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Website Decodes Hospital Policy On Reproductive Rights, End-Of-Life Care

David Nogueras

Washington state law protects reproductive rights, such as emergency contraception, but that doesn’t always mean you can go to your local hospital in an urgent situation and get what you need. Advocates hope a new website will help patients navigate the fine print.

Two years ago, the state passed a rule requiring hospitals to post their policies on reproductive health and end-of-life care.  But it's not always clear if procedures such as tubal ligation and vasectomies are available. The lack of details was the motivation behind the new website ClearHealth Washington; It aims to decode the often murky policies.

“Providing this information at the service level, we think this is a clear and more useful way for information to be used by consumers, so that they know where they can access the services that they need,” said Margaret Chen, staff attorney at the ACLU of Washington.

The groups behind the website say some hospitals with religious affiliations are restricting services based on doctrine. But that isn’t always obvious to the person seeking care. A scan of the website, however, shows that even a lot of public hospitals are unclear about what services they offer.