SANTA MARIA VALLEY: New Hospital Operator Won’t Offer Tubal Ligations
Marian Medical Center in Santa Maria has opened an urgent care center in Valley Community Hospital's shuttered emergency room, leaving the Catholic church-affiliated Marian "as the sole provider of hospital services in the Santa Maria Valley." The Santa Barbara News-Press reports that the move has "opened a debate about access to health care, particularly for women" because Marian will adhere to Catholic church doctrine and not perform tubal ligations at the Valley location. Nor will it offer birth control, abortion or in-vitro fertilization. Charles Padilla, spokesperson for Marian's parent company, Catholic Healthcare West, said women in the area should be able to receive the procedures "pretty easily" at other clinics. But Cheryl Rollings of Planned Parenthood of Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties said, "Women shouldn't have to leave their community and their community hospital to seek the services they have a constitutional right to." The News-Press reports that "[e]fforts are under way to open a couple of other outpatient surgery centers in Santa Maria to tubal ligation patients," but in the meantime, "neighboring communities like Arroyo Grande have outpatient facilities where the surgeries can be performed." Valley averaged between five and seven tubal ligations per month (Finucane, 3/29).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.