Hoag Hospital Abortion Ban Draws Protesters

If you see protesters outside Newport Beach's Hoag Hospital today, those won't be your usual nurses or medical technicians picketing over stalled contract negotiations.

Foes of Hoag's recently announced plan to end the apparently few elective abortions performed at the hospital indicated they would stage a demonstration there.

Claiming it had nothing to do with the new partnership with Catholic health group St. Joseph Health System, Hoag CEO Robert Braithwaite revealed via a letter to his doctors that they will no longer provide elective abortions. As we reported in May, Braithwaite essentially blamed the change on staff incompetence, claiming that performing only 100 or so abortions every year increases the chances for medical mistakes.

Robert Braithwaite, Hoag CEO, Lays Blame for Banning Abortions on Hospital's Incompetence

Eight physicians publicly blasted the executive decision and two Hoag donors have withdrawn their support. As you'd expect, the ban also doesn't sit well with the pro-choice crowd.

"The No. 1 thing a hospital has to have is credibility, and I think they're taking a risk," Suzanne Savary, president of the Newport Beach Democratic Women's Club, reportedly told the Los Angeles Times. "I don't think women's groups are going to let it go away."

To keep the issue front and center, Savary's group announced its intention to protest outside the hospital today and--as you'd also expect--anti-abortionists have revealed plans to counter-protest.

"I believe it does many things to rob a woman of her dignity," Sally Kanarek, a former director of Parent Help U.S.A. who has worked extensively with Mothers And Others Against Child Abuse, tells the Times. "I think it's that [pro-choice advocates are] trying to intimidate Hoag."

So much for keeping quiet in a hospital zone.

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


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