Outcry Over Abington-Holy Redeemer Merger

The secular and Catholic facilities announced that they will join forces—but it comes at the cost of some Abington services, including abortion. Lots of people aren't happy.

Late last month, Montgomery County’s Abington Memorial Hospital and Holy Redeemer Health System announced that they will join forces to form a new regional health system. In the weeks since, some of the details of that merger have come to light—details that many Abington physicians and patients are none too happy about.

Philly.com has a pretty good recap of the to-do, but in a nutshell: It appears that Holy Redeemer, for reasons unknown, has more bargaining power at the table than Abington. This is despite the fact that Abington is twice as large and brings in more revenue than Holy Redeemer. What seems to be happening, though, is that (Catholic) Holy Redeemer is cutting some of (secular) Abington’s services that don’t align with the Church’s tenets. This includes the abortion services that Abington’s OB department offers. Philly.com reports that doctors there mainly perform abortions for women in high-risk pregnancies. Last year, abortions at Abington totaled 64; the year before, 69.

The imposition of this no-abortion policy—and fear that others, impacting things like end-of-life issues and infertility and stem cell treatments, will follow suit—has patients and physicians at Abington in an uproar, with some doctors considering vacating their posts. OB/GYN docs there say they weren’t consulted about the possibility of the policy change, and that they specifically chose to work at a nonreligious hospital to avoid these kinds of restrictions.

Online, angry patients and community members have started a Facebook page called “Stop the Abington Hospital Merger,” with a companion Change.org petition that currently has over 3,400 signatures and a burgeoning comments section. Among them:

>> What do you think of the merger and its consequences? Share your thoughts in the comments.