03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Catholic Takeover Of Denver Hospitals Delayed Pending Federal Approval

A controversial move to transfer operation control of three secular Denver area hospitals to a Catholic health care system expected to take place on Dec. 31 appears to be on hold pending federal approval.

The unexpected delay by the Federal Trade Commission to bless the transaction may provide local critics with a last gasp effort to continue fighting the deal. Community members and medical professionals contend the transfer would unfairly subject comprehensive reproductive health and end-of-life care to church doctrine over patients' needs. The Catholic church considers abortion, contraception, elective sterilization and termination of invasive life support as "intrinsically evil" and refuses to provide these medical services or respect patients' advance directives.

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