Catholic thanatophilia, December 2010

Some readers of the Texas Taliban post have expressed surprise that some rules against abortion can be downright murderous, so I thought I would go digging through the archive. I too was surprised in December 2010 to learn just exactly how explicitly murderous the policy of the Catholic church and in particular the US Conference of Catholic bishops actually is.

Here is one post on the subject (click on the link to the original to read the comments) –

December 28, 2010

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops insists on exactly the same murderous policy that the rebarbative bishop of Phoenix does. The CCB is very clear about it. The CCB doesn’t mess around.

“Surgery to terminate the life of an innocent person, however, is intrinsically wrong… Nothing, therefore, can justify a direct abortion. No circumstance, no purpose, no law whatsoever can ever make licit an act which is intrinsically illicit, since it is contrary to the Law of God which is written in every human heart, knowable by reason itself, and proclaimed by the Church.”

No circumstance whatsover, including the circumstance that the fetus is already doomed and will not survive no matter what, can make it licit to remove the placenta to prevent the woman’s death, since it is contrary to something that does not exist.

The bishops don’t know that there is such a thing as “God” or that it exists or ever has existed. They don’t know what the “Law” of that “God” is. They know nothing whatsoever about it. They know they’ve been told things, but anyone can tell anyone anything, and often does. Mere telling is not enough, especially when ordering medical workers to let patients die on the authority of the telling.

The putative law of the putative God is not “written in every human heart.” It’s not written in mine, and the bishops have no business saying it is. They’re bullshitting, and they’re doing it in aid of backing up a rule that would let women die when they could be saved, on the grounds that their fetus can’t be saved too.

Defenders of this revolting policy are bullshitting, if not outright lying, too: they are calling this policy a “right to life” policy, but of course it’s not, because the whole point is that it kills a woman and a fetus instead of only a fetus. That’s not “pro-life.” This policy results in the death of an adult, not life for a fetus.


  1. unbound says

    This is why the concept of “Intelligent Bishop” is an oxymoron. They just can’t grasp the concept that this issue is not nearly as cut and dry as they want to believe…

  2. Pteryxx says

    Reference material – I haven’t seen this one before. From the Bixby center at UC San Francisco, a 2008 study on how miscarriages are handled when Catholics take over hospitals.

    When There’s A Heartbeat – Miscarriage Management in Catholic-Owned Hospitals

    Physicians such as Dr H found that in some cases, transporting the patient to another hospital for dilation and curettage (D&C) was quicker and safer than waiting for the fetal heartbeat to stop while trying to stave off infection and excessive blood loss.

    Because the fetus was still alive, they wouldn’t intervene. And she was hemorrhaging, and they called me and wanted to transport her, and I said, ‘‘It sounds like she’s unstable, and it sounds like you need to take care of her there.’’ And I was on a recorded line, I reported them as an EMTALA [Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act]violation. And the physician [said], ‘‘This isn’t something that we can take care of.’’ And I [said], ‘‘Well, if I don’t accept her, what are you going to do with her?’’ [He answered], ‘‘We’ll put her on a floor [i.e., admit her to a bed in the hospital instead of keeping her in the emergency room]; we’ll transfuse her as much as we can, and we’ll just wait till the fetus dies.’’

    Physicians working in Catholic- owned hospitals in all 4 US regions of our study disclosed experiences of being barred from completing emergency uterine evacuation while fetal heart tones were present, even when medically indicated. As a result, they had to delay care or transfer patients to non–Catholic-owned facilities. Some physicians violated the authority and protocol of the ethics committee to deliver what they considered safe medical care that reflected the standard of care learned in residency

  3. says

    Thanks for that. I read something about that, either when it came out or while researching the Phoenix bishop, but I think it was journalism on the study, not the study itself.

  4. Pteryxx says

    I had the Below the Radar report too, but the UCSF one is actually from a medical department, peer-reviewed, and cites many academic references (which I can’t access, mostly, but it’s a good start).

  5. Pteryxx says

    I just skimmed Below the Radar’s references, and it does not cite the UCSF 2008 paper. For the UCSF paper, Catholic mismanagement was an incidental finding in their investigation of abortion training in residency, which they subsequently followed up. I think they’re completely independent.

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