It should be so simple. A woman pregnant with an 11 week old fetus enters a hospital, where a team of medical experts decide that continuing the pregnancy is likely to kill her. The medical team performs an abortion, and the woman lives.
For approving that action, a long-time nun has now been excommunicated, according to the Arizona Republic.
A Catholic nun and longtime administrator of St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix was reassigned in the wake of a decision to allow a pregnancy to be ended in order to save the life of a critically ill patient.
The decision also drew a sharp rebuke from Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, head of the Phoenix Diocese, who indicated the woman was “automatically excommunicated” because of the action.
The Bishop sees no issue with the fact that any other option would have killed both mother and child, and stands by his ruling, the Washington Post reports.
Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, head of the Phoenix Diocese, indicated in a statement that the Roman Catholic involved was “automatically excommunicated” because of the action. The Catholic Church allows the termination of a pregnancy only as a secondary effect of other treatments, such as radiation of a cancerous uterus.
“I am gravely concerned by the fact that an abortion was performed several months ago in a Catholic hospital in this diocese,” Olmsted said in a statement sent to The Arizona Republic. “I am further concerned by the hospital’s statement that the termination of a human life was necessary to treat the mother’s underlying medical condition.
“An unborn child is not a disease. While medical professionals should certainly try to save a pregnant mother’s life, the means by which they do it can never be by directly killing her unborn child. The end does not justify the means.”
Olmsted added that if a Catholic “formally cooperates” in an abortion, he or she is automatically excommunicated.
Yet not everyone in the church thinks the situation is so cut and dry. Some church leaders, such as Father Tim, actually see value in NOT killing women.
Although I cannot disagree with the bishop’s theology and support the Church’s protection of the sacredness of all life, I suspect he needs “medical” treatment himself: a strong injection of reality.
Most important is a simple reality: If the mother of an 11-week-old fetus dies, the fetus will also die. It is too soon in life for the child to survive outside the womb no matter what the hospital might try. That means two deaths. Is there really a morally defensible reason for two innocents to die when one can live? It’s a hackneyed phrase, but what would Jesus have done?
It is long past the time to reconsider this. If all life deserves our protection and is sacred to our Creator, then a mother’s life is just as worthy as her child’s. How has this become lost in the battle over abortion?
Some people, in fact, are wondering if it is ever safe to allow a woman to seek medical help in Catholic hospitals, knowing that their own health and well-being will be put behind religious dogma. From Huffington Post:
[I]f my life were at stake, or that of a woman I loved, I would not want to risk the chance that a woman less enlightened or flexible than Sister McBride was the ethicist ruling on my case in a medical emergency. So let me make this clear: At the present moment, as a physician, I would not feel comfortable with a woman I cared about seeking obstetric services at a Catholic hospital. In fact, I would not want a pregnant woman I cared about obtaining any medical treatment at a Catholic hospital. From this point forward, I will tell my pregnant patients, in all but the most emergent and high-risk circumstances, to instruct any ambulance that picks them up to avoid Catholic hospitals. That is tragic, because these institutions have a long and noble history of providing care to this nation’s needy and most desperate. Alas, thanks to men like Mr. Olmsted, obtaining obstetric care at a Catholic hospital has become a dangerous game of Russian roulette.
Seem like an overreaction? Not really, once you read some of the comments on the Fox News version of the story.
Only God has the right to end a person’s life. Who is to say that the mom’s life is more precious than the baby’s? Maybe God wanted that unborn baby to live rather than the mom. It’s not our decision, it’s God’s. We have to put our lives in God’s hands and trust that He is Almighty and knows better than us.
And of course, one person claims, “We don’t know alot about this case, but I’m sure the Bishop knows more than we do.”
Not the doctors, not the patient, not the hospital staff. It’s the Bishop who obviously knows best and should be trusted.
Mini Roundup: Speaking of “Bishops know best,” a Canadian Arch Bishop says women should never be allowed abortions after a rape because “There is already one victim, must there be another one?” Political leaders tell him to stop trying to roll back 40 years of women’s rights.
May 14, 2010
Context Matters – Newsweek
Small Anti-Abortion Advocacy Group Flexes Muscle In Midterm Elections – Kaiser Health News
Pro-Life Caucus on shaky ground – Congress.org
Groups protest forced ultrasounds – MyFox Tampa Bay
Crist hints at abortion ultrasound bill veto – Tampa Tribune
Bill expands abortion-consent regulations – Columbia Missourian
Palin hits campaign trail for anti-abortion group – CNN International
Abortion legislation a political wildcard for Crist – Florida Times-Union
Powerful churches target Kenya’s Constitution over abortion – Christian Science Monitor
Chris Selley’s Full Pundit: God will see you now, Mr. Harper – National Post
Missouri legislature approves abortion law – St. Louis Globe-Democrat
Pentagon mandates ‘morning-after’ pill – BP News
Palin says Obama would ban guns if he could – The Associated Press
The Pill – Western Front
Contraception makes women slaves to sex – Pocono Record
Gates steers clear of HPV vaccine row – The Hindu
ANGOLA: Putting a dent in the maternal death rate – IRINnews.org
May 15, 2010
Elena Kagan on Abortion – About – News & Issues
Abortion Should Guide Crist on Bill – The Ledger
Palin speaks to anti-abortion ‘mama grizzlies’ – Salt Lake Tribune
Nun at St. Joseph’s Hospital rebuked over abortion to save woman – Arizona Republic
Palin pushes abortion foes to form ‘conservative, feminist identity’ – Washington Post
Nun rebuked over abortion to save woman – News10.net
Kagan’s abortion stance has both sides guessing – Los Angeles Times
Phoenix hospital nun rebuked for allowing abortion – Washington Post
At 50, birth control is still a bitter pill – Kansas City Star
Not a bitter Pill to swallow – Times of India
New York midwives lose right to deliver babies at home – The Guardian
Child health: The time for disregard is over – Jakarta Post
May 16, 2010
PM reignites abortion fight – Toronto Star
A closer look at Fla. abortion bill - Tampabay.com
Democrats abandon women on abortion, again – MSMDC News
Crist should sign HB 1143 – MiamiHerald.com
Abortion: Don’t ask, don’t tell – Toronto Star
Minorities split over history, goal of abortion – Canton Repository
Abortion foes capitalize on health care law – The Associated Press
Faraway doctors give abortion pills by video – DesMoinesRegister.com
Sarah Palin Is Not a Feminist – Huffington Post
Nun Excommunicated For Allowing Abortion – MyFox Houston
Kyl, Feinstein Parry on Court Pick Kagan – CBS News
When Church laws allow for abortion – Daily Nation
PQ leader slams Cardinal Oullet’s abortion remarks – Montreal Gazette
Irish nun excommunicated after abortion to save mother decision – Irish Central
Budget deal, busy week await Okla. lawmakers – Tulsa World
Marois slams Cardinal Ouellet’s abortion remarks – Montreal Gazette
Liberals, Conservatives and Abortion – New York Times
After St. Joseph’s: Are Women Still Safe in Catholic Hospitals? – Huffington Post
The Pill: woman’s best friend? – Telegraph.co.uk
Canada must help stop HIV spread in poor countries: expert – Vancouver Sun
Newborn HIV still ravaging Tanzania – The Citizen Daily
School peers help spread the word about preventing pregnancy, STDs – Herald & Review
Doula Month observed – Maryville Daily Times
May 17, 2010
Dropping the A-word – Toronto Star
Millions in Planned Parenthood funding on budget chopping block? – California Catholic Daily
Crist hints at abortion veto – Politico
False diagnosis of TB in HIV patients is fatal – Times of India
Cut out HIV discrimination call – BBC News
Delivering a better future for women and girls – Modern Ghana
INDONESIA: Gender inequality endangers women’s health – IRINnews.org
Victims of violence often abused economically – Fort Worth Business Press