October 1, 2022

Controversy surrounds public university’s agreement with Catholic-run hospital

A new teaching agreement between the University of Texas and a Catholic-run hospital has sparked outcry amongst American civil liberties groups.

A new teaching agreement between the University of Texas and a Catholic-run hospital has sparked outcry amongst American civil liberties groups. Under the agreement the new University Medical Centre Brackenridge will become the main training hospital for the University’s medical students. The hospital will not allow abortions or IVF treatment and staff are advised not to recommend contraception to patients.

Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (AU) is vigorously campaigning for the merger to be abandoned, claiming it to be unconstitutional. The University “cannot legally bind itself to those religious rules”, said Ian Smith, a lawyer for AU. “If [academics] are teaching in a medical school, they are a government actor,” Smith said. “Restricting their behaviour and their presentation under the Ethical and Religious Directives is problematic.”

Seton Healthcare Family, which runs Brackenridge, claims there is no issue. According to Seton officials, students will not be bound by the regulations of the organisation, and will be able to train in the prohibited procedures elsewhere. The university is researching the legal issues raised in an AU letter of complaint. 

Xavier Symons
Creative commons
conscientious objection