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Tamesha Means claims Mercy Health Partners in Muskegon, Mich., sent her away with painkillers instead of informing her of termination options after she began to miscarry an 18-week pregnancy in December 2010. The suit, backed by the American Civil Liberties Union, alleges the hospital failed to do so because of religious directives that govern Catholic-run health institutions.

Means visited Mercy Health Partners in Muskegon three separate times in December 2010 when she began suffering miscarriage symptoms 18 weeks into her pregnancy, according to the American Civil Liberties Union and ACLU Michigan.

She was given medication and sent home twice in two days, she claims in the suit, though she arrived the second time “bleeding and with painful contractions.”

On a third trip to the hospital, Means was in even more pain and “suffering a significant infection,” according to the ACLU, and was about to be sent home again when she began going into labor.

Means’ lawsuit claims hospital staff failed to advise her on options for terminating the pregnancy and misled her on her baby’s likelihood of survival because of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ anti-abortion stance, resulting in her “severe, unnecessary, and foreseeable physical and emotional pain and suffering.”

The hospital failed to inform Means that “due to her condition, the fetus she was carrying had virtually no chance of surviving, and continuing her pregnancy would pose a serious risk to her health,” the lawsuit reads. “MHP also did not tell Ms. Means that it would not terminate her pregnancy, even if necessary for her health, because it was prohibited from doing so by the Directives.”

“Each time I went into the hospital, the same thing happened,” Means said in a statement released by ACLU. “They should act like it’s their mother or sister or daughter they’re treating. I pray to God someone stops this from happening again. My life could have been taken. I was in a very dangerous situation.”

“They didn’t offer me any options,” she also said. “They didn’t tell me what was happening to my body.

“Whatever was going on with me, they discussed it amongst themselves. I was just left to wonder, what’s going to happen to me?”

 

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