Shockingly ignorant of the state of abortion in America

I mentioned that people don’t believe me when I tell them that Catholic hospitals in the US can and do refuse to perform abortions even to save a woman’s life. Here’s one. It’s the top comment on the video of my talk at the Empowering Women Through Secularism conference in Dublin last June.


5 months ago

For a supposed Women’s Rights activist, Ms. Benson is shockingly ignorant of the state of abortion in America. In Ireland women are allowed to die, such as the case of  Savita Halappanavar. OTOH, even the Catholic Nun was on board for the woman in Arizona. Sure, the fucking idiot in a dress (Bishop) kicked up a fuss. But she got her abortion. Despite what Benson says, Catholic Hospitals can’t deny medically necessary abortions in the US.  They don’t like it.  But they must provide.

Wrong. I’m not the ignorant one here. Catholic hospitals can and do deny medically necessary abortions in the US.

I don’t blame Draconisrex for not knowing that, because as I keep saying, it’s horrendously under-reported and unnoticed. I do however blame Draconisrex for so rudely calling me ignorant without pausing to look it up, since I made it very clear – this was my opening point – that most Americans are unaware of this. Most people are unaware of it.

Here’s the video, in case you’re curious.




  1. iknklast says

    I had the same discussion with a Catholic friend of mine. She left the conversation convinced that I am an idiot. I may be, but I’m still right about this. It’s a real problem in our area, a smallish rural community where there is one hospital for each of the small cities – two of them are Catholic; the one in our town is not, but no one interested in good medical care would want to go there. And our surgical clinic refuses to honor advance directives, even though it is not associated with any church. Some of the doctors who started it are over the top religious, so they dictated those terms.

  2. thascius says

    Maybe I’m wrong, but didn’t the Catholic nun in the case draconisrex references get fired for allowing the abortion to go forward? Apparently she was supposed to let the mother die, rather than allow an abortion to take place.

  3. kestra says

    On the Diane Rehm show just yesterday there was an epic discussion about the ACLU lawsuit against Catholic hospitals for denying care, based on the case of a woman in Michigan who was turned away *twice* while miscarrying for nearly *a week* until they finally gave her the treatment she needed. The Arizona case of a mother of four with pulmonary hypertension came up as an illustration that while the Church might have a directive that life-saving procedures were acceptable, the personnel involved were often punished after the fact.

    The Church spokesdope actually said outloud on air, when someone pointed out that Sr. McBride was excommunicated for providing a medically necessary abortion that “the medical facts in the case aren’t fully know.” I had to turn it off there. Here’s a disgusting essay from the time by a Catholic apologist, saying that the mother *might* have lived with some sort of cutting-edge care without abortion, so they should not have aborted, totally abrogating both the mother’s choice and the medical reality of the situation. The comments there are spectacularly callous towards women’s lives, and lots of assholes cite St. Gianna Molla, who died because she wouldn’t abort her pregnancy and was canonized by the Church as a result.

    I had to stop listening at that point. Clearly, while the Church may have directives *on paper* saying the life of the mother should be saved, *in practice* the directives regarding abortions, not performing them, are taught, emphasized, and understood to a far greater extent in Catholic hospitals. The Diane Rehm discussion:

  4. says

    I mentioned this thread on an atheist chat channel last night and the resident catholic told me outright that he didn’t believe me. Gave him links to the relevant news stories as well as to the blog postings here at B&W and his response was “well, that is just one case” (referring to the recent ACLU court filing). He just absolutely refused to believe that this is systemic and intentional.

    So how many more women are going to have to suffer and possibly die before people like that wake up? Depressing.

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