La Crosse's "Catholic" Franciscan Skemp hospital attempted to coerce woman into abortion

First a little background.

May 2011:  Franciscan Skemp becomes more extensively connected to Mayo
"We'll be more extensively connected to Mayo, and the Mayo knowledge and expertise will be just a click away," Johnson said. "Patients will have a much more seamless experience over time."

Franciscan Healthcare will be a secondary name used on signs and in local internal operations.

Dr. Robert Nesse, former Franciscan Skemp president and CEO, is the CEO of the entire Mayo Clinic Health System, which provides services to 70 communities.

He said the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, co-owners and sponsors of the La Crosse-based system, approved the name change.

"Here locally, we are committed to maintaining our Catholic identity," [La Crosse CEO Dr. Timothy] Johnson said. "It is a very big part of who we are."

"We're not going to solve the health care crisis with fragmented care," he said. "In a fully integrated system, you can take care of patients from birth to death."
March 2013: Mayo Clinic's Saint Mary's Hospital no longer designated "Catholic health care institution."  This is in Rochester at the main site of the Mayo System.  It was revoked when Bishop Quinn of Winona, MN found out Mayo insisted on performing abortions on campus. 

February 2014: Mayo clinic - not Franciscan Skemp directly - opened a "special procedures" clinic in neighboring Onalaska to do sterilizations and (it is assumed) eventually do abortions. It seemed like Franciscan Skemp might actually be attempting to retain their Catholic and Franciscan identity by sheltering itself from the larger system, but it turns out that is not the case.  I'm told that Franciscan Skemp employees were already expected to be operating the building, not Mayo employees.  A smokescreen; probably because they figured the bishop would not yank their Catholic status in the process.

Franciscan Skemp and Mayo got the local paper to run a front page pro-abortion article following this announcement on a Sunday in the La Crosse Tribune (and I'm told the Rochester Post Bulletin as well but I could not find it).  

Alive and doing well, thank you very much. 
Now the summary of what has come to light:
Hi Everyone,

For those of you who don't know, Dr. Rose was my doctor for my most recent pregnancy.  The care was so bad, that we suspected he was an abortionist.  Dr. Carl Rose (who works at Mayo Clinic in Rochester and comes to La Crosse to work with OB/GYN patients), seemed very callous toward the life of our child.  In late January, in an effort to find out the truth about the doctor, I called Mayo Clinic in Rochester and asked if Dr. Rose would provide an abortion.  Surprisingly, the doctor's receptionist said that he would, and he has provided abortions She said that he provides abortions up to 20 weeks plus 6 days and after some questioning she basically said that he will do it for any reason, according to the woman's wishes.  This is the doctor who was supposed to take care of me and my baby during my difficult pregnancy!

It was a very disheartening day yesterday(Tuesday).  We met with the hospital administrators again, to receive their response to our requests (to sever ties with abortionist, Dr. Rose).  Dr. Johnson informed us that they had consulted with the FSPA sisters [DING DING DING!] and other counselors.  He then stated that Dr. Rose is a good doctor and he provided good care. They are going to continue having him work with pregnant women at Franciscan HealthcareAnd then he[THE CEO] stated that doctors are legally and morally required to provide all options to their patients, including the option of abortion (although they do not perform the abortions at Franciscan).  So they have decided to retain ties with the abortionist. [I would ask them to cite their sources, under what legal and moral pretense can they make that statement?  There is no legal requirement to offer an abortion to my knowledge.  Did the CEO lie?  The moral requirement?  We assume the FSPA has provided that erroneous judgement]

We had a meeting with Dr. Timothy Johnson, CEO; Mr. Joseph Kruze, Chief Administrative Officer; and Dr. David Rushlow, Chief of Medical Staff.  When we met with them two weeks ago, we warned them that we would not back down if they did not sever ties with abortionists.  We are now getting the word out that there is an abortionist at Franciscan, and that the OB/Gyn staff is required to "present all options - including abortion"Pregnant women have a right to know - especially at a Catholic hospital. [!!!!!!]  (It never occurred to me that my doctor could be an abortionist, when I was at a Catholic hospital!)  Today is the first day of the Vigil for Life.  And it goes through April 11 Please join in holding up signs on West Avenue, in front of Franciscan Hospital.

Karen Arvidson
They have put together an extensive website with all the details:

A few additional details (you can find the whole story start to finish here): Mayo has several doctors that perform abortions and Dr. Rose tried to push Karen into an abortion because the pregnancy was high risk.  That is what qualifies for "Franciscan" healthcare in the eyes of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration.  Read the full story, it sounds like malpractice; I'm not sure if the Arvidsons are going to follow up with a lawsuit, I think they really just wanted Franciscan to change its policy to allow Catholic families to enjoy the protection of ethical medical protocols.  My wife is due within a week, we are paranoid now that some complication will inspire them to recommend an abortion as the "cure."  Not only is Franciscan Skemp not a Catholic medical facility, it won't even allow Catholics ethical options when faced with crisis pregnancies! 

Today the La Crosse Tribune to their credit did a story on the protests: Anti-abortion protesters picket at Mayo-Franciscan

Franciscan Skemp comments in the story:
“After a comprehensive review process, including a review of the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Healthcare, we are confident that the situation is being handled appropriately from all aspects — morally, medically and legally.
and more:
The Arvidsons contend that the doctor told them during a 2012 pregnancy that the baby had a marker for Down syndrome and recommended abortion. The baby, Patrick, did not have Down syndrome, although the 18-month-old has experienced some health challenges, she said.

Patrick is doing well, with some developmental delays, said Leif, the executive director of Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine in La Crosse.

They want Mayo-Franciscan to sever ties with the doctor, Karen said.

Mayo-Franciscan spokesman Rick Thiesse acknowledged that the Mayo doctor is a consultant in some high-risk cases at Mayo-Franciscan.  [And get this:] A representative for Mayo in Rochester did not return calls asking whether the doctor performs abortions there.
I'll try to post updates on the bottom here.  I didn't dive into this too much, but if the FSPA has recommended that abortion options must morally be given, it is grounds for episcopal intervention.  This seems like it might blow up into another Bp. Olmsted situation like down in Arizona.

Update1[I'm not sure if this website is accurate or not]:  To verify whether or not Dr. Carl Rose is an active abortionist, a friend in the pro-life business had me check out, which posts what doctors perform abortions in Rochester(what the hell, there are 60!), among those listed: Carl H. Rose, MD.

Update2: Local media met with protestors at 2:30PM today (3/13)
Update3: Featured Today on 1410 WIZM
Update4: News 8 Interviews Protesters Today outside of Mayo


  1. all need to find better things to do with your time, he did not tell you have to have an abortion, you were just made aware of your options, as any qualified doctor would do...GET A LIFE!!!! I am tired of driving down the street and seeing this wasted effort, what is your goal anyway/??!!!

    1. The goal is to save innocent life. Even if it grows up to be angry and bitter about others saving innocent life.

      Maybe you need to work on getting a properly formed conscience.
      Or .... do you still have a weak voice left, and you don't like those signs because they remind you that you're rejecting God's divine law?

      It is odd, don't you admit, that you'd waste your time here on this blog to post your sign?

      Me thinks she dost protest too much.

  2. I don't think you read the article. Take a nap if you are tired.

  3. God bless the Arvidsons and God PLEASE help Franciscan-Skemp. Bishop Callahan has worked hard to ensure they were not providing abortions, sterlizations, etc. there. Now we find that they are obeying the "letter of the law" if not its spirit. Very sad, very disappointing, but not very surprising. Prayers for the FSPA's and the Mayo System.

  4. Hey Anonymous! Abortion is NEVER an option!

  5. God bless you! As the mother of 11, I once found myself stuck with a doctor (at a Catholic hospital!) who performed abortions. He was callous, rude, unconcerned about my delivery (the nurses told me he often had them turn the Pic up so he could get home faster!), and just generally a jerk.

    I think its impossible to perform abortions and still have any compassion towards babies and mothers.

  6. My wife is due within a week, we are paranoid now that some complication will inspire them to recommend an abortion as the "cure."

    Well, Your Blogship, if any of the doctors try what they did with Karen and give you seemingly bad advice, just tell them you need to run it by your personal injury lawyer first. That will get their attention. It is truly getting to the point these days where people will have to use lawyers to get the care they should have.

    I know a good one if you want a referral.

  7. Franciscan Skemp is a big supporter of WPR (Wisconsin Public Radio), now what's that tell you? Why do Catholic bishops tolerate such goings-on?


    1. There is the short answer and the long book-length answer.

      There short answer is--depending on the particular bishop--sometimes an actual lack of orthodox faith, timidity/cowardice, obstruction from Rome, or a prudential decision that the uproar from the local "catholic" fan club will cause greater harm to the diocese than letting the DisOrder die off.

      The long answer is much more complicated. Here's the skinny. There is an intertwined relationship between the laity, the priesthood, and the bishop. If all are solid, then they build on each other. If they are even in part corrupt, you get a death spiral of destruction between the 3 groups.
      Setting aside the chicken/egg issue, the majority of the laity have left the building. That massive disobedience of God's people has spiritual consequences for the Church. Among other things, God gives the sheep the pastors they deserve. As Augustine said, "Good Sheep bring forth Good Shepherds". The faithful remnant--preserved thus by the Grace of God--are called to suffer with Christ for rest of the Church during a death spiral phase.

  8. Your Blogship, it was a bit worse really. The La Crosse Tribune posted the Post Bulletin story about the Franciscans of St. Mary's hospital in Rochester that just got its "Catholic" label yanked by Bishop Quinn.

    Sisters instill Franciscan values at Mayo Clinic
    "Franciscan values have become so much a part of Mayo Clinic and Rochester, the sisters say, that their own physical presence isn't necessary to maintain them. The sisters no longer directly govern the Saint Marys campus."

    Uh huh. Yep, that why they no longer want to be a "Catholic" institution. Just a "Franciscan" one.

  9. Don't expect any help from the bishop of LaCrosse.

  10. I'd like to know what the CEO is referring to with a doctor's "requirement" to "present all options - including abortion."

    At least in my (current) nursing school books nurses still have a RIGHT to refuse assisting in an abortion if it goes against our personal moral beliefs. It would be tragic if doctors are not taught the same thing. I have a very hard time believing they aren't.

  11. LoveGodAndAsHeLovedMarch 14, 2014 at 11:10 AM

    It is so pathetic. My niece on husband's side had a miraculous pregnancy-twins-and the doctor suggested abortion for the mother's health-but THE MOTHER NEVER WOULD HAVE AN ABORTION. She was never going to go to college herself, get married. have children, etc., according to her doctor, due to her own health challenges. She went to college, married, had children, works hard. She had her first child, then the twins, then another child. The doctors don't believe in God. They play "god". The twins needed a shot each per day for some time after birth, $100 per shot, paid for by March of Dimes. THE POINT OF MEDICINE IS TO FIND ALL WAYS POSSIBLE FOR FAMILIES TO ENJOY A NORMAL LIFE TOGETHER. Instead, we have doctors do all possible to destroy the normal functioning of a family. MEDICINE OPPOSES THE FAMILY. Shame on these Franciscan Skemp Mayo people who are anti-people. Lord have mercy.

  12. Apparently our little hospital is not alone. Michael Voris of is doing an hour-long special tomorrow on his show mic'd up. The topic of the show is ABORTION IN CATHOLIC HOSPITALS. The promo clip states, "Did you ever think that a catholic woman could call her catholic hospital to plan her abortion? Well it's happening and we'll break it all down live." Wednesday March 19th at 8 p.m.

  13. I had a level 2 ultrasound performed here at Mayo-Skemp in 2010 by a doctor from Mayo Clinic. It wasn't Dr. Rose, and I can't think of his name at this moment, (he has since passed away) but when it was discovered that my daughter had a serious heart defect, he did give us the option of abortion during the consultation immediately after the ultrasound. He said that he was required by law to give us that option. It was a really awkward moment, to say the least. Of course, we said absolutely not. Since our older daughter was also born with a heart defect, we understood that our second daughter could go through the same open heart procedure with 100% success. We had some appointments up in Rochester and a second doctor there gave us the same talk. When we said we weren't interested in having an abortion, he gave a sigh of relief and said that he was glad because he is in the field of saving lives, not taking them away.

    1. Rachel,

      This is very sad, but your story has a happy ending, as all of the stories seem to, with the moms choosing to have the babies and the babies ending up just fine. You should post your story on the exposemayo website, under the "Share Your Story" tab. More and more stories are coming out.


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