by Ashley Martin
Humboldt hospital refuses to tie tubes
Just because a governing body thinks something is right, does that make it right?
Hundreds of years ago the Catholic Church had a monopoly over everything. For years they told people God would only for- give their sins with the payment of indulgences. The Church was rich, rich, rich, while the vast majority of underlings were poor and starving. Within the first decade of the Spanish Inquisition, the Church had burned approximately 2,000 peo- ple at the stake. During the Crusades they attempted to retake the Holy city of Jerusalem and, again, murdered masses of people. Were these things right? Undoubtedly not.
Today, you would think the "free and democratic society" we live in would allow people to make choices. Choose to be part of the Church, choose to have nothing to do with whatever god may or may not exist. You wouldn't think the Church would still have the pull they once did.
In Humboldt, SK, a town of about 5,600 people, the Church still has a lot of power, running an institution that is vitally important to a community.
The hospital in town, though it is associated with the Saskatoon Health Region and is funded by Saskatchewan taxpay- ers ($8.3 million a year), is owned by the Saskatchewan Catholic Health Corporation, and thus all the bishops of the province. In June, the board of directors of St. Elizabeth's Hospital decided not to allow tubal ligation surgeries in their hospital anymore.
Tubal ligation is a female sterilization technique that blocks off the fallopian tubes, preventing a woman from getting pregnant. It is a method of birth control, and it's no secret that the Catholic Church is against birth control.
A board of directors, howev- er, should be accountable to the body it is representing. In this case, it is the hospital board to the people of the Humboldt area.
If Saskatchewan taxpayers are funding this hospital, why did the board make a decision that is not even an issue in the province's other hospitals? Because the surgery contradicts the Catholic Health-Care Ethics Guide, and apparently the pub- licly funded hospital should be concerned with following Catholic ethics.
With this decision, a woman living in (or near) Humboldt can't go to her local hospital for an operation. Instead, she must travel an hour to a non-Catholic Saskatoon hospital. This takes the time and money to travel, and is a general inconvenience.
But, what's more of an inconvenience is that the reper- cussions of an unfair decision are being pushed on people who don't believe in it. It is undemo- cratic that the opportunity to have the surgery is being denied to everyone. It is not as though tubal ligation surgery was being pushed on every female patient in the area.
Saskatchewan Education does not allow the sole school in a region to be a Catholic school. They mandate balance and options - the education in a pub- lic school would be public, with no religion dominating the teach- ing. Why does Saskatchewan Health allow for a region's hos- pital to be governed by a reli- gious group without offering an alternative?
Children can choose a school that is not influenced by a reli- gious viewpoint. Why don't patients have the same opportu- nity? Governmental and publicly funded institutions should not have religious affiliations unless there is another readily available alternative.