July 20, 2012 — Two Montgomery County, Pa., hospitals on Wednesday called off a proposed merger amid opposition from abortion-rights supporters who charged that the move would have reduced access to abortion care, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports (Avril/Kim, Philadelphia Inquirer, 7/18).
Officials from Abington Health in June said that out of respect for the policies of the Holy Redeemer Health System, a Catholic health system, they would stop providing abortion care when the merged health system was to launch next year (Women's Health Policy Report, 7/2).
The decision sparked a backlash from some Abington Health staff members and patients (Philadelphia Business Journal, 7/19). Abington administrators received multiple emails, letters and phone calls from patients saying they would leave the hospital if the merger was approved, according to the Bucks County Courier Times. About 5,000 people signed an online petition opposing the merger (Savana, Bucks County Courier Times, 7/19).
In a joint statement on Wednesday, Holy Redeemer and Abington Health officials said the decision not to merge was "in the best interest of both organizations" (Philadelphia Inquirer, 7/19).
Sherry Blumenthal -- a physician at Abington Health who opposed the merger -- said, "I think it's wonderful for women's health and the rights of all patients and doctors at Abington Hospital" (Bucks County Courier Times, 7/18).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership