Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian notified its Orange County doctors recently that they’re no longer allowed to perform elective abortions — now that Hoag has finalized its partnership with the St. Joseph Health System, a Catholic hospital group.
St. Joseph Health, St. Mary in Apple Valley is not affected by the decision because the hospital was already part of the St. Joseph group, according to the hospital’s communication director, Emily Abbott.
The announcement came last week, two months after Hoag completed its affiliation with the St. Joseph group, creating the umbrella group, Covenant Health Network, which oversees the Hoag-St. Joseph alliance.
St. Joseph facilities follow the Catholic Church’s guidelines on health care, abortions and contraceptive practices, which are generally prohibited.
Robert Braithwaite, Hoag’s CEO, denies that the decision was imposed by St. Joseph, explaining that the Hoag board made the decision independently for medical rather than religious reasons.