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Worries Mount over Walgreens’ Relationship with Catholic Healthcare Providers

Worries Mount over Walgreens' Relationship with Catholic Healthcare Providers
By Michael Rivera [CC BY-SA 4.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons
Groups led by the ACLU want assurance that the retail chain will not let religious doctrines limit its services.

Catholics have traditionally been enemies of contraceptives and abortion rights. Healthcare groups run by Catholics carry on this battle, echoing the directives of the church. As such, retail chains have been seen to drop providing of services catering to contraceptives, abortion medicine and other such things that the Catholic church has traditionally held a position against. No wonder then, that when Walgreens announced its decision to partner up with a Catholic-run healthcare group, a number of groups led by the American Civil Liberties Union wrote letters to the retail chain demanding assurance that the same will not happen this time.

Worries Mount over Walgreens’ Relationship with Catholic Healthcare Providers[/tweetthis]

The new partnership is a first-of-its kind venture by Walgreens because its clinical operations will be entirely handled by the healthcare provider as opposed to by their own employees, as had been done otherwise.

The letter says that it has been noticed whenever companies that are otherwise secular, non-religious entities, partner with religious companies. The doctrines of the religious companies infiltrate the secular entity so that all its services, products and other offerings are limited to stay in accordance with religious company's directives. The groups cite the example of the Swedish Medical Center in Seattle which had partnered with Providence Health in 2012, the same company that Walgreens is now set to partner with, the former dropped their services for elective abortion. Similar incidents have happened with other companies too which all agreed to comply with the religious partners' concepts of ethics.

The groups have also demanded to know from Walgreens if they are planning on dropping contraceptives, abortion medications, dying aids for terminally ill patients and if they will continue to provide medical services for members of the LGBT community.

The growing popularity of retail-run medical setups has rocketed the growth in companies that provide these services. As such, pro-rights activists are getting worried about the implications of these retail chain companies partnering-up with religious institutions. One main worry is that a whole segment of people will be denied their rights to medical care just because what they are seeking for goes against the fundamental tenets of the religious companies.

Walgreens is also partnering up with Advocate Health Care, a company that has connections with the Evangelical Lutheran Church and United Church of Christ. Providence Health will be opening 27 clinics in Walgreens stores in Illinois and Missouri, Advocate Health Care will start more than 50 clinics in the Chicago area.


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