Swedish Hospital merges with Providence Hospital and discontinues elective abortions on February 29, 2000.

  • By Heather MacIntosh
  • Posted 7/27/2000
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 2564
See Additional Media
On February 29, 2000, Seattle's Swedish Hospital merges with Providence Hospital and discontinues elective abortions. The decision is a dealmaker between the secular Swedish Hospital and the Catholic-run Providence Hospital. In joining forces with the Catholic hospital, Swedish, the largest hospital in the state of Washington, gains ownership of Providence Medical Center, Jefferson Medical Tower, and nine clinics. The merger generates a joint company for billing and other administration, which cuts the financially ailing Providence's overhead.

The decision was controversial. Religious control over a large secular institution raised the hackles of local women's and civil rights advocates. Karen Cooper, executive director of NARAL (the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Act League), declared Swedish Hospital's concession "absolutely ridiculous, obscene, that a religious organization can dictate medical practices to the entire community of Seattle."

Swedish Hospital, licensed for 860 beds, continues to provide tubal ligations, vasectomies, contraception, and the morning after pill. To prevent any financial gain from these practices that run counter to Vatican dictates, the local archbishop recommended an "alienation of property."

Sources: Kim Barker, "Swedish Will Drop Elective Abortions to Seal Deal," The Seattle Times, March 1, 2000 (www.seattletimes.com); Tyrone Beason, "Economics of Hospital Merger: Little choice in 'Severe Marketplace,'" The Seattle Times, March 1, 2000 (www.seattletimes.com).

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both HistoryLink.org and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License
Major Support for HistoryLink.org Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You