ACLU Sues Bishops on Behalf of Pregnant Woman Denied Care at Catholic Hospital

The ACLU has a press release on its lawsuit against the bishops, so I can just publish the whole thing here for your enlightenment and discussion.

ACLU Sues Bishops on Behalf of Pregnant Woman Denied Care at Catholic Hospital

Suit Claims Religious Directives Put Women’s Health at Risk

December 2, 2013

CONTACT: 212-549-2666; media@aclu.org

NEW YORK and DETROIT— The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Michigan have filed a lawsuit on behalf of a pregnant woman who miscarried and was denied appropriate medical treatment because the only hospital in her county is required to abide by religious directives. The directives, written by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, prohibited that hospital from complying with the applicable standard of care in this case.

Tamesha Means rushed to Mercy Health Partners in Muskegon, Michigan, when her water broke after only 18 weeks of pregnancy. Based on the bishops’ religious directives, the hospital sent her home twice even though Means was in excruciating pain; there was virtually no chance that her pregnancy could survive, and continuing the pregnancy posed significant risks to her health.

Because of its Catholic affiliation and binding directives, the hospital told Means that there was nothing it could do and did not tell Means that terminating her pregnancy was an option and the safest course for her condition. When Means returned to the hospital a third time in extreme distress and with an infection, the hospital, once again prepared to send her home. While staff prepared her discharge paperwork, she began to deliver. Only then did the hospital begin tending to Means’ miscarriage. [Read more...]

Freedom is doing what you’re told

Sometimes the stupid is too grating to bear. On October 25th the Air Force Academy made a decision to allow cadets taking their honor code to opt out of saying “so help me God” at the end of the oath. Well I should hope so – it’s a federal institution, so obviously it shouldn’t be requiring employees to swear an oath to a god. But two Texas Congressional Representatives want to put a stop to it – they want the federal government to force people to swear an oath to a god. [Read more...]

Baroness Warsi will defend

The Telegraph rejoices at another paean to theocracy from “Baroness” Warsi.

Baroness Warsi will defend the right of Christians, Muslims, Jews and others to publicly practise their faith insisting that “people who do God do good”.

Her comments come in a speech in London marking the first anniversary of a landmark visit to the Vatican by a delegation of ministers in which she claimed that British society is under threat from the rising tide of “militant secularisation”.

Lots of work done in two sentences.

Warsi will “defend the right” – that’s not under attack. Nobody is taking away anyone’s right to publicly practice a religion, unless (of course) the “practice” is against a law or a set of local rules or the like. If someone’s religion requires her to scream under my windows at 3 in the morning, then I’m going to summon some cops to interfere with her right to practice in that way. If someone’s religion requires her to beat the crap out of her children then social services need to interfere with her right to practice in that way.

“People who do God do good.” Not necessarily. Some do, some don’t. Some do harm. Some do appalling harm.

How was Warsi’s junket to the Vatican a “landmark”? Who cares that it was exactly a year ago? Why is a delegation of government ministers visiting the Vatican – a religious institution, not a real state, despite its status as a pretend state courtesy of Signor Mussolini – at all? And what business does a government minister have attacking secularism? What business does a government minister have promoting or even demanding theocracy? Secularism doesn’t threaten the right to publicly practice a religion. It threatens only religious interference in or replacement of this-world government.

Lady Warsi, who combines a ministerial role in the Foreign Office with being Britain’s first minister for faith, will say that she went to meet Pope Benedict last year “to tell the world that Britain does do God”.

She will say: “There is one big reason why I made the case for faith that day … and why, I have made freedom of religion and belief a priority, and that’s that people who do God do good.”

Why does Britain need a “minister for faith”? For that matter why does “faith” even need a minister for faith?

Warsi is spectacularly clueless if she doesn’t realize that freedom of religion and belief depends on secularism.

H/t Roger.

The ERD part 2

The US Catholic bishops’ orders to Catholic health care providers.

Page 20 still.

28. Each person or the person’s surrogate should have access to medical and moral information and counseling so as to be able to form his or her conscience. The free and informed health care decision of the person or the person’s surrogate is to be followed so long as it does not contradict Catholic principles.

Doesn’t that sound familiar. [Read more...]

Start at the beginning

Now. Let’s be thorough about this. I need to understand the Ethical and Religious Directives – commonly and folksily called ERD – and just exactly how they function, and why. I need to know if and how and why anyone relevant (like, hospital administrations, and medical practitioners) considers them binding. I also need to know what they say.

So let’s take a look. [Read more...]

Hospital administrators interfered

More detail, from the full report by the National Women’s Law Center.

the Study revealed four serious lapses in care resulting from religious restrictions:

  • Doctors performed medically unnecessary tests, resulting in delays in care and additional medical complications for patients. These tests were done solely to address hospital administrators’ concerns that the treatment complied with religious doctrine.
  • Doctors transferred patients with pregnancy complications because their hospitals’ religious affiliation prohibited them from promptly providing the medically-indicated standard of care.
  • Hospital administrators interfered with doctors’ ability to promptly provide patients with the standard of care. [Read more...]

It’s not just Ireland

I’ve been re-reading the National Women’s Law Center report on religious restrictions at hospitals that put women’s lives at risk, from January 2011. It’s about what happened to Savita Halappanavar last month and what happens to a significant (but unknown) number of women because of religious bullshit surrounding the termination of pregnancy. It’s about hospitals substituting religious bullshit for technical medical understanding and experience.

The summary is Women’s Health and Lives at Risk Due to Religious Restrictions at Hospitals, New Center Study Shows.

What it tells us.

The Center’s report, Below the Radar: Ibis Study Shows that Health Care Providers’ Religious Refusals Can Endanger Pregnant Women’s Lives and Health, demonstrates that certain hospitals, because of their religious beliefs, deny emergency care, the standard of care and adequate information to make treatment decisions to patients experiencing miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies. The study and report focused on cases where no medical intervention was possible that would allow the patient to continue her pregnancy and where delaying treatment would endanger the woman’s health or even life. [Read more...]

Mandatory bullying in the schools

Sometimes the ugliness is just suffocating, and also hard to believe.

Take a good idea…

On Mix It Up at Lunch Day, schoolchildren around the country are encouraged to hang out with someone they normally might not speak to.

The program, started 11 years ago by the Southern Poverty Law Center and now in more than 2,500 schools, was intended as a way to break up cliques and prevent bullying. [Read more...]