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ALCU: Woman Miscarried, Denied Proper Care At Catholic Hospital

MUSKEGON (WWJ) - The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on behalf of a Michigan woman who miscarried after she says she was denied proper care at a Catholic hospital.

ACLU of Michigan executive director Kary Moss said Tamesha Means of Muskegon was sent home twice by Mercy Health Partners Hospital, in 2010, based on religious directives — even though she was in excruciating pain and just 18 weeks into her pregnancy.

"No one told her, given the stage of her pregnancy and her condition, that it was extremely unlikely that the baby would survive and that prolonging the pregnancy could put her health and possibly even her life at risk," Moss told WWJ's Beth Fisher.

ACLU deputy legal director Louise Melling said Means was almost sent home a third time when she suffered a miscarriage at the hospital.

The suit claims the hospital was negligent.

"It's clear to me that Mercy Health Partners neglected to treat Miss Means according to basic medical standards and as such prolonged her suffering and jeopardized her health," said Dr. Douglas Laube, an obstetrician with the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine.

"Patients have the right to know the truth about their medical condition and what their options are," he said.

Melling said they don't believe Means' is an isolated case.

"At hospitals all across the country, medical professionals at Catholic hospitals are constrained from providing information and vital services because of the ethical and religious directives for Catholic health care that are put out by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops," Melling said.

WWJ has call out to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which, so far, isn't commenting on the lawsuit.

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