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Healthcare Access

The ACLU of Washington believes that everyone should have access to lawful best care medical treatment. Yet in Washington state religious health systems, and even public hospital districts, are denying Washington residents access to important health care services. The ACLU of Washington is enforcing our state laws and fighting back against the use of religion to discriminate in order to ensure Washington residents have access to reproductive, end-of-life and LGBT related health care services, referrals and information.


News Release, Published: 
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Advocates for psychiatric patients have filed a friend of the court brief with the Washington Supreme Court urging it to uphold a trial court ruling invalidating a practice called “boarding” – holding civil commitment patients in hospital emergency rooms unable to provide adequate treatment.  The brief was filed by statewide mental health, disability rights, and civil liberties organizations.
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Today the U.S. Supreme Court heard Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga v. Sebelius. These high-profile cases are about discrimination.
News Release, Published: 
Monday, March 3, 2014
Today, a combination of Washington State Senate and House Democrats will hold a briefing on the Reproductive Parity Act (RPA) in coalition with women’s rights and civil liberties groups. The briefing is scheduled for 2 p.m. in Senate Hearing Room 1 at the Capitol.
News Release, Published: 
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
New Certificate of Need review requirements are a step forward in holding merging hospitals accountable, but more changes are needed.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
I walked through Town Hall Seattle’s doors last week for the forum on “Hospital Mergers and Religious Restrictions on Health Care” ready to work at the ACLU-WA booth. Handing out information and answering general questions. I watched as articles about mergers between secular and religious hospitals flew off the table into the hands of worried people. As more and more people flowed into the lobby, I was struck by the community’s concern about the situation. More than 400 people attended the event.
Friday, October 25, 2013
On this coming Wednesday, October 30th from 7-9 pm the ACLU-WA and four allies are presenting an important Community Forum at Town Hall Seattle (1119 8th Ave.).  “Hospital Mergers & Religious Restrictions on Health Care” will explore how mergers of religiously affiliated and secular health care systems  can affect patient access to lawful and medically appropriate care.
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
The health care market in Washington looks very different today than it did a few years ago, and the pace of change will only accelerate as the Affordable Care Act – aka Obamacare – is implemented. One notable phenomenon is a spate of mergers, often involving religious health care corporations taking control of secular health institutions.  Indeed, if all proposed mergers go through this year, nearly half of all hospital beds in Washington will be in religiously affiliated facilities.
News Release, Published: 
Thursday, August 22, 2013
We welcome and commend today’s Attorney General Opinion 2013-No. 3, which reaffirms that hospitals supported by taxpayer dollars have important obligations under Washington law to maintain access to services for Washington’s residents.
News Release, Published: 
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
On May 21, 2013, the ACLU of Washington and a group of concerned organizations called on Governor Jay Inslee to address the rapidly accelerating pace of religious hospital mergers in our state and their impact on patient access to lawful health care services, consistent with best medical practices and patients’ needs or interests and regardless of religious directives. In response, Governor Inslee today announced that he is issuing a directive to the Washington state Department of Health (DOH) to initiate rulemaking to modernize the Certificate of Need (CON) process, which he acknowledged "has not kept current with the changes in the health care delivery system."