Wisconsin Weekly: Many reproductive procedures off-limits as Catholic hospitals grow in Wisconsin

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Catholic hospitals, voter purge, costly insulin, lost guns, refugee confusion


Of note: This week we draw your attention to our examination of how the growth of Catholic hospitals in Wisconsin shapes women’s health care choices. Catholics run more than one-third of Wisconsin hospitals, report Parker Schorr and Rikha Sharma Rani. Catholic health systems say they offer safety nets to impoverished communities, providing the same quality of care as secular hospitals. But directives from U.S. bishops bar the hospitals, except in extreme situations, from providing procedures such as abortions, contraception and sterilization. Interpretation of the directives varies, and hospitals aren’t always transparent about whether they provide certain services. One Madison hospital sends women wanting their “tubes tied” to a nearby eye clinic. Schorr is a public affairs reporting fellow for Madison’s Cap Times newspaper. He is embedded in the Wisconsin Watch newsroom. Rani is a journalist and contributing editor for Fuller Project, which reports on issues affecting women in the U.S. and abroad. 

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Brandon Raygo / Cap Times

Wisconsin is one of the most heavily reliant states when it comes to health care from Catholic hospitals, with about one-third of the facilities governed by a set of directives from U.S. Catholic bishops. These institutions often serve low-income and rural areas, providing crucial medical services. But the directives sometimes require doctors to deny or delay certain types of reproductive care.

Catholics run one-third of Wisconsin hospitals, putting many reproductive procedures off-limits

Wisconsin Watch — December 18, 2019

In most ways, Catholic hospitals, which treat one in every seven patients in the United States, differ from secular ones in name only. Yet, critics say, in a small but important corner of reproductive care, Catholic ethics can trump medical best practice, bishops can wield more influence than physicians, and patients can be denied care they desire or need.

Also from Wisconsin Watch: Catholic hospitals often only choice for women of color in Milwaukee and When Catholic hospitals merge, reproductive services can change

Security giant G4S has lost hundreds of guns. Here’s where we found them

USA Today — December 16, 2019

The largest private security company in the world can’t keep track of its guns. For decades, G4S executives, managers and guards have failed to secure the company’s vast arsenal despite repeated warnings from federal regulators that its missing guns have been used in murders and other violent crimes, a USA Today/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation found.

Coburn Dukehart / Wisconsin Watch

Here, a sign is seen outside the polling place at Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, Wis., on Feb. 20, 2018.

As many as 17% of voters are targeted to be removed from the rolls in some Wisconsin cities

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — December 12, 2019

Ten percent or more of registered voters in dozens of communities could be removed from the voter rolls if a lawsuit against the state succeeds. The lawsuit, brought last month by three voters with the help of the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, seeks to purge the voter rolls of people who might have moved. 

Also see this story from the Cap Times: Is your name going to be dropped from the Wisconsin voter rolls? And what should you do about it?

Donald Trump’s order on refugees raises questions, concerns in Wisconsin communities

Green Bay Press Gazette — December 17, 2019

An executive order by President Trump says state and local governments must provide written consent to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo by Friday if they want to allow refugees to settle in their communities in 2020. Trump’s order is prompting confusion among county leaders in parts of Wisconsin. 

Coburn Dukehart / Wiscon

Two bottles of insulin are seen at the home of Jack Christensen. Humalog (left) costs about $400 a bottle and Novolog (right) costs about $300 a bottle, according to the Christensens.

Sticker shock: Diabetics, lawmakers battle increasing insulin cost

Wisconsin State Journal — December 15, 2019

State and federal lawmakers have introduced legislation to make insulin more affordable for more than 7 million Americans who rely on the drug to regulate their blood sugar. But solutions haven’t come easily, in part because of secretive discounts and rebates used by manufacturers, pharmacy benefit managers, insurers and others when negotiating rates, some say. 

Previously from Wisconsin Watch: Costs of widely prescribed drugs jump up to 5,241 percent in recent years

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