The city of Austin, Texas, is looking for ways to continue to provide sterilizations and other reproductive services to patients of its public hospital after the Catholic system running the hospital announced it can no longer allow the procedures to be performed there.
St. Louis-based Ascension Health gave notice this month that the city may no longer offer reproductive procedures at Brackenridge Hospital. The notice anticipated last week's decision by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops to tighten rules for Catholic healthcare services (See story, this page).
Ascension Health's Austin-based network, called the Seton Healthcare Network, operates Brackenridge under a 30-year lease signed in 1995. The deal was signed by the Daughters of Charity National Health System, which merged with Sisters of St. Joseph Health System in 1999 to form Ascension Health.
About 400 sterilizations are performed annually at the 312-bed hospital.