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ACLU claims Durango hospital’s abortion stance is illegal

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The American Civil Liberties Union wants Durango’s Mercy Regional Medical Center to end its policy on abortion saying that policy violates state and federal laws, The Durango Herald reported.

In a letter sent Wednesday to state officials, the ACLU alleged that Mercy disciplined a doctor for suggesting that a patient’s condition might be fatal if she chose to continue her pregnancy, The Herald said.

ACLU lawyer Sara Rich wrote the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment asking for an investigation of Mercy’s alleged policy against recommending abortions for women with life-threatening conditions, the paper reported.

Mercy is owned by Catholic Health Initiatives and follows the ethical and religious directives for health care adopted by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which include a ban on associating with abortion providers, according to The Herald.

“Mercy Regional’s moral objection to abortion does not exempt the hospital from complying with the laws … and the hospital cannot invoke its religious status to jeopardize the health and lives of pregnant women seeking medical care,” Rich wrote in her letter.

Mercy spokesman David Bruzzese said the hospital is aware of the ACLU complaint and is following up directly with the Colorado health department, The Herald said.

“We feel the statements in the complaint are based on inaccurate information and look forward to resolving the issue directly with CDPHE,” Bruzzese said in a prepared statement. “We take seriously the care we provide to our patients. Those patients and our physicians are free to use all information in the medical literature to make appropriate medical decisions.”