Modern Healthcare - - NEWS -

Le­gal ex­perts say al­leg­ing neg­li­gence might also prove a strong ar­gu­ment.

“That’s the more promis­ing route when you have an ac­tual in­stance of de­nial of care or plain­tiff who’s been dam­aged,” Hill said. “Courts are more com­fort­able mak­ing th­ese de­ci­sions based on con­crete facts.”

That ar­gu­ment, how­ever, has al­ready failed the ACLU at least once.

The ACLU sued the U.S. Con­fer­ence of Catholic Bish­ops over the care of Tame­sha Means at Trin­ity’s Mercy Health Muskegon (Mich.). The suit al­leged she sought emer­gency care when she was preg­nant and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing con­trac­tions. It turned out she had a bac­te­rial in­fec­tion, but Means was never told that early ter­mi­na­tion was an op­tion or that con­tin­u­ing with the preg­nancy could harm or even kill her, ac­cord­ing to the law­suit. She gave birth at 18 weeks and the baby died.

Means al­leged neg­li­gence, but a U.S. Dis­trict Court judge said in June he could not de­ter­mine whether the es­tab­lish­ment of the di­rec­tives it­self con­sti­tuted neg­li­gence be­cause it would in­volve an in­quiry into church doc­trine.

The ACLU filed an ap­peal with the 6th U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals in July.

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