MILWAUKEE, October 30, 2001 ( – In order to sidestep Catholic regulations, one floor of a Milwaukee Catholic hospital will be called another hospital. The Journal Sentinel reports that after the Columbia/St. Mary’s merger, ob/gyns complained that reproductive health services, such as sterilizations would be cut. The hospital within a hospital notion would allow for such services to be provided, since it would be controlled by another administration.

Columbia Hospital’s third floor will thus be turned into a new 45-bed independent birthing hospital called Columbia Center, which will do sterilizations. While Columbia Center says it will not perform abortions, it is unclear whether contraceptives including abortifacients will be provided. Columbia Center is separately licensed with its own staff, and is owned and operated by Columbia Health System, while Columbia, since its merger with St. Mary’s, is sponsored by Ascension Health of St. Louis

The paper notes that the new arrangement requires approval from Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland.

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