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Document Type

Notes

Abstract

Over the past two decades, the number of Catholic health care systems has steadily expanded throughout the United States, while at the same time, the overall number of hospitals in the country has decreased. Today, one in six patients in the United States receives treatment at a Catholic hospital. Catholic hospitals must abide by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, which restrict the medical procedures delivered at these facilities. Many common reproductive health care services, such as medically-necessary abortions and in-vitro fertilization, are prohibited by these Directives. This Note examines the impact of the Catholic hospital merger trend on access to reproductive health care in the United States. Although reproductive health care advocates have succeeded in developing innovative structural remedies to limit the decrease in reproductive health care services in communities affected by a Catholic hospital merger, this Note argues that the 2018 revision to the Directives threatens these solutions. Further, this Note proposes that antitrust law may be an effective method to regulate the anticompetitive effects of Catholic hospital mergers in the provision of reproductive health care.

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