December 2010: Episcopal evil

Here’s the December 2010 post in which I became aware that it’s explicit Catholic church policy that women should be allowed to die rather than have a life-saving abortion.

December 26 2010

The ACLU letter to the administrators of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says something I hadn’t known, something quite staggering. The trouble is, I haven’t been able to find it anywhere else, so I can’t be sure it’s accurate. I would email the ACLU to ask, but they say they get too much mail to answer.

…just last week it was revealed that the Bishop of Phoenix threatened to remove his endorsement of St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center – where, as discussed in our previous letter, doctors provided a life-saving abortion to a young mother of four in November 2009 – unless the hospital signed a written pledge that it would never again provide emergency abortion care, even where necessary to save a woman’s life.

You see why that’s staggering. It says that the bishop demanded that the hospital sign a written pledge not to do an abortion even where necessary to save a woman’s life – the bishop explicitly demanded that the hospital let a woman die rather than do an abortion. I knew he’d been saying that in effect all along, but I didn’t know he’d been willing to spell it out himself.

[pause to say – fuck I hate these bastards. I hate them I hate them I hate them.]

At any rate, even without confirmation of that part, he said way more than enough. The Phoenix diocese kindly makes his saying available to us. It’s disgusting.

…earlier this year, it was brought to my attention that an abortion had taken place at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix. When I met with officials of the hospital to learn more of the details of what had occurred, it became clear that, in the decision to abort, the equal dignity of mother and her baby were not both upheld; but that the baby was directly killed, which is a clear violation of ERD #45.

There was no baby. There was a future baby inside the body of the woman who was on the point of death. It wasn’t possible to uphold “the equal dignity of mother and her baby” because the mother had fatally high blood pressure.

In this case, the baby was healthy and there were no problems with the pregnancy; rather, the mother had a disease that needed to be treated. But instead of treating the disease, St. Joseph’s medical staff and ethics committee decided that the healthy, 11-week-old baby should be directly killed. This is contrary to the teaching of the Church (Cf. Evangelium Vitae, #62).

That’s just outright dishonest. A healthy 11-week-old baby is just that, it’s not a fetus of 11 weeks. Does the bishop consider a newborn infant a 9-month-old baby?

Not to mention of course that treating the disease without killing the fetus wasn’t an option, so it’s dishonest of this reactionary woman-hating theocrat to imply that it was.

The president of St Joseph’s hospital, Linda Hunt, pointed out that it wasn’t an option.

“If we are presented with a situation in which a pregnancy threatens a woman’s life, our first priority is to save both patients. If that is not possible, we will always save the life we can save, and that is what we did in this case,” Hunt said. “Morally, ethically, and legally, we simply cannot stand by and let someone die whose life we might be able to save.”

But that is exactly what the bishop is demanding that they do, and exactly what he is making a condition of the hospital’s “Catholic” status. You don’t get to call yourself “Catholic” unless you’re willing to let a woman die along with her fetus rather than kill the fetus to save the woman. (Notice that the bishop neglects to mention that the fetus dies either way. He’s not even demanding that they let the woman die to save the fetus, he’s demanding that they let her die to make a point.)

Dr. Charles Alfano, chief medical officer at the hospital and an obstetrician there, said Olmsted was asking the impossible from the hospital.

“Specifically the fact that he requested we admit the procedure performed was an abortion and that it was a violation of the ethical and religious directives and that we would not perform such a procedure in the future,” he said. “We could not agree to that. We acted appropriately.”

That’s close to a confirmation of the ACLU item. I don’t doubt the ACLU item, I just would like to see it in writing somewhere else.

Catholic News Service gives a slightly evasive account.



  1. says

    But…but…Pope Palpadict sez “Defend Life!!!” The bumper sticker says so. I guess the bumper sticker was too small to fit all the qualifying footnotes to their unequivocal defense of life.

  2. says

    That’s one of the most grotesque ironies of all. Those murderous shits have managed to wrap themselves in the flag of being pro-life-no-matter-what. It’s such a flaming lie.

  3. kevinalexander says

    Plainly god wanted that baby AND his mother in heaven right now! He wanted her other children to have a life lesson in His mysterious sadistic love. Now they will only have the worthless mundane sort of maternal love. All because the doctors shirked their duty to the bishop by saving someone’s life.

    God gives us bishops so that we can know these things.

  4. iknklast says

    It can be worse even than that. They can risk life even when no baby is directly involved. My mother went to a government hospital (navy) for her 5th child, and wanted her tubes tied, but the Catholic doctor refused (my mother = Not Catholic). When she got pregnant with her 6th, she almost died from complications, and the same doctor scolded her for getting pregnant again! She could have left 5 small children motherless because some arrogant jerk who was the only OB/GYN she had access to thought his religion was more important than her autonomy, her dignity, and even her life. This one turned out all right; how many others don’t that we don’t hear about?

  5. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    I’m reminded of the case a couple of years ago in Brazil. A 9 year old girl was raped and impregnated with twins by her stepfather. Since she couldn’t survive the pregnancy, let alone birth, she was given an abortion. The Archbishop of São Paulo excommunicated everyone involved in the abortion with two exceptions: The girl wasn’t excommunicated because she was too young to make an informed decision and the stepfather because the Catholic Church approves of child rape.

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