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Faith-Based Health Care’s Dirty Little Secret


Many faith-based hospitals across the country are not living up to the pro-life values that they profess. Few know that these hospitals contract with medical-waste companies that are not only complicit in the collection, transportation, and incineration of the fetal remains of aborted children, but also profit greatly from the abortion industry, which conducts an average of 4,000 abortions daily. 

The majority of American faith-based hospitals utilize a company called Stericycle to dispose of their medical waste. However, Stericycle also services well over 500 Planned Parenthood locations nationwide and scores of other abortion facilities, and has become known as the premiere “waste” collection service to the abortion industry. In its service to abortionists, Stericycle not only disposes of the materials used in abortions, but also the fetal remains of the children themselves. In fact, the Richmond Medical Center for Women in Virginia verified that their facility utilizes Stericycle for the collection and disposal of aborted fetuses.

Furthermore, in an investigation conducted by the Campaign to Stop Stericycle (CSS), we confirmed that Stericycle does indeed accept aborted fetal remains for disposal and incineration. While Stericycle’s official policy states that they do not accept “complete human remains,” they allow the medical waste generator to make the determination on what is “complete” and what is “human.” Since abortionists will never admit that they are killing human beings, the ambiguous policy language and double-speak easily allows aborted children to be disposed of with the rest of the trash.

CSS recently sent notifications to many large faith-based hospital systems about Stericycle’s profiteering from the abortion industry. Ironically, these faith-based hospital systems responded in favor of Stericycle. For instance, Catholic Health East replied, “We are satisfied that the procurement of Stericycle’s services is not immediate material cooperation, but rather remote mediate material cooperation.” Catholic Health Initiatives of Englewood, Colorado replied, “Based on our moral analysis, we have concluded that our relationship with Stericycle is appropriate.” CSS contacted nearly a dozen Baptist hospital systems, but has received no response.

Regrettably, these faith-based hospitals are turning a blind eye to their purported religious and moral obligations by continuing to do business with a company that profits from the abortion industry. Furthermore, the defense of their relationship with a business providing such an integral service is both appalling and hypocritical. Thankfully, there are immediate, easy, and affordable alternatives to Stericycle for faith-based hospitals. 

It is time to call out the faith-based hospital systems and urge them to truly live up to what they purport to believe by examining their business partnerships and acting accordingly. Faith-based hospitals should stand with CSS to actively oppose and boycott Stericycle for their egregious practices. Until then, as long as these organizations continue to hold onto their dirty little secret, the words “faith-based” don’t really mean much.

— Michael Marcavage is the executive director of the Campaign to Stop Stericycle based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. For more information, please visit: