In a surprise ending for a long awaited decision, New Hampshire Attorney General John M. Formella has blocked the takeover of Catholic health care in the Granite State by abortion giant Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health.

Since 2019, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health, the largest hospital system and the biggest private employer in New Hampshire, has been attempting to acquire Granite One Health, the parent corporation of Catholic Medical Center in Manchester.

Most pro-life organizations in the state—including New Hampshire Right To Life and the Friends of Saint Benedict Center—were alarmed and appalled by the prospect of the aggressively pro-abortion Dartmouth-Hitchcock absorbing the oldest and largest Catholic hospital in New Hampshire.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock not only performs elective and therapeutic abortions, but trains physicians in abortion procedures. It also performs sterilizations, distributes contraceptives, and refers residents for training with Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.

In neighboring Vermont, where assisted suicide is legal, Dartmouth-Hitchcock physicians prescribe life ending drugs.

Perhaps most disturbing to supporters of the right to life was Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s long and troubling history of public advocacy—in conjunction with Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union—for unrestricted abortion, as a matter of law and public policy, in the Granite State.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock also has a problematic record when it comes to conscience protections for its employees.

Astonishingly, the Bishop of Manchester, Peter Libasci, had given his approval for the acquisition.

On May 13th, Attorney General Formella—after ten postponements—finally announced that he was disallowing the proposed acquisition. He cited a report from the Charitable Trusts Unit of the New Hampshire Department of Justice, which found that the transaction would unlawfully inhibit competition in health care services.

Formella said that the state’s Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau had made the same finding.

The Catholic Action League called the Attorney General’s decision “a victory for the pro-life movement, for the integrity of Catholic health care, and for the conscience rights of Catholic doctors, nurses and hospital workers.”

Catholic Action League Executive Director C. J. Doyle made the following comment: “The Charitable Trusts Unit should have stated, clearly and unambiguously, that the acquisition of a Catholic hospital by a major abortion perpetrator was inconsistent with the foundational purpose of Catholic Medical Center.”

“Safeguarding the rudimental charitable mission of non-profits is, after all, the very reason for the Unit’s existence. Instead—inexplicably—it chose to make a finding based upon antitrust law. Nonetheless, this remains a David and Goliath moment in New Hampshire history.”

“The state’s most powerful corporation, allied with the Catholic hierarchy, was opposed by grassroots pro-life activists, and the grassroots pro-life activists prevailed. Catholic health care, it would seem, will survive in New Hampshire.”

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