The state of California and Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian have reached an agreement that allows the Newport Beach medical center to continue refusing to perform elective abortions so long as patients are given options to seek the procedure elsewhere.
The pact was necessitated after Hoag changed its abortion policy in the wake of partnering with St. Joseph Health System, a Roman Catholic organization, to create the countywide Covenant Health Network.
Robert Braithwaite, Hoag's CEO and president, signed the agreement with the Attorney General's Office on March 19, and a deputy from AG Kamala Harris' office followed suit Friday, reports City News Service, which obtained a copy of the agreement.
"Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian shall take steps to ensure that alternative (abortion) providers are available and accessible to all women" in its service area, the agreement states in part.
When Braithwaite initially confirmed Hoag was aborting elective abortions, he claimed it had nothing to do with the fledgling partnership with St. Joe's, explaining the procedures were being ended because so few were performed at Hoag it increased the chances for employee errors.
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After vehement protests, whose participants included some Hoag physicians, Braithwaite conceded the St. Joe's partnership was among the reasons for the abortion policy change.
The Attorney General's office began investigating the partnership due to the public outcry and later gave conditional approval to the affiliation, one condition being Hoag maintain reproductive health services for women--other than abortions--for 10 years.
The just-signed agreement indicates those services, which include contraceptive procedures such as tubal ligations, will remain in place for the next 20 years even if they conflict with St. Joe's religious beliefs, City News Service reports.