What happens when religious institutions get to manage public funds, absorb secular hospitals, and put theology above medical science and individual patient conscience? Religious freedom suffers.
In 2010, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, an elderly woman was rushed to a local hospital called St. John. She had suffered a massive stroke and could no longer eat, drink or speak. Mercifully, she was one of the growing percent of Americans who have prepared for such an eventuality by writing an end-of-life directive. Hers said that said she did not want artificial hydration or nutrition if she wasn't going to recover. Unfortunately, St. John is a facility where the directives of the Catholic bishops take precedence over the directives of individual patients, and one such directive orders hospitals to feed and hydrate end-of-life patients whether they want it or not.
Americans would do well to consider what happens when theology dictates health care.