LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- Lawmakers on Wednesday received a closer look at the controversial merger between University Hospital and Catholic Health Initiatives.

The state Committee on Health and Welfare held a hearing this afternoon.

The merger is among University of Louisville Hospital, Jewish Hospital, and St. Mary's Healthcare and St. Joseph Health System.

The proposed merger has become controversial because of questions about how reproductive and end-of-life care might change under Catholic Health Initiatives.

The merger would prohibit certain reproductive medical procedures from taking place in the hospital because they go against the Catholic doctrine which opposes contraception and sterilization. Catholic Health Initiatives would be the majority operator under the agreement.

University Hospital provides care to numerous indigent patients, among them many women who choose to be sterilized after giving birth.

Ramsey stressed the merger is crucial to the survival of the hospitals.  And U of L says it has $15 million set aside to address the issue by possibly building or renovating a space where those procedures would be possible.   U of L President James Ramsey maintains the merger would be good for the community, state, and the academic medical center's growth.

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