ANCHORAGE, AK, September 19, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Anchorage’s archbishop is working to “rectify” the fact that an abortionist’s offices are located in a local Catholic hospital.
Archbishop Roger Schweitz assured the public that he “takes this troubling situation very seriously” and that he and his staff have been working with the leadership of Providence Alaska Medical Center “for an appropriate resolution to this issue.”
As the result of a reorganization of its clinic, the Alaska Women’s Health Clinic, PC (AWHPC) was leased office space by Providence, a Catholic hospital that was established by the Sisters of Providence. AWHPC’s website announced their July 11 opening of a new office in “a larger, newly renovated space on the Providence Hospital campus.”
Historically, AWHPC has provided abortions and one of its physicians, Jan Whitefield, has been an abortionist and a vocal public pro-abortion advocate. During legal action against the State of Alaska regarding the parental notification law, Whitefield stated that he along with other colleagues had performed over 500 first trimester abortions per year in Anchorage.
While AWHPC, as part of its lease agreement with Providence Alaska, agreed not to provide abortion services, or any ethically prohibited services, on the Providence premises, the presence of this clinic is for many, including Archbishop Schwietz, a cause of “grave concern.”
“Out of this concern Archbishop Schweitz has been working since early August with the leadership of Providence to rectify this situation,” said a statement from the archbishop’s office. “That process is continuing with Providence.”
Alaskan pro-life blogger Joseph Koss had broken the news when he reported August 7 that a Catholic hospital in his home state had a tenant that provides contraception, emergency contraception, and sterilization, and is staffed by an abortionist.
It is unclear whether Whitfield receives payment for any services from Providence directly. A provider search on the Providence website lists Whitefield’s organization as AWHPC.
Kirsten Schultz, communications director for Providence Health & Services Alaska, said that “Providence Alaska Medical Center adheres to the (U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’) Ethical & Religious Directives, and we remain faithful to our Catholic tradition.”
The Providence health system was sued in April 2005 for allegedly helping a teenage girl get an out-of-state abortion two year earlier. At the time a hospital spokesman reportedly said that though the hospital does not commit abortions, they have no problems referring women elsewhere to procure one.