Why I Refuse to Be Taken to a Catholic Hospital—And Why Other Women Should Too


Under no circumstances do I ever want to be brought to a Catholic hospital or medical facility. As a pregnant woman—and as a human being, period—I do not trust that my health needs will guide the care I am offered at such a facility. Furthermore, I urge other women to speak up, write an advance medical directive, and let their friends and family know that they do not consent to be taken for treatment at a Catholic hospital.

The reason I don’t want to be taken to a Catholic hospital isn’t because of abstract notions about morality, the separation of church and state, or when different faiths say life begins. Rather, I refuse because in Catholic hospitals patients may be refused medical treatment on the basis of church teachings. That’s a pretty big deal if an ambulance or well-meaning relative brings you to one while pregnant, after a rape, or any time you need urgent medical care.

Refusal to Perform Abortions Allows Women to Die

In October 2012, severe back pain brought Savita Halappanavar to a Catholic hospital in Galway, Ireland. When it was revealed that her 17-week pregnancy was unsustainable, doctors ignored her pleas and refused to perform a life-saving abortion, citing Catholic doctrine. Savita died. Her death has implications for all women, knowingly pregnant or not, who enter a Catholic hospital anywhere in the world.

Here in the United States, Sister Margaret McBride was excommunicated after authorizing a life-saving abortion in 2010 for a gravely ill woman at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix.

It is unreasonable to expect that every Catholic hospital in the country will have a dissenting nun willing to be excommunicated or a doctor willing to be fired to prevent women from being killed by “no abortion under any circumstances” rigidity. It seems it’s only a matter of time until the United States has its own Savita—a pregnant woman who dies needlessly in a Catholic hospital because the all-male Catholic hierarchy has decided barring all abortion, no exceptions, is the “pro-life” thing to do.

If Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) had gotten his way in 2011 and HR 358 had been signed into law, under federal law all hospitals would be allowed to refuse life-saving abortion care to patients; they also would be able to refuse arranging transport to another hospital that would provide such care. Pitts even had the nerve to name the bill the “Protect Life Act.”

It’s important to note that discrimination is dangerous and wrong, even when it doesn’t kill you. When we consider abortion only in life-and-death situations, we ignore the health and economic consequences women also face when they are denied constitutionally protected abortion care in the Catholic medical system.

Furthermore, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has claimed that abortion is, well, whatever they say it is. Scientific facts do not back up the bishops’ repeated assertion that emergency contraception is an “abortion-inducing drug”; in reality, emergency contraception prevents pregnancy before it occurs. When facts don’t matter, the next substance that the bishops deem an “abortion-inducing drug” could be anything—routine over-the-counter treatments, standard vaccinations—if the person controlling the medical care available to you is in a Catholic medical facility.

Scope of Problem Is Vast, Hits Rural Areas Hard

If you don’t want to go to a Catholic hospital, you don’t have to, right? You can just “choose” your way out of the problem? Wrong. Setting aside the obvious fact that many people are rushed to the nearest hospital in case of emergency, there are a few additional issues that make Catholic hospitals not so easy to avoid.

First, mergers can catch patients unaware. Facing financial constraints, secular hospitals in communities across the country have been pressured to consider mergers with faith-based institutions. When a secular hospital and a religiously affiliated hospital merge, one institution’s refusal beliefs can trump the other’s commitment to public health. In practice, this means that communities that have been counting on secular hospitals for years might not be aware that new, religious restrictions were wheeled in the door.

Second, there were a large number of Catholic hospitals even before the merger trend. In 1999, religiously affiliated hospitals operated nearly one in five acute hospital care beds in the country, according to a report from Merger Watch.

According to the same report, 48 of the 585 religiously affiliated hospitals studied were “recognized by the federal government as being the sole providers of hospital care in a geographic region.” So if you don’t live in a big city with lots of options, it may be geographically impossible to choose your way out of a Catholic hospital.

Wide Range of Reproductive Health-Care Services Are Restricted

“Unlike their secular counterparts, healthcare services available in Catholic institutions are restricted by guidelines that are separate from established medical norms,” according to a Catholics For Choice memo.

Specifically, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued directives that there be no access to abortion, no contraception, and no in-vitro fertilization in Catholic hospitals. There is a narrow exception for emergency contraception after rape if it can be proven that no pregnancy has occurred, but as we know, the bishops don’t use medical definitions when deciding what constitutes a pregnancy. Other directives bar treatment for ectopic pregnancy, an urgent and fatal condition, and forms of treatment developed from embryonic stem-cell research.

In short, if you’re pregnant and wind up in a Catholic hospital, you could find yourself in more trouble after you’ve seen a doctor than before you walked in the door.

Catholic Hospitals Discriminate, Take Federal Dollars

It is a national scandal that Catholic hospitals discriminate on the basis of sex yet are allowed to rake in federal dollars and receive tax breaks. As noted in both the Merger Watch report and the Catholics For Choice memo, Catholic-affiliated hospitals enjoy non-profit tax breaks and accept public funds, especially from Medicare and Medicaid.

So What Can We Do?

It’s important to raise awareness about Catholic hospitals. Let friends, family members, and employers know that you do not wish to be taken to a Catholic-affiliated hospital under any circumstances. Write or amend an advance medical directive. Urge other women you know to do the same.

If you wish to push further, there are many opportunities for leadership at the community level. Research the hospitals in your area. Do they have religious affiliation? Do they refuse to provide services? Share and publicize the information you learn. Furthermore, watch closely for hospital mergers in your area and work closely with your city council members during the approval process.

Finally, work to change public policy. It’s time to stop tolerating discrimination against patients seeking reproductive health care. It’s time to stop tolerating public dollars supporting these discriminating institutions. And it’s time to stop tolerating men in leadership positions making dangerous decisions for women.

No pregnant woman should die simply because she was taken to the wrong hospital.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/gypsyd8 Diana Lenore Miller

    profits before patients, always

    • HeilMary1

      And because our federal and state governments don’t require hospitals to report pregnancy-caused deaths, maternal deaths in America are vastly under-reported. The Washington, DC area has a very high maternal death rate. I’ve come across many cases and collect obits of local women who die immediately or within a few weeks to a couple years of childbirth, and yet there don’t seem to be any law suits. Hospitals are great at keeping survivors clueless.

      • nettwench14

        That’s really astounding! I’m sure Catholic hospitals don’t want statistics like that made public.

    • Matt Street

      The problem isn’t profit in this case though, its letting inconsistent religious beliefs override what is best for the patient.

  • poundcakery

    Hi, practicing Catholic woman here. I just wanted to clarify a few points about Catholic teaching in regards to abortion.

    The Catholic Church teaches that an abortion is when “the destruction of the child is willed as the end or the means to another end”. Removal of an etopic pregnancy is not an abortion, because the goal of the surgery is to remove the diseased portion of the fallopian tube, and the baby’s death is an unintended consequence. In the same way, if a pregnant woman had cancer of the uterus and the only cure was the removal of the uterus, that is not an abortion, because the death of the baby was not the main goal, it was a tragic consequence. Catholic hospitals have NO PROBLEM performing these types of procedures (or at least they shouldn’t. Salvita’s hospital is the exception rather than the rule, and if malpractice occurred then the hospital should be punished for disobeying ethical standards, both Catholic and secular).

    As an additional note, Catholics hold that life begins at conception. Pregnancy begins at the implantation of the embryo (7-10 days after conception), but the embryo is alive in the womb from the moment of conception. For this reason, Catholic doctors are sometimes hesitant to provide emergency contraception, as they don’t want to kill the embryo before it implants. Although this is technically not an abortion, since implantation hasn’t occurred, for the sake of convenience Catholics often refer to drugs that kill an embryo before implantation as ‘abortion-inducing drugs’. They’re not trying to make up their own definitions, it’s just easier than saying ‘drugs that kill an embryo before it implants, which is technically not an abortion but still kills a genetically unique human life’.

    All this to say that if you are a pregnant woman whose life is in danger from your pregnancy, please do not be afraid to go to a Catholic hospital. They will do whatever they can to save the life of both you and your baby.

    • LisaC

      They will do whatever they can to save the life of both you and your baby.

      And if that’s not possible they’ll let you and the baby die together, which is from their perspective just as good and in some ways better.

      • poundcakery

        Did you not read my post? If a procedure has to be done to save the life of the mother, even if it kills the baby in the process, a Catholic hospital will do it.

        ” just as good and in some ways better.”
        I’m sorry you see Catholics as so evil, I can assure you we’re not. It’s easy demonize people who disagree with you, but I beg you not to do that. Let me assure you, as a Catholic woman, I’m not evil. I don’t want pregnant women to die, no Catholic does. We DON’T say things like “sluts need to keep their legs closed” or “she deserved it”. We’re just people who practice a religion that forbids us to kill both women AND babies in the womb. You may disagree, but please disagree on rational, and not emotional, grounds.

        • C.H.

          Savita Halappanavar. Really have you forgotten so soon? Ectopic pregnancy, Catholic hospital = mother & child dead.

          • LisaC

            Point of information: the final report on Ms. Halappanavar’s death isn’t out yet, but it was a miscarriage in progress, not an ectopic pregnancy.

          • C.H.

            Minor quibble, but you are correct, it wasn’t ectopic, she arrived at
            the hospital with a miscarriage in progress, was told she would definitely miscarry, and then the staff of a Catholic hospital sat on their hands for DAYS until she developed septicimia and died. Despite repeated requests that they terminate the pregnancy that was no longer viable anyway, which is standard accepted medical care in the case of a miscarriage. Unless of course, you’re in a Catholic hospital.

        • http://www.facebook.com/ocelot.carter Ocelot Carter

          As I remember, it’s actually written into Catholic canon law that, if there’s a choice between saving the mother and saving the baby, they have to go with the baby. They cannot perform an abortion to save the mother’s life. (I read this in the encyclopedia of canon law.) So if they can’t come up with some kind of loophole that allows them to call it something other than an abortion, they can’t perform the procedure. Sister Margaret McBride was demoted and then excommunicated for approving what you say is a procedure all Catholic hospitals will do. I think you are misinformed.

          • goatini

            You are absolutely correct, and this is exactly what I was taught as a young girl. “New life” trumps the used up old skin bag. If you kept the used up old skin bag alive instead, it might not be able to breed anymore, so it’s basically useless.

          • HeilMary1

            Playboy and pedophile looksism is the ugly heart of fetal idolatry.

          • http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/ M. Simon

            Jewish law places the life of the mother first.

          • Moneybags

            Jewish tradition also does not consider life to begin at conception–life begins at “first breath”

          • Moneybags

            You’re (justifiably) misreading the OP–abortions are NEVER allowed. However, doing something else that has the side-effect of an abortion is allowed if it saves the mother’s life.

        • LisaC

          Yes, I did read your post, and you are either being deliberately duplicitous or are yourself deceived. A Catholic hospital will do some procedures that will result in fetal demise: specifically, procedures that cut out a woman’s reproductive organs even when it is not medically necessary to do so. (For example, treatment of an ectopic pregnancy, which can be done without excising the fallopian tube.) It will not, however, do a procedure such as terminating a miscarriage-in-progress that is causing infection or hemorrhage that cannot be treated by removing a woman’s organ. While Ms. Halappanavar’s death may certainly have been malpractice, it was also entirely consistent with Catholic health care ethics, which say that the mere fact that a procedure will save a woman’s life if not a reason to do that procedure. Nor do Catholic health care ethics (at least in the US) permit the resolution of a dangerous pregnancy by inducing labor before viability (cf. Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services no. 49), which is the canard that apologists usually trot out in this situation..

          I don’t want pregnant women to die, no Catholic does.
          I don’t care whether or not you want pregnant women to die. I care about Catholic health care ethics that permit women to die even though they could be saved.

          You may disagree, but please disagree on rational, and not emotional, grounds.
          My comment about the Catholic perspective on letting the woman and baby die together was perhaps needlessly snarky. However, you are spreading disinformation when you claim that “If a procedure has to be done to save the life of the mother, even if it kills the baby in the process, a Catholic hospital will do it,” because it leaves the impression that a Catholic hospital will do whatever is medically possible to save a dying woman. It will not.

          If you wish to discuss the issue rationally, please first inform yourself about the USCCB’s Directives on Catholic Health Care Services and about Catholic teachings on the principle of the double effect. The National Catholic Bioethics Center is a good place to start.

          • Moneybags

            You are correct. But I think there is a salient point in saying that what happened in Ireland isn’t the current state of affairs in the US for Catholic hospitals. Letting the patient just die is a lot worse than performing an “unnecessary” operation, even if it’s a strong enough reason to be afraid of Catholic hospitals.

        • cjvg

          You should open your ears and listen to the statements your catholic bishops etc make about this issue!!!

          Here is what happens if you need an abortion to save your life.

          The next woman will not be so lucky, the bishop made sure of that!

          “A pregnant 27 year old woman (mother of 4 already) had been diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension, a condition that doctors said would mean near certain death if she continued the pregnancy.

          Her heart was already beginning to fail despite all possible treatments provided, at this point the only treatment able to save the mother’s life required the termination of her 11-week pregnancy.
          So to save the mother’s life, Mercy Sister Margaret McBride, a member of the ethics committee, agreed with the ethics commission decision to approved an abortion.”

          “The patient, as well as her husband and immediate family members are practicing Catholics and understood the options open to them.
          The patient, who was too ill to be moved to the operating room much less another hospital, chose an abortion in an attempt to save her life.”

          She successfully came through the procedure.

          “Bishop Olmsted said Sister McBride had been justly and immediately excommunicated according to canon law”
          “The Catholic Church will continue to defend life and proclaim the evil of abortion without compromise, even if it must result in the death of the mother!, he said.”

          “According to the medical directives at the hospital, abortion is not permitted under any circumstances – even to save the life of the mother.”

          “The only option he considered acceptable was to induce early labor with the goal of expelling the baby.
          This procedure also likely means the baby’s certain death because the child was much too premature to survive outside the womb, however attempts could be made to save it.”

          “What he does not care about is that this action is much riskier to the woman who.s heart was already failing, and much more likely to result in her death due to the increase in the strain on her heart.
          Yes, there cases, unfortunately where women may die, he said!!!”

          doctors from the hospital wrote the bishop:
          “If there had been a way to save the pregnancy and still prevent the death of the mother, we would have done it.

          We did everything that could be done without doing harm to the mother.

          We are convinced there was no other way,” said a letter to Bishop Olmsted on May 17 from top officials at Catholic Healthcare West, the San Francisco-based health system to which the hospital belongs. But the bishop said that “the direct killing of an unborn child is always immoral, no matter the circumstances, and it cannot be permitted in any institution that claims to be authentically Catholic”

          Rev. John Ehrich, the medical ethics director for the Diocese of Phoenix. “There are some situations where the mother may in fact die along with her child. But – and this is the Catholic perspective”

          Neither of these men have a problem with the certain (but avoidable) death of a woman! as long as she dies with her pregnancy intact, it is all peachy!!!

          Apparently killing two is always better then one, when it concerns women and failed pregnancies according to the catholic church.

          In response to this case the catholic church has even actively proposed, promoted and sponsored the now failed bill H.R.358 written into the bill is a provision that would override the requirement that emergency room doctors save every patient, regardless of status or ability to pay.
          This provision would allow an exception for pregnant women; doctors and hospitals with religious or moral objections will be allowed to let pregnant women die if interventions or transfers to other hospitals could lead to an abortion in an effort to save the woman.
          So not only does the catholic church want to ensure that a pregnant woman will not receive adequate ER care in a catholic hospital, they will also ensure that it is legal to make sure they die with their fetus.
          So even if you are smart enough never to set foot in a catholic hospital you might have the misfortune that your treating doctor is catholic and they can still legally kill you for their believes.
          Always soooo nice if you are NOT the one who has to live (or in this case die) with the consequences of your decisions/believes.

          • HeilMary1

            And don’t forget this abortion could have been avoided if the mother had been sterilized, but she was only allowed fraudulent NFP.

          • nettwench14

            If Catholic Bishops are overriding the judgment of trained medical professionals, they are practicing medicine without a license. The Hippocratic oath is “First, do no harm.” They are advocating doing harm for religious reasons.

          • HeilMary1

            The bishops are committing Munchausen by Proxy abuse.

          • cjvg

            I fully agree, however not one single law or medical agency in this country, is willing to call the catholic hospitals out.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Patton/592034163 Andrew Patton

            The Hippocratic Oath also says, “I will not perform an abortion, nor administer an abortifacient drug, nor offer any such counsel.” No exceptions.

          • http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/ M. Simon

            Get a Jewish doctor. The life of the woman comes first.

          • JudeLawGuardian

            Unfortunately, the ones at my hospital as of today can no longer provide abortion services because the hospital was just taken over by the St. Joseph cult of hospitals. One more place where women are second-class chattel.

        • cmarie

          don’t waste your time poundcakery…. she read your post and she understands perfectly, but she’s going to pretend she doesn’t understand in hopes you’ll eventually just give up.

          • HeilMary1

            YOU don’t understand basic medical ethics.

          • cjvg

            Those are NOT medical ethics, in fact they are counter to all medical ethics since the dawn of time.
            Those are religious ethics, and your religion should never dictate my medical care or options.

          • goatini

            We understand it and we are correct.

          • http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/ M. Simon

            The Church is a perversion. They should follow the ethics of the Jews at the time of Jesus unless Jesus made an objection. In Jewish law the life of the woman comes first.

        • colleen2

          we read your post. You are factually incorrect. deal with it.

        • http://www.facebook.com/amanda.kazarian Amanda Kazarian

          You can disagree with someone all you like, just keep your lifestyle rules out of my life.

        • goatini

          I’m Catholic, and I still remember the “sex ed” session with Sister in which we young girls were told that in a crisis situation, we indeed WOULD be allowed to die, because all efforts would be made to save the fetus (or as they erroneously called it, “baby”) instead, and that were we to die in such a State of Grace, all our sins would be automatically forgiven and we would go straight to Heaven. So Lisa is absolutely correct – “just as good and in some ways better” from the RCC perspective.

          • http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/ M. Simon

            In Jewish law the life of the mother comes first. You may recall Jesus was Jewish. The Catholic Church is a perversion.

          • JudeLawGuardian

            That alone is almost enough reason to convert to Judaism…

        • JudeLawGuardian

          Actually, yeah, a lot of you DO say that. It’s like women who get knocked up DO deserve to be punished. I’ve heard exactly those sentiments a LOT from “religious” Christians who are supposedly holier-than-thou. Doesn’t bode well for the lot of you.

    • AlexisRT

      EC is problematic for Catholics regardless of abortion, because it is contraception. it’s still not okay.

      Although Catholic health directives permit salpingectomy, they do not permit less invasive treatment with methotrexate as this is considered abortion. That a salpingectomy is permitted may be cold comfort to you if you have an ectopic in your only tube or don’t wish to undergo surgery.

      My local Catholic hospital employs its own OBs, who not only do not perform abortions but do not prescribe contraceptives. I refused to use them because I am not Catholic, I use contraception and I didn’t need disapproval for using ART. (Shall we discuss the improbable claims of the Creighton Method and Catholic infertility providers?)

      As it stands today, Catholic hospitals have a choice. They can act as Sister McBride’s hospital did, and refuse livesaving treatment. Or they can twist themselves like pretzels around “double effect” and perform abortions in all but name. (Example I am familiar with: preeclampsia develops pre-viability, woman’s condition declines and a decision must be made. The hospital chooses to deliver, knowing the babies cannot survive, on the grounds that preeclampsia is a disease of the placenta [true!] and the death of the fetuses is simply double effect.)

      The first is inhuman. The second is merely hypocritical, and the principle of double effect is immoral hair-splitting.

      I choose to subject myself to neither and use the secular hospitals.

      • LisaC

        (Example I am familiar with: preeclampsia develops pre-viability, woman’s condition declines and a decision must be made. The hospital chooses to deliver, knowing the babies cannot survive, on the grounds that preeclampsia is a disease of the placenta [true!] and the death of the fetuses is simply double effect.)

        The USCCB’s directives say explicitly that labor may be induced after the fetus is viable, and so a Catholic hospital that treated preeclampsia that way would be risking episcopal sanction.

        • AlexisRT

          Yes, I’m familiar with Sister McBride’s case. The example I used was based on a case I knew personally (not, however, me) and this is what she told me the hospital ethics committee decided. I can certainly attest that the babies (multiple pregnancy) were delivered, did not survive (could not at that GA) and the mother is still alive now.

          The very fact that there was an ethics committee meeting, and not simply a decision by the obstetrics team on what to do with a very difficult case, to decide whether to save her life while she was in the ICU isn’t exactly a testament to the philosophy of the hospital.

          • LisaC

            Yes, I’m familiar with Sister McBride’s case.

            I see. I was confused by your sentence above: They can act as Sister McBride’s hospital did, and refuse livesaving treatment

            My fear is that someday a hospital will do what you described above, and then end up still getting sanctioned by a bishop who decides to override the ethics committee.

          • AlexisRT

            You’re right—I wasn’t thinking at all when I wrote that sentence.

      • cjvg

        What they are also swiping under the table is the fact that they are waiting until the woman’s condition declines to such an extent that they either have to deliver or watch her die.
        So they are doing the patient a most grievous harm by knowingly and willingly denying her the treatment that would ensure the best possible health.
        Basically they are offering sub par health care that is based in religion instead of in best medical practices

      • http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/ M. Simon

        Try Jewish hospitals where the life of the mother is paramount.

    • Redhead22

      You’re wrong on all counts. You may want to belueve everything you said, but Catholic hospitals can and do practice medicine according to their doctrine–not the patient’s wishes/religious beliefs, the best thing for the pt &/or baby, the wishes of the next-of-kin, etc.

    • Redhead22

      Ectopic pregnancies occur all the time, much of the time there is no “diseased portion” of the fallopian tubes to remove–the zygote implants & begins to grow in the tube. So, the surgery is directly to abort/remove the zygote, which cannot be excused under Catholic canon law.

    • Jodi Jacobson

      In many countries, the Vatican and bishops in those countries have gone *out of their way* to support laws that lead to women’s deaths. In Nicaragua, El Salvador, and many states of Mexico, for example, laws pushed and backed by the Catholic hierarchy have led to the deaths of women with cancer, refused treatment because they were pregnant. One of them barely nine weeks pregnant when diagnosed was refused *any* treatment because it “might harm the fetus.” So guess what? She died five weeks later. Women and girls in Mexico are being jailed for miscarriages because they are suspected of self-inducted abortions; women who have been raped are forced to carry children to term; nine-year-old girls impregnated through rape by their stepfathers are forced to bear twins. I could go on. Hospitals run by the Catholic Bishops are a dangerous place to be a woman. I would stay away.

      • http://www.facebook.com/alfonso.taboadaportal Alfonso Taboada Portal

        The Church forbade even forcing mothers to undergo a cesarean against her will. St. Alphonsus Liguori recognizes the right of the mother to refuse cesarean section, and Cardinal Gousset writes: “If the operation is deemed necessary, the confessor will certainly make every effort to obtain the consent of the woman, but not the force, threatening to deprive it of absolution. “

        • HeilMary1

          I have heard of deadly c-sections being forced on mothers just to baptize their dying fetuses.

          • http://www.facebook.com/alfonso.taboadaportal Alfonso Taboada Portal

            Liar, even for caesarean section, the Church recognizes the freedom of the patient. The surgeon does not have the right to operate without the knowledge of the patient and, above all, to make him suffer mutilation.
            It is a case of personal conscience of the mother and is so intimate and delicate, that the Church did not want to give a solution of principle. She can not force the doctor to sacrifice the child, you can not force her to risk her life.

          • HeilMary1

            You’re the liar here because Catholic theologian Uta Reinke-Heinemann has writtenabout cases of mothers being forced to die sooner just so their unviable fetuses can be baptized. Even my Detroit cousin knew about this dirty secret of Catholic “hospitals”.

          • http://www.facebook.com/alfonso.taboadaportal Alfonso Taboada Portal

            Uta Reinke-Heinemann is atheist, not catholic.

          • HeilMary1

            She converted in 1953 and was chair of Catholic theology at the University of Essen until she questioned the virgin birth. She now considers herself a non-traditional Christian, which is hardly atheism.

          • http://www.facebook.com/alfonso.taboadaportal Alfonso Taboada Portal

            Uta is not a credible theologian or even a reliable historian, Vittorio Messori and biblical scholar (now Cardinal) Ravasi have shown its many historic frauds and lies.

          • HeilMary1

            Mother-killing pedophile priest defender, what part of her CHAIRING Catholic theology and religion history at the University of Essen do you not understand? She’s a hell of a lot more scholarly than your pedophile protectors who exploit us as disposable incubators.

          • http://www.facebook.com/alfonso.taboadaportal Alfonso Taboada Portal

            Uta Ranke-Heinemann, “Do not know much about Jesus. We do not know when and where you were born or when he died, we do not know for how long and where exactly preached in public. Basically we only know he was born, that during the period of his preaching had disciples who followed him and was executed by default on the cross, the Roman gallows, dying miserably. After his body rotted dead in a mass grave and all the Easter narratives, evangelicals and Pauline, are but a mass of contradictions and legends “,” In the course of a meal Jesus ascended to heaven.At least it should have finished eating! All that we are on earth we were somewhat surprised by the bold task of climbing to heaven. In fact, it is a painful trip (but before you go if Jesus had expanded a bit …) and time, we do not know the rate at which walked or flew through the sky, or if accelerated progress during the trip. ), “… That set of fables unoriginal and a gruesome end that are the Gospels” (p. 10, “So is not”). Obviously an author who thinks well of the Resurrection and the Gospel, could not stay here and, for example, defines, literally, to John Paul II as “a poor sexual self-conscious as all the bishops of his community phallocratic”.

          • Arekushieru

            He is. What, you cannot be truthful AND Catholic? He did NOTHING to protect the victims of the predatory priests, but rather the PRIESTS themselves. All she is saying is that we don’t know the context, which we DON’T. That’s more Catholic-like than purporting to know everything that God said and wrote, as the Pope typically likes to claim. They may not be fables, but they certainly are unoriginal and gruesome. Again, she spoke TRUTH. The preamble is also truth. At the time she wrote this we did NOT know when he was born or when he died, OR where or for how long he preached in public. The Catholic Church THEMSELVES have finally acknowledged that the date of record for Jesus’ birth is wrong. Btw, I grew up Catholic. WHOOPS.

          • HeilMary1

            Since she chaired two religion departments, and is a married female, she has more expertise than any paid pedophile protectors.

          • Arekushieru

            You can be a credible theologian, while not being Catholic, btw. In FACT, as HM says, and you keep ignoring, she’s a much better judge of these matters than any paid pedophile protectors, who occupy the upper echelons of the Catholic Church, it seems I must remind you.

          • http://www.facebook.com/alfonso.taboadaportal Alfonso Taboada Portal

            Uta confessed that his conversion was a sham to marry her husband who was a Catholic. Her husband wanted to be a monk but she convinced him to abandon his vocation. In return she converted to Catholicism as part of the deal.

          • Arekushieru

            No True Scotsman fallacy? Hitler was Catholic. So is Uta Reinke-Heinemann. If Catholics can be excommunicated on the basis of certain religious precepts, they can also be members of the Catholic Church on basic religious precepts. Whoops.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Patton/592034163 Andrew Patton

            For the record, Hitler was excommunicated automatically for joining the Thule Society. This was years before he came to power.

          • goatini

            No , she is not an “atheist”. She is a Catholic.

          • http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/ M. Simon

            And atheists don’t tell the truth? Can’t testify in a court of law? Sounds a lot like Islam.

          • HeilMary1

            And it looks like from your other comments on a Catholic website that you support Maryland’s death penalty, and dismiss all anti-death penalty activists as “pro-criminal”, never mind that many death row inmates were wrongly convicted, and that the rest are no threat as long as they remain imprisoned. Fetuses, on the other hand, threaten women with all kinds of deadly, grisly injuries like death and obstetric bladder and bowel incontinence. Contraception and abortions were, are and will always be SELF-DEFENSE, but your pedophile priest-supporting heretic cult demands all women be exploited as throwaway incubators.

          • cjvg

            Freudian slip there?

            “above all, to make him suffer mutilation”
            Notice how you use him?!

            Unfortunately we are talking about women here, the church has absolutely no interest in sparing them from mutilation.
            The best interest of women and children are never a consideration in the eyes of the catholic church.

            You should do some investigating, here are some subjects to get you started;
            SYMPHYSIOTOMY IS A cruel and dangerous childbirth operation that unhinges the pelvis, severing the symphysis joint or, in the case of pubiotomy, sundering the pubic bones.
            This was to avoid Caesarean section, which was disliked by Catholic hospitals and Bishops because of its association with “the crime of birth prevention”.
            Undergoing four caesareans was widely seen as the upper safety limit. Symphysiotomy, in contrast, was viewed as a gateway to unlimited child bearing regardless of the damage done to women.

            Around 150 women survive today, many of them permanently disabled, incontinent and in pain. One baby in ten died during the process and a number were brain damaged.

            Women were left for many hours in the labour ward before being operated upon, wide awake, without their consent. One woman described the wire saw used to cut her pubic bone as being ‘like broken glass’, tearing into her.

            After the surgery, women were still in labour. Sometimes the baby took hours, or days, to come; then they had to push for as long as it took, through the agony of an unhinged pelvis.
            Those unable to give birth vaginally were eventually given the Caesarean section that had earlier been withheld.

            Discharged from hospital without medical advice or painkillers, women were sent home to sink or swim. Many never recovered.

            Long shunned by non catholic doctors as dangerous and on account of its dangers to the patient, symphysiotomy was revived in 1944 at the Catholic Holles St Hospital as a replacement for Caesarean section . Pregnant women were used as guinea pigs there in the 1940s and ’50s and this experimentation reached bizarre heights at the Catholic Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, then under the ownership of the Medical Missionaries of Mary.

            Dutch Catholic Church castrates boys in the 1950s
            Surgical removal of testicles was a punishment for those boys who dared to report clergy to the authorities for sexual abuse.

            The surgeries were done without the consent or knowledge of the boys parents, although they were often minors.
            the Catholic staff did not think parents needed to be involved, even if the patients were minors.
            Most of the boys were living in catholic boarding schools or orphanages

            Even if the clergy were convicted of the abuse, it was often to late for the accuser who already underwent a surgical castration in a Catholic psychiatric hospital to “cure” him of his homosexuality.

            All this regardless of the fact that the boys reported the abuse because they wanted it stopped.
            The boys were still considered the “seducers” in the eyes of the church.

            Catholic police members, doctors and even government officials were often complicit in this abuse on behest of personal requests from their church.

          • http://twitter.com/JenGStarr Jennifer Starr

            Forced symphysiotomies were Church-sanctioned brutality and butchery, plain and simple. The same goes for what the Dutch Catholic Church did in the fifties to innocent kids who were victims of lecherous clergy. There is a real sickness within this institution that has yet to be rooted out–if it ever will be. Somehow I doubt it.

          • HeilMary1

            I’ll bet a Congressional investigation of RCC hospitals here would reveal symphysiotomies and stolen and sold infants also.

          • Arachne646

            Since it’s never been looked for here, we can’t say such a practice that has been as systemic elsewhere as priestly pedophilia has not occurred here.

          • HeilMary1

            Thank you for mentioning these atrocities, and, sadly, you’ve barely scratched the surface of RCC crimes against humanity.

          • cjvg

            I realize that.
            The reason I specifically mentioned these two is because they are medically un-needed interventions that were practiced in catholic hospitals only, and only for the benefit of the church, and most certainly not in the best interest of the patient.

            These needles patient endangering and mutilating surgeries were most definitely not best medical practice and they knew it.
            The only one who would benefit from these surgeries was the catholic church, either from forced adherence to their religious dogma, or from the intimidation of their victims to protecting their reputation.

            These actions are so brutal and so clearly against any and all best medical practices that it boggles the mind that the doctors involved could actually go through with them, and still consider themselves in compliance with their Hippocratic oath.

        • http://twitter.com/JenGStarr Jennifer Starr

          I want my healthcare managed by actual doctors,who have me, my wishes and my best interests at heart. I don’t want my healthcare managed by Cardinals, Bishops and certainly not by Saint Whatshisnamus–who care more about following the dictates of their ‘faith’ than they do about my well-being.

      • http://www.facebook.com/alfonso.taboadaportal Alfonso Taboada Portal

        Prof. Koch points out that Chilean law states that ‘No action can be executed which purpose is to provoke an abortion’ and points out that “”ectopic pregnancy and other exceptional conditions where medical interventions are necessary to save the life of the mother are considered a medical ethics decision and not a legal issue in Chile. Thus, any specific law is considered unnecessary because the medical lex artis is sufficient to address the problematic situation using the principle of double effect and considering every individual case. Moreover, law cannot to resolve these problems simply because the causes of death are not related with the legal status of abortion. On the contrary, it is a question of good medical practice and opportune medical decisions.

      • Sharon Diehl

        …and this is how it is going to go in some red-states if the religious rightwing politicians have their way. The Republican platform calls for a ban to all abortions, even if the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest. As a woman, I am personally insulted by the Rethugs.

    • HeilMary1

      Liar, Catholic hospitals have enormously high maternal mortality and injury rates that they are almost globally excused from reporting. They also keep moving theological goal posts, and no longer remove diseased fallopian tubes and wombs.

    • http://twitter.com/JenGStarr Jennifer Starr

      How exactly does a doctor tell a rape victim that he can’t give her EC? Is it something along the lines of “Your rapist may have given you a baby and we don’t want to interfere with what ‘God intended?”

      • colleen2

        I believe that is what Catholics call ‘counseling’. They ‘counsel’ rape victims by pointing out that all they have to do is endure great pain and expense and then give the baby away so that the Church can profit. Or perhaps the rapist will agree to ‘father’ the resulting child. Because rapists make great fathers and husbands.

      • JudeLawGuardian

        How fucked up is THAT reasoning? SICK.

    • colleen2

      Catholic hospitals have NO PROBLEM performing these types of procedures (or at least they shouldn’t.

      We follow this news closely and I assure you that Catholic hospitals often DO have problems performing these procedures. What you are saying is simply not true. Salvita’s hospital was following the exact same rules that the hospital in Phoenix was supposed to follow last year in a very similar case. When they did not, the nun who was the chief administrator was excommunicated for allowing an abortion that was necessary to save the life of a woman whose body could not sustain her pregnancy.
      Catholics don’t like to give rape victims emergency contraception because they believe that rape is just another form of conception .

    • cjvg

      “remove the diseased portion of the fallopian tube”
      The fallopian tube is not diseased it has a zygote that implanted in an area it should not.
      If the appropriate medical care is given IE medical abortion, that same fallopian tube can function just fine afterwards.
      However if you happen to get treated in a catholic hospital they will remove the fallopian tube and thereby reduce your chances at successfully becoming pregnant by 50%.
      They also will not tell you that you have other options but that they are not willing to provide those.
      All this because catholic hospitals and their religious directives are hypocrites, that zygote dies regardless but the woman is the one who suffers the effects of their medical negligence.

    • Jenna

      Before implantation, the embryo isn’t necessarily “alive in the womb.” Conception occurs in the fallopian tube.

    • amy_smith2

      “They [Catholic hospitals] will do whatever they can to save the life of both you and your baby.”

      No they won’t. if that was true, then there would be no discussion here at all. Catholic hospitals prioritze the life of the fetus, period. They let you both die or let the mother die before they lift a finger against a fetus, regardless of viability.

    • Sharon Diehl

      My mother was raised a Catholic, and she left the church as soon as she could at age 18. Goatini’s post is correct; my mother also told me that as a little girl she was taught she was worth less than the “baby”, and if she died in childbirth she was a martyr.
      The nuns and priests scared her silly; she also didn’t like it that unbaptized babies floated in limbo. I swear; religions are full of such silly stuff. I was dragged off to Reformist and other churchs as a kid by my mom and grandparents, but I could tell it was all imaginary stuff–you outgrow it, just like believing in Santa Claus.

    • JudeLawGuardian

      It’s all religious crap. My aunt had a situation during a pregnancy at a Catholic hospital and if necessary, they would have saved the fetus rather than my aunt. What bullshit.

  • LisaC

    Other directives bar treatment for ectopic pregnancy

    For the sake of accuracy it should be noted that the directives don’t bar treatment for ectopic pregnancy. Rather, they mandate that it be treated by cutting out the fallopian tube instead of removing the pregnancy through less invasive, medically preferable methods.

    • http://twitter.com/deathrep melissa jacobs

      Been there and had that done! Died on the operating table, but brought back by the Creator to fight for just causes like this one!

    • nettwench14

      That’s insane! What difference does that make? Or maybe I shouldn’t attempt to make sense out of nonsense. Religious beliefs should be kept out of medical care. It is extremely discriminatory to everyone else using the facility who is not an extreme Catholic. I am curious – what is their position on living wills and a family or individuals right to not have extreme measures extend your life, or to be taken off life support? That should also be important/

      • LisaC

        I am curious – what is their position on living wills and a family or
        individuals right to not have extreme measures extend your life, or to
        be taken off life support?

        I don’t know all the details. They do the same hair-splitting as with abortion but with, I think, genuine measures to be humane to the dying. It is okay for the terminally ill to refuse a treatment that is unlikely to be successful and to decline “extraordinary” measures of treatment. I think–and I am not 100% sure–that it is okay to do something like turn off a ventilator for a dying person, and I think–again, not certain–that Catholic health care directives will permit a hospital to follow a terminally ill person’s advance directive that they don’t want to be given artificial hydration and nutrition, but the directives don’t permit artificial nutrition or hydration to be withdrawn once started.

        • colleen2

          I believe that the Church’s effective position on DNR’s is to ignore them if the patient has good insurance.

          • LisaC

            I believe that the Church’s effective position on DNR’s is to ignore them if the patient has good insurance.

            And some people believe that Planned Parenthood is “in the abortion business for profit.” That doesn’t make it true.

          • colleen2

            I have what some people call a dry sense of humor. Please take that into account the next time you decide to correct me. Thanks.

          • LisaC

            That’s going very high on my list of things to remember.

    • HeilMary1

      Actually, Catholic hospitals no longer even do that! They refuse all treatment and wait for the dead rotting fetus to kill the mother if it doesn’t naturally expel on its own.

      • HeilMary1

        In fact, I worked with the daughter of a woman who suicided in this manner — she let a rotting fetus kill her because she “reverenced life”.

      • http://www.facebook.com/susan.fowlerbersoux Susan Adele Fowler Bersoux

        when my baby died at 16 weeks gestation labor was induced. this was at a catholic hospital in 2000. i was allowed to bury my son. in a secular hospital they would have burned him as medical waste. i was glad he got the dignity he deserved.

        • colleen2

          i was allowed to bury my son. in a secular hospital they would have burned him as medical waste.

          Do you have any evidence at all for such a claim?

        • Jenna

          I had a 9 week d&c recently at a secular hospital. I was informed verbally and in writing about my options regarding the disposition of the remains. That included the option to wait a week to decide and make funeral home arrangements if necessary. I doubt “medical waste” is the standard of care at non-catholic hospitals. Care at secular facilities is still values-based, its just that the beliefs and values of the patient are more important than those of the provider.

          • HeilMary1

            And let’s not forget how abusive priests and nuns treat THEIR OWN secret pregnancies. Hundreds of Native American survivors are now telling truth commissions about forced abortions and grisly infanticides to hide affairs and rapes by these “pro-life” clergy. Many survivors were forced to incinerate or bury in garbage dumps or building walls and floors still-alive newborns to spare priests’ “reputations”. Those clergy were never excommunicated or arrested.

        • godtrustswomen

          Of the three people I know who had life-saving abortions of wanted pregnancies at secular hospitals, all chose to and were given the opportunity to bury and have a funeral for them. I am sorry for your loss and I’m glad you had the opportunity to commemorate it in the way you want, but what you say about secular hospitals is simply not true.

        • http://www.facebook.com/julie.p.roof Julie Pugh Roof

          And yet in 91 my sister-in-law lost a son in her 6th month (at 24 weeks) in a Catholic hospital after she laid for days waiting for him to die (much like Savita Halappanavar) because being catholic, they would not take him. After my brother delivered him while assisting my sister-in-law to the toilet, she told them she wanted to name him Phillip. The nurse told her she could not name him because there would be no birth or death certificate. She wasn’t allowed to name him, he wasn’t a person, he was medical waste

          • Makabit

            They should not have done that. There may have been no birth or death certificate, but there was no reason for the nurse to tell her not to name him, and I’ve never heard of a hospital that would not release the remains of a miscarriage to the family to bury or dispose of appropriately. If that’s how it happened, they screwed up, which is obviously of very little comfort to your sister-in-law and her family. It’s not a policy, or normative behavior.

            When a friend of my family’s had a late miscarriage the nurses were in fact sort of obnoxious about wanting her to name the baby, take pictures, and the like, and didn’t seem to understand that she had religious reasons for not doing so.

        • JudeLawGuardian

          Oh bullshit. They would NOT have burned him.

  • http://twitter.com/deathrep melissa jacobs

    Wonderful blog and ideas! My family already know better! We had a pedophile priest in our church! He did more damage than anyone could know! We were Blackfoot Indian children forced into Catholicsm by our loving govt.! Yuck!

    • HeilMary1

      I hope Hollywood pays attention to your injustice and educates the rest of America with movies about your suffering. The whole point of no effective family planning is to guarantee unlimited victims for pedophile priests, and indigenous children are perfect targets.

  • Redhead22

    A huge factor that was not mentioned in hospital choice is insurance. My insurance is through my husband’s employer–a Catholic hospital. Using any facility but theirs is “out-of-network”, which means greatly reduced or nonexistent coverage. They own nearly every clinic and hospital in the region. They won’t even sell birth control pills in their pharmacies, much less cover them. One more reason single-payer is ideal.

    • HeilMary1

      Your pedophile priest-serving “insurance” deserves to be sued for Munchausen by Proxy abuse!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000053275770 Penny Furman

    We had Catholics running a hospital for many years. When they were bought out and there were renovations done, they dug up many baby bones from the nuns who had gotten pregnant and buried their babies.

    • HeilMary1

      Funny how Catholic clergy never get excommunicated for their own career-saving abortions and INFANTICIDES. Can you name this criminal hospital? Shouldn’t there be infanticide investigations?

    • Makabit

      That’s a tale that goes back to the Reformation. Citation, please?

      • JudeLawGuardian

        Same thing happened in the town my mom lived in years ago where it comes to aborted fetuses. It’s not just a “tale”, honey. Just because you want to block out reality doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

        • Makabit

          Citation please? Come on. This is anti-Catholic propaganda that, as I mentioned can be dated to the sixteenth century. That’s reality. People do doctoral theses on this sort of thing. If they’d had Snopes in the Renaissance, life would have been so much simpler.

          In real life, in the industrialized world, we start to run into problems. Why are these clergyfolk not using birth control? Where are they finding these ‘aborted fetuses’ which were apparently not properly disposed of, but could nevertheless be clearly identified as the offspring of Catholic clergy? (There may have been some other women at this hospital at some point, you know.) In the case of the ‘baby bones’ described above, why were the pregnancies carried to term and not aborted? And is there a ghostly nun named Bloody Mary who will pop out of a mirror and kill you if you say her name three times involved?

          This isn’t reality, this is dumbassery. But I could easily be mistaken–you could demonstrate this by linking to a news article or police report.

          Guess the anti-choice crowd aren’t the only ones who revel in urban legends.

  • cmarie

    Well I think it’s somewhat unlikely that any ambulance driver is going to want to take you to Ireland, but if you honestly don’t trust Catholic hospitals to treat you at all then absolutely you should tell your family. After all, how could you trust a trauma surgeon to stabilize your breathing if you know there aren’t multiple abortions going on in the next room?

    • HeilMary1

      I’d never trust a Munchausen by Proxy fetal idolator like you as a nurse, doctor, pharmacist, aide or ambulance driver.

    • Dezzydez

      I would rather go to a hospital that actually respects my wishes on my pregnancy and doesn’t force their bullshit religious mythology on to me.

    • http://twitter.com/JenGStarr Jennifer Starr

      I would much rather go to a hospital that gives me the best healthcare based on my needs, rather than following the dictates of some dusty old doctrine dreamt up by a bunch of old men.

      • HeilMary1

        Especially men with a history of shunning marriage to women while helping themselves to molesting the kids of the very women they scorned.

    • Arekushieru

      After all, how can you trust a trauma surgeon to stabilize your breathing if you know there aren’t multiple ‘unforced’ cesareans going on in the next room?

    • cjvg

      Irrelevant and idiotic statement.

      The fact that a hospital will NOT follow best medical practices if feel it is contradicted by their religious believes, is a very real concern!
      A concern that can, and for some who are female , will have a detrimental effect on your medical treatments and your chance of a healthy outcome of your emergency!

      the bible is not a medical text book, regardless of what a bunch of old guys believe.

  • PeninaD

    THANK YOU! So I am not the only one that already has an advanced directive that states not to take me to a Catholic Hospital, or if somehow I end up in one, to be transferred elsewhere. Good.
    Many years ago, I found myself in the predicament of being in a Catholic Hospital for one major problem, and found to be in the early stages of pregnancy. The proper treatment was medication, and ideally not to be pregnant at all. The hospital would not medicate me. Thankfully one nurse whispered to me to let me know what was going on. I got out, and went elsewhere. Yes, I had an abortion, and I received the proper course of treatment. In due time, I was back to work, back into society, and eventually, when I was in better shape and in my own time, I had and raised my twin girls.
    For them, I keep fighting these insane attempts to outlaw abortions.

    • PeninaD

      And don’t forget, if you have something such as a RoadID or Medicalert, see about including those wishes on your files.

    • nettwench14

      The fact that they would no be above board and honest with you about what your alternative treatments could be is VERY disturbing. It absolutely sounds contrary to the Hippocratic Oath physicians take. If they don’t want to do something, they should at least be upfront about the reason. Religious belief has no place in health care decisions.

      • HeilMary1

        Refusal to teach condom use to AIDS patients MURDERS their partners. Catholic “health care” is an oxymoron.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Patton/592034163 Andrew Patton

          We teach chastity. Condoms are contrary to chastity. Chaste people don’t spread HIV, nor would they have any use for condoms.

          • http://www.facebook.com/penny.perraultduff Penny Perrault Duff

            Andrew Patton, I am sorry that you believe it is okay in this country to ramrod your particular brand of religion down everyone else’s throat. Who set you up as God, judge, jury and executioner? I am SO thankful I am NOT a Catholic nor a fundagelical.

          • Kristen

            Yeah chastitiy is so realistic in this day and age…derp derp! How do people like you make it in this world, I mean seriously WTF?

          • Stacey

            Yes I know! It’s ridiculous to believe that people can have self-control!

          • Kristen

            Well take a look around at the sh*thole world we live in! Obviously it is, or we wouldn’t be having this discussion. I prefer to live in reality, even though it sucks, and not kid myself into believing that people are gonna change just because I think they should.

          • Stacey

            People, especially kids, try to live up (or down) to our expectations. Is it better to say, “strive for this virtue,” and give them tools to reach it (chastity education) and help them get back up when they fall (sacraments and compassion), or say, “you probably can’t be virtuous, so do whatever you want”?

          • Kristen

            No what I’m saying is no matter how much you want people to live up to your expectations, most of them probably won’t. My son has grown far beyond my expectations and is the smartest, most kind hearted person I know. But, he’s not a virgin, even though I told him he should remain so, not necessarily until he’s married, but at least until he’s out of high school. People are gonna do what they wanna do, all we can do is support them.

      • PeninaD

        If you can see the little photo, I was a Paramedic….believe me, I am very aware of that fact.

        • http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/ M. Simon

          You should sue the Catholic hospital.

    • http://www.awaypoint.wordpress.com Valerie Tarico

      Penina, if you are willing to tell your story in more detail as this issue heats up, could you contact me via Washington Women for Choice or Facebook?

      • HeilMary1

        I would love to see Congressional hearings on the under reported cult-based death and injury rates at Catholic hospitals. Holy Cross in Silver Spring, MD is building a second hospital in the area after beating out another chain. What was most worrisome were posted comments by medical professionals on the criminal horrors they witnessed at Catholic hospitals. A non-attending professional witnessed a single woman with pulmonary hypertension be forced to die because the only life-saving treatment was abortion. He/she snuck a peek at her chart and realized she was never informed that she was dying but could be saved by an abortion. She had been abandoned by her married lover and had no relatives to stand up for her. The “pro-life” staff made her pay for her sins with death. Another woman with deadly pregnancy complications was blocked by a posse of nurses to prevent her from saving herself with an emergency abortion elsewhere, but she managed to plow through them and flee. We also need hearings on the hidden sky-high costs of pregnancy complications and their inflation of insurance premiums.

        • http://www.awaypoint.wordpress.com Valerie Tarico

          HeilMary – Can you point me to where they told their stories? It might be helpful in the Washington fight. I can be reached via Washington Women for Choice (info at washingtonchoice dot org) or at Facebook.

          • HeilMary1

            Yesterday, I posted a link here for a related story, but Discus doesn’t like links.

          • http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/ M. Simon

            Yup. This site throws links into moderation. Not all sites do that.

          • HeilMary1

            P.S. Loved your AlterNet article on Religious Trauma Syndrome. I’ve been calling RCC fetal idolatry Munchausen by Proxy abuse since denial of effective family planning causes millions of deaths and injuries each year.

        • http://www.facebook.com/penny.perraultduff Penny Perrault Duff

          In that area, you are limited to Suburban and Montgomery General. Besides the very powerful Holy Cross, you have two major Adventist hospitals. You could also try Washington Hospital Center if you have the time or George Washington Hospital. Don’t know the status on Sibley.

  • cherrybomb

    So maybe this is a naive question – but if I make one of these medical directives in advance, but I am still brought to a medical establishment that contradicts my written wishes, is that considered illegal? Because it is written down explicitly and signed by me, are the emergency personnel then obligated by law to bring me to a specific type of hospital? Is it sort of like a will in that sense? I’m just curious because, although I can get behind your sentiment 100%, I wonder how effective a directive would actually be – especially in the cases of “…if you don’t live in a big city with lots of options, it may be geographically impossible to choose your way out of a Catholic Hospital”…..

    • Arachne646

      Emergency personnel must use their professional judgement and certainly follow the patient’s directive, but only if it will not be a risk to her health because of additional time/distance or other factors. If they don’t follow her directive, they’d better have a good reason.

      • http://www.facebook.com/penny.perraultduff Penny Perrault Duff

        Most advance directives do not bind EMS–they are not attorneys. Many states have a form for DNR that the EMS will observe. I know that Maryland and Florida have such forms, and there are a number of other states. Check to see if your state is one.

    • http://www.facebook.com/penny.perraultduff Penny Perrault Duff

      ALL health care facilities are required to observe that medical directive. If they don’t, find yourself a good attorney.

  • http://twitter.com/CraneStation Rachel

    Good morning Erin. I will put this here as well, saw the post at Firedoglake. As pre-by-the-way I share your concern, certainly. But, here is my question/comment:

    I am still confused about the hospital University Hospital Galway may not be Catholic. It is a large teaching hospital and I am not questioning what I view to be a tragic case of medical malpractice, but, is it actually a Catholic hospital? The statement, “This is a Catholic country” speaks more to the country’s problem with a ‘Catholic’ policy, but again, I am not sure. There’s this:

    NUI Galway is a member of the Coimbra Group, a network of 40 long-established European universities.

    To put it another way, where would one go if they were living in Ireland and wanted to choose not to be treated at a hospital governed by these policies?

    Let’s see, I cited to wiki, but those links may not come through here.

    Thank you for posting on this topic.

  • Amorette

    I live in a town where the only hospital is Catholic and a lousy one at that. Very discouraging.

  • erbmon

    My boyfriend and I sometimes discuss what we would do if I got pregnant…
    I said I would rather have a midwife than a doctor, my boyfriend said ‘hell no’. My response?
    ‘You don’t to be involved, it’s not your life or your body’. I’d rather give alone in the woods than in a hospital, the wolves would be kinder to us than a hospital staff.

    • HeilMary1

      Be careful what you wish for! I’ve read terrible accounts of war refugee women and their newborns being devoured by wolves in the Kurd region and starving dogs in Baghdad after Bush 43’s invasion.

    • cjvg

      I had a home birth with my second, the first was an emergency transfer.
      Having experienced both, I told my husband that there was no way in hell that I would ever give birth in a hospital again.
      My second birth was a peaceful and healing experience, I can highly recommend it.

      • http://www.facebook.com/penny.perraultduff Penny Perrault Duff

        I agree! I had one hospital birth followed by 3 home births.

    • Makabit

      I had a baby a few months ago at a hospital. I like wolves, but the hospital staff were very nice, and were able to help with breastfeeding techniques, which the wolves probably would not have been.

  • http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/ M. Simon

    This is America. The way to fix this is to sue Catholic hospitals.

    • colleen2

      my, my, wouldn’t THAT open up a can full of worms. If I recall correctly the Church is lobbying for a ‘conscience exemption’ that would allow hospitals to follow Catholic doctrine and allow Catholic hospitals to refuse to treat or refer women whose bodies cannot sustain their pregnancy. Apparently their ‘consciences’ demand the deaths of innocent women and they wish to be able exercise that ‘conscience’ with impunity. They make me wish I had a law degree.

  • amy_smith2

    Erin, I am behind you 100%. I am currently pregnant and have been very careful to make sure thta I have not received prenatal care at a Catholic hospital and also told my husband that under no circumstances am I to deliver at a Catholic hospital.

    I’ve read down the comments and seen several posts from Catholics expressing that they are not “evil” and do not wish for a mother to die. That’s nice, but it still means non-Catholic women get to be murdered by Catholic hospitals through what amounts to full-blown medical malpractice and deliberate misinformation when a pregnancy goes wrong. Catholic institutions should not be in the business of providing health care to the public at all if they lie to patients, provide substandard care or refuse treatment on religious grounds.

    Catholics are entitled to believe as they wish but they are not entitled to force those beliefs on non-Catholics. It is shocking and awful that Catholic hospitals receive any public funds when they provide substandard care to half the human race based on religious doctrine.

    • Lillian Fernandez

      just remember WHO started hospitals in the first place—The Catholics. What you say is wrong. Many Catholic Hospitals will not endanger the life of a woman. If it is clear the woman’s life is in danger, they will terminate the pregnancy because if the woman dies, the child dies too.

      • http://www.facebook.com/penny.perraultduff Penny Perrault Duff

        Historical cites? You’re position is nonsense even if you want to look at the Bible!!! And how is it that Europe has a lock on developing and administering care? Lillian, get your history right before you make assertions you can’t prove.

    • Moneybags

      The article is incorrect that Catholic hospitals in the U.S. are not allowed to take any actions in the cases of ectopic pregnancies (the subject here). The article cites a case from Ireland which is not under the jurisdiction of the US Council of Catholic Bishops. Catholic hospitals in the US are able to perform tubal ligation to save the woman’s life, which also has the side-effect of aborting what the Church considers a pregnancy.

  • Sharon Diehl

    I used the Dalkon Shield for birth control in the 1970’s; it perforated my uterus; I became pregnant; I didn’t know it because of spot bleeding. A high fever and vomiting took me to a doctor; who discovered the pregnancy and informed me that 35 women had already hemorrhaged to death trying to go to term with the IUD in place. I was not willing to take a chance of bleeding to death. The hospital the doctor directed me to would not admit me until my husband signed his permission for me to have a therapeutic abortion. I was ENRAGED…this was MY LIFE, not his! In the prep room, a nurse who identified herself as Catholic to me said she would not assist me because she disagreed with my decision. Another nurse reported that Catholic bit*h for harassing me. My [female] doctor told the Catholic nurse that she would never work for her again and to keep away from all her patients. I had the abortion, and my health insurance refused to pay for it, calling the surgery an elective. My doctor wrote them a letter stating that it was a life-saving procedure, and I was finally reimbursed for most of the bills.
    Ladies, religious freak politicians are playing with your lives. It’s not just Catholics; it is fundamentalists, any bible-humping sect, Catholic doctrine does not care about you, and they will make you a martyr to their religion if given the chance because they worship the Fetus over you.

    • JudeLawGuardian

      I am PISSED beyond belief. My hospital that I’ve been at over the years has just been taken over by St. Joseph’s, and has just banned abortions. They said it’s because of medical, not religious, reasons, but—-BULLSHIT. My gynecologist won’t be able to provide the same services for her patients that she could before today. They lied when St. Joseph’s took over and led everyone to believe that there would be no policy changes. SICK. I am tired of being persecuted by the religious idiots, now not only in the government, but at my local hospital too. My aunt almost died as a result of being in a Catholic hospital when she was having a baby. Yup—they worship the parasitic organism, i.e. fetus—fuck the host organism that’s carrying it, according to them, I guess. I am now trying to see how many non-religious hospitals in my area perform abortions—just in case.

  • http://www.facebook.com/penny.perraultduff Penny Perrault Duff

    I am well past child-bearing, but I still don’t EVER want to be in a Catholic hospital for any reason. The one in our town (St. Petersburg, FL) is scary for other reasons. I have long been in agreement with this article.

  • http://www.facebook.com/penny.perraultduff Penny Perrault Duff

    I urge every one of you to read: “When Abortion Was A Crime”. This is a dispassionate, thorough examination of abortion in this country over the last 200 years. Only when there was a severe crackdown on abortion (1940s–1973) did maternal mortality rates skyrocket. Those who want to strictly outlaw abortion by whatever means will not stop abortions, just send them underground. About those Catholic hospitals–many refused to treat women who had septic or hemorrhagic abortions–they let them die.

  • AJ

    The Hippocratic Oath is no longer
    – medical students, at least in Australian Universities are free to formulate
    their own (Hippocrates would be rolling in his grave). In other words you are
    no longer able to be sure of that which it is a doctor promises to do.

    For the Catholic a mother who wishes to remain Catholic, must not and cannot
    have an abortion under any circumstances. Moreover a Catholic doctor cannot
    perform an abortion. If you wish to fight this, then expect a fight to the very
    end.

    It is all well and good to spit at this doctrinal position held by the Catholic
    Church, but it is quite another to avoid explaining the reasoning behind it.
    This doctrine is not contrary to the welfare of mother and child, but rather
    the holding of them to the highest dignity. It is not held with bitterness and
    spite, it is held to firmly and ferociously in their defence.

    (….if you have read this far you are doing well.)

    To see clearly the truth in this doctrine one only need look at the countless
    infants saved by it. I needed refer to newspaper articles of singular cases in
    the entire world, I need only look to the countless mothers I know that were
    told by doctors with ‘good intention’ to have an abortion. Being true to not
    only Catholic law, but the inherent natural law in accordance with it, these
    mothers disregarded the advice of these doctors and went on to have several
    children!

    PeninaD, your twins might have known your child had you had the selfless
    courage to defy the odds as these mothers I know did and heroically see your
    pregnancy to term. Not to worry, tour child exists now in the afterlife where
    you and your children will meet them one day face to face…what will you say?!
    Come to your senses and the burden of guilt that you very likely heave daily
    can come to an end – I am sure the smile that we see on that face will quickly
    change to an expression of anger when reading this…if you are so sure of
    yourself, why is it that my comments here likely eat away at you. To put it
    simply, a person sure of themselves is not at all unsettled by what others say
    about them and their decisions.

    A real women would die for their child, they would do anything to give it an
    opportunity of living regardless of the odds and what some doctor who has no
    means of knowing the future will tell them! Indeed they would gladly give their
    life up for the most minute possibility of an extension of their child’s life,
    and I am sure that there are many who died and who are now in heaven (a place
    that indeed does exist) and who would have no regrets, even if their child died
    too! To note also, is that a foetus is a human being at conception (even atheistic
    biologists accept this), and so this being the case, a mother refusing an
    abortion at the expense of death is effectively giving that child the longest
    duration of life possible!

    In much the same way a real man would fight to the death for his wife, be it to
    only to prolong her life a few more moments! It’s not a case of saying
    “well, seems I am done here, I best be running away and saving my own skin
    since I will not be able to conclusively save her” (bear in mind, likewise
    as with the doctor such a man does not know what the future holds, and so
    ultimately cannot make a judgement as to whether his actions will not save
    her). What women would hope for a husband like this!? What a cowardly man!
    Moreover an even more cowardly man would one who is so selfish in his
    attachment to his wife that he would will the death of his innocent child, and
    that he would want a wife who was the like so selfish of her own life! Indeed
    we hear many stories of such selfish men urging their reluctant wife to have an
    abortion.

    What makes a man love his wife so very much is her selflessness towards her
    child. This is true love, and a love that a real man cannot resist but to
    adore!

    _______________________________________________________________________

    I realise that most of you will take to these comments like lions tearing to pieces
    carcass…but there is still the hope that one of your readers may see the
    sense in these words. Maybe it will cause to choice to save their child’s life!

    This is a fight for life, and a True Catholic will fight for it to the very
    end, even if it means people like you mandating our execution…we have done it
    many times before in history! We will not back down, and will continue to
    defend the God given right of life to all people, and indeed the lack of right
    to take their own life and the life of others! We are not afraid!

  • Moneybags

    Actually… the situation you cite in Ireland sounds like an ectopic pregnancy. I don’t know about the Bishops in Ireland, but in the U.S. the Bishops have given hospitals permission to perform tubal ligations in such cases to save the woman’s life. They remove the portion of the tube which is effectively also an abortion, but since it’s not directly killing the embryo it is considered morally licit.

  • Stacey

    I think you should double-check the story about the hospital in Phoenix. The issue wasn’t that the sister allowed an abortion for one “gravely ill woman,” but that the hospital changed its policy to allow all abortions. The hospital wasn’t allowed to call itself a Catholic hospital since it wasn’t in line with Church teaching.
    Additionally, the bishops are using this definition of pregnancy: it begins with conception (when the sperm meets the egg), not with the implantation of the fertilized egg on the uterine wall. Therefore, if you take a Plan-B drug or a contraceptive of that sort which prevents the egg attaching to the uterine wall, but not the fertilization of the egg, it is technically an abortion. Most bishops aren’t scientists, but they aren’t idiots.