitals, birth control and abortion care are forbidden, as are vasectomies, tubal ligations, end-of-life care, and other procedures.
We also learned in May that the partnership wasn’t just bad; it was potentially illegal.
There was enough pushback that the school finally decided to scrap the three-year negotiation and end the deal entirely, which is a huge win for reproductive rights and medical education.
The decision reflects concerns that had been raised among UCSF medical professionals and advocates for women’s healthcare and LGBTQ advocates about the proposed affiliation…
… those concerns stemmed from Dignity’s adherence to Catholic Church dictates regarding women’s reproductive healthcare and transgender services, among others.
There’s power in speaking out, especially when the most fierce opposition comes from medical professionals who know exactly what’s at stake when a public university partners with a Catholic institution. The side that puts patients first has won. It’s just too bad it took this much work for administrators to finally do the right thing.
UC officials are actually trying to downplay the importance of their near-deal instead of apologizing for even considering it.
In a separate statement, the administration said it wouldn’t bring any proposals regarding Dignity Health before the regents at upcoming meetings in June and July. It said the affiliation plan had been “still under discussion and had not been finalized” before the decision was made to abandon it. UCSF said that previous arrangements with Dignity hospitals in the Bay Area, which dealt with clinical programs on a limited scale, would continue.
“We’ve heard a growing chorus of concern from multiple stakeholders…in light of the passage of very severe anti-abortion legislation in many states.”
In an emailed statement, Dignity Health said, “We have heard and understand the concerns raised by UCSF faculty and others relating to the proposed partnership between Dignity Health and UCSF Health, and agree that we cannot move forward with the partnership as originally planned.”
Ah, the sound of religion and public education not merging. That’s music to my ears.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Brian for the link)