Foes of the proposed merger of University Hospital with two other companies urged Gov. Steve Beshear not to approve the deal at a press conference Monday. They argued that Louisville's safety-net hospital is a public institution and shouldn't be made subject to Catholic healthcare restrictions, as would occur if the merger takes effect. "You have to separate church and state. That's a basic tenet of this country," said social worker Judith Cumbler, one of several speakers at the press conference at City Hall. The merger would combine University with Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's HealthCare and Lexington-based St. Joseph Health System. The resulting company would be controlled by Catholic Health Initiatives, which owns St. Joseph.