The decision by Providence Health to stop distributing a guide on low-income health care services jointly published by Street Roots and the Multnomah County Department of Health because the 104-page guide lists Planned Parenthood as one of the services available is deeply disappointing and should cause public agencies to review any contracts with Providence Health and for Oregonians to consider whether or not they want to continue supporting Providence with contributions - or even to seek medical care at Providence facilities.
Providence Health's decision to deny much needed health care information about available resources to vulnerable populations in our community, along with health care workers, does nothing to advance the common good. Providence Health is operated by the the Sisters of Providence, a Roman Catholic organization, and I certainly respect their opposition to abortion services which is deeply rooted in their faith and is not political. But Providence Health's decision to stop distributing this guide, which includes information on family planning, will only increase unwanted pregnancies and thus increase the number of abortions. It will hurt many others who are seeking emergency shelter, housing, alcohol and drug treatment and mental health treatment.
The radicalization of the Roman Catholic Church's position on this issue, along with the lines they have crossed over it into the partisan political arena at the national level, is deeply concerning. If they are unable to provide medical care to Multnomah County residents in a way that is respectful of the church's values and the medical needs of women and low-income residents there are other hospitals than can. It is time to review the place of Providence Health in the Portland community.
It is worth noting that many in the faith community support letting women make their own health care decisions. The United Church of Christ and the the United Methodist Church are among many Christian denominations, along with interfaith communities, that make up the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.