First, Catholic hospitals operate in one of the most highly regulated sectors of the economy. For example, since 1973, California's Health and Safety Code has required hospitals to provide patients with emergency medical treatment, and the federal government has had a similar law since 1986, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act. Under these laws, if a hospital cannot treat an emergency patient, the hospital is required to stabilize the patient and transfer her to a facility that can.
During the more than 40 years these statutes have been in existence, neither the state nor federal government has identified one instance in which a pregnant woman received inappropriate emergency treatment at a Catholic hospital. Moreover, an extensive, but preliminary report by Washington state's Healthcare Research Group on access to reproductive services and assisted-suicide recently concluded, “Those services assessed do not appear to suggest that communities predominantly served by religious hospitals are experiencing barriers to care.”
Second, there are 54 Catholic-affiliated hospitals in California. They represent about 16.5% of all California hospitals, more than 20% of emergency room visits and 21.5% of births. Despite their substantial presence, Catholic hospitals have not diminished the availability of abortion in California. According to the Guttmacher Institute, California has an abortion rate per 1,000 women ages 15-44 well above the national average, and performs more abortions than any other state. Only 1% of California women live in counties that have no abortion provider.