As a resident of Newport Beach for 40 years, I was shocked and hugely disappointed to read that Hoag Hospital has decided to eliminate a patient's medical option to have an elective abortion performed at what I have always considered to be my outstanding local hospital.

Abortion is legal in the United States but as more and more hospitals across the country are purchased by or build relationships with Catholic hospitals, access to abortion is becoming much less available.

That Hoag would bow to pressure — be it from St. Joseph, from donors, from board members or other influences — is shocking to me. It is bad enough that this happens in other sates, but in an enlightened, well-educated community like Newport Beach, it is unconscionable.

The decision to have an abortion belongs with the woman and her physician, and she should not have to seek out a clinic or another more-enlightened hospital to have the procedure safely performed. Our community, our women, deserve better.

Linda Schulein

Newport Beach

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Another view on abortion ban

Hoag continues to offer weak explanations about why Hoag Hospital will no longer perform elective abortions for women needing this service. If I, or my child, were to need these services, I would not be happy to be told that I should go to Planned Parenthood or UC Irvine Medical Center, or to a back-alley provider, because my hospital will not provide these services.

Some organizations will offer quality services, others may not. I suspect that you have other reasons for this decision that restricts the rights of women to the best health care available. I am constantly amazed to find that in 2013 we are still fighting this battle, but we are. If this is what your alliance with St. Joseph's means, what a sad commentary.

Those of us who are speaking out remember what happened when no one spoke for the women who were denied women's medical services and are unhappy to see our hospital remove services that may be needed, even if only 100 times a year.

If it was my child who needed services, or my friend's child, or a neighbor, or even a stranger, I would not want to see the patient be shunted away from Hoag to another facility. It is already a time of great emotional crisis. Hoag should not make it worse.

Nancy Marcus

Costa Mesa