Including, not except

The Catholic church’s rules on abortion, mandated by US bishops via the ERD (Ethical and Religious Directives) are so twisted and vile that even people who are reporting on them can get them wrong.

This from an article on the church takeover of healthcare institutions in Washington state:

Sheila Reynertson, advocacy coordinator at MergerWatch, which tracks hospital mergers, called the rapid expansion of Catholic-sponsored or -affiliated health care systems in our state an anomaly. A MergerWatch/ACLU study found that in 2011, one in nine acute-care hospital beds across the country had a Catholic affiliation. At the same time in Washington state, 28 percent of acute-care hospital beds were Catholic. That study is based on the most recent information released by Medicare. But the Washington chapter of the ACLU has been closely tracking activity in Washington since then and reports that once all announced agreements are finalized, around 50 percent of all hospital beds in the state could be affiliated with a Catholic organization. 

At the heart of the matter for patients like Tamesha Means is a document called the “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services,” which guides Catholic providers. Written by the United States Council of Catholic Bishops in 2009, the directives forbid doctors at Catholic hospitals from prescribing contraceptives for the sole purpose of family planning; performing tubal ligations and vasectomies; terminating pregnancies in any scenario except if the mother’s life is in danger; and assisting terminally ill patients seeking to terminate their lives under Washington’s Death with Dignity law. 

See it? In the part about abortion? “terminating pregnancies in any scenario except if the mother’s life is in danger” – no – INCLUDING when the mother’s life is in danger. That’s what the Tamesha Means lawsuit is about. The author, Nancy Gohring, reported that accurately at the beginning of the story, but perhaps didn’t grasp all the implications.

Tamesha Means was 18 weeks pregnant in 2010 when her water broke. The Michigan woman visited a nearby Catholic hospital twice, and was sent home, each time in severe pain, according to a lawsuit filed by the ACLU in December of last year. Doctors at the hospital, directed by Catholic guidelines that forbid abortion, did not tell her that her fetus had virtually no chance of survival or that the safest treatment was to terminate the pregnancy, which was the case, according to the suit. On her third trip to the hospital, after she’d begun to show signs of an infection, the hospital was preparing to send her home again when she miscarried. 

The safest treatment was to terminate the pregnancy, and the hospital totally failed to offer to do that, and in fact it concealed the fact from the patient. It refused to do an abortion EVEN THOUGH that put Tamesha Means’s life in danger.

We need to be vigilant about this shit.



  1. Xaivius (Formerly Robpowell, Acolyte of His Majesty Lord Niel DeGrasse Tyson I) says

    Churches should be forbidden to hold any property outside houses of worship.

  2. chigau (違う) says

    They also need adequate parking.
    Sunday in my neighbourhood is a nightmare.

  3. opposablethumbs says

    Everyone in the USA (and everywhere else in the world) needs to know just how the catholic church made sure that Savita Halappanavar died.

  4. Trebuchet says

    I live in pretty much the epicenter of this, Snohomish County, where it’s largely Providence or nothing. I was very concerned when my mother-in-law was in the new Providence Everett Medical Center (a beautiful facility, by the way) at the end of her life. I feared, based on the “No assisted suicide, don’t even ask” signs prominently posted that they would insist on “heroic” measures to prolong her life. Fortunately, that didn’t happen, but it may be only a matter of time.

  5. leni says

    Sunday in my neighborhood is a nightmare.

    I live within 1 block of 2 churches with a few more in the surrounding blocks. Luckily not a lot of church goers where I live, so the Sunday parking downtown is quite nice here.

    Saturday farmer’s market is a completely different and more annoying story.

  6. Blanche Quizno says

    Theists like to sneer at atheists, “Yeah? How many hospitals have ATHEISTS built? Huh? HUH??”

    Well, give that there are way more theists in the population than atheists, we would expect to see proportionately more theist-founded hospitals.

    But even given that, the fact is that theist-founded hospitals CHARGE JUST AS MUCH as public hospitals, and receive MOST OF THEIR OPERATING COSTS from the government, just like public hospitals.

    So what it comes down to is that the theist-founded hospitals simply deliver WORSE service and MORE discrimination to the public, while raking in the same amount of government subsidy regardless.

    This needs to stop.

  7. says

    Everyone in the USA (and everywhere else in the world) needs to know just how the catholic church made sure that Savita Halappanavar died.

    I was immediately reminded of her case when I read this. Because holy fucking shit, that Tamesha Means survived was luck, not the result of adequate care.

  8. hoary puccoon says

    The “right to life” movement is becoming meaner and meaner. Well, it was over forty years ago when “right to life” doctors nearly killed me by refusing to abort the dead and decaying fetus I was carrying. But I think they’re even meaner, now.

    Now, it’s nothing about life. Whatever medical complications you’re facing, it’s all about “you should have thought about that before you got pregnant [implied, “you slut.”]”

    Or maybe they just didn’t say that to me because my husband was coming to the appointments with me and they didn’t want to question his conjugal rights.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *