In 2008, Melanie Jones slipped and fell in her bathroom, dislodging her intrauterine device (IUD). Jones claims that when she visited her local hospital, Mercy Hospital, she was denied care because she was using a contraceptive device, according to ABC Chicago. Mercy is a Catholic hospital, governed by the directives from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Jones suffered a week of pain and bleeding before Blue Cross Blue Shield was able to transfer her out of Trinity Health, the religiously affiliated umbrella network that includes Mercy Hospital. Eve Pidgeon, spokeswoman for Trinity Health, told the Guardian that “the treatment Ms. Jones received at Mercy was entirely consistent with the standards of high-quality care.” However, according to Jones’ medical report obtained by ABC Chicago, Mercy Hospital was unable to remove the IUD due to “limitations of practice according to Catholic Initiatives.”
In August, Jones filed a discrimination claim against Mercy Hospital with the legal guidance of ACLU Illinois. The number of Catholic hospitals has consistently risen for the last 10 years, and this is not the first time ACLU has sued Trinity Network, according to the Guardian. Jones is confident that by sharing her story, others will become more informed about the care they would be able to receive from hospitals that are required to comply with directives from the bishops, reports ABC Chicago.