A recent inquiry has concluded that England’s most popular Catholic hospital has infringed its own code of ethics by referring women for abortions and prescribing the morning-after pill.
Lord Brennan, a Labour peer, conducted the inquiry of St. John and St. Elizabeth Hospital for Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the primate of England and Wales, after the cardinal discussed the situation with the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The cardinal ordered the inquiry last year after the hospital decided to allow GPs to operate NHS practices from its premises in St. John's Wood, north London, reported the Daily Telegraph. Senior Catholics complained that physicians would be obliged under their NHS contracts to refer women for abortions and prescribe contraceptives.
According to the Telegraph, many of the complaints emanated from the Linacre Centre for Healthcare Ethics, the Church's official think-tank bioethics. Director Dr. Helen Watt said she hopes the report would help secure "the serious changes needed to keep the hospital to a Catholic ethos,” reported the British newspaper.
The cardinal has not yet acted as he is still awaiting the full report, a spokesman said last week.
The hospital has defended its actions saying it is proud of its Catholic heritage but it is committed to an ecumenical philosophy and care of all.