Catholic hospitals have ethics commissions?

But aren’t ethics in conflict with Catholic policy?

The latest case of Catholic callousness comes out of Germany, where a young woman was brought into an emergency center with signs of sexual assault; she had no memory of what had occurred and may have been doped with a date rape drug. She was treated by a Dr Maiworm, who then called the local Catholic hospital to arrange a gynecological examination, which ought to be routine. But that’s where it gets strange.

According to the paper, the doctor told Maiworm that the hospital’s ethics commission, after consulting with Cardinal Joachim Meisner, had decided not to conduct exams after sexual attacks, so as not to be in the position of having to advise on possible unwanted pregnancies resulting from the attacks.

Maiworm told the paper that the doctor did not change her mind, despite having been told that she had already written the woman a prescription for the morning-after pill. A colleague of Maiworm’s was given a similar explanation at another Catholic hospital in Cologne, according to the paper. Both hospitals are run by the Foundation of the Cellites of St. Mary.

The church is now claiming that it was all a “misunderstanding”, and that they don’t have a policy denying treatment to rape victims. But that still doesn’t explain why this woman was turned away and not given a routine examination.

I think the simplest solution for the future is to simply deny Catholic dogmatists any influence on medical decisions at all. Haven’t recent events been sufficient to conclude that they’re morally compromised?


  1. Randomfactor says

    Perhaps we could afford their representative the “Jeremy Bentham” role at board meetings. After embalming, of course.

  2. F [nucular nyandrothol] says

    Their kind of ethics* commission, not yours.

    *Read: Imposed Catholic morals. Not really ethics at all.

  3. erichoug says

    Wait, did I read that right? The doctor refused to examine her for evidence of sexual assault but wrote here a prescription for the morning after pill. Does that make sense to anyone?

  4. NitricAcid says

    Eric- the emergency centre Dr. who wrote her the prescription for the pill was the one who took the victim to the hospital, and the Catholic “doctor” there refused to do the exam.

  5. shouldbeworking says

    The religious moron may be his brother’s keeper but sisters and daughters are verboten!

  6. noastronomer says


    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.


  7. says

    I read it today.
    I hate how Catholics are taking over our hospitals.
    Isn’t it assuring to know that the nearest hospital with a gynaecology ward (and the only one in the county) is run by those bastards?
    I’m lucky to know where to go and to whom to turn and well-off enough to go there, but many women aren’t.
    Also, Dr. Maiworm seems to be awesome.

  8. anuran says

    Protect the rapist.
    Punish the victim.
    Obey the priest.
    Cover it up.
    Lie about the whole thing.

    Yep. Sounds like Holy Mother Church to me.

  9. says

    Cardinal Meisner, who the hospital apparently had consulted for their policy on not treating rape victims, is on record to draw parallels between abortion and the crimes of Hitler and Stalin. Research on stem cells and embryos is “cannibalism” for this man. He fired at least one school teacher for being openly gay. Oh, and he compared Richard Dawkins with a Nazi .

    In this light, how credible is their excuse that this was a “misunderstanding”?

  10. jnorris says

    That poor woman is double damned by the Catholic Church. First she didn’t fight hard enough to prevent rape after wearing immodest clothes. At least that’s how I’ve heard clergy tell it.

    Second, and worst, Dr Maiworm gave her the morning after pill to prevent God from giving her a blessing. At least that’s how Republican Tea Party Congressmen tell it.

    Fortuitously the local Catholic hospital was sold to the quasi-government hospital system. And the one owned by a Protestant sect was sold to a commercial hospital chain. There is still some woo woo in the hospitals but ain’t got no Magic Monster running them.

  11. fastlane says

    “morally compromised”
    That’s about the nicest thing you could call those inhuman bastards.

  12. says

    I read it like this:

    As doctors, we are ethically obligated to council a female rape victim on unplanned pregnancy and offer the morning-after pill.
    Our evil overlords prohibit us from doing the right thing.
    Therefore, we are unable in good conscience to treat rape victims and must advise them to visit a hospital not ruled by evil overlords.

  13. hfj001 says

    What makes all this even more of a scandal is the fact that although the hospitals are run by this Catholic Foundation (they hold a total of 10 hospitals in their claws), they are nevertheless mainly funded with public money. Sounds unbelievable? Well, there’s something else: most of Germany’s confessional institutions in the healthcare or social sector such as kindergartens, schools and hospitals are run this way; only 1-5% of church money goes into the funding of the institutions, all the rest is public money.

    And why is that, you might ask? One reason I know of for certain is that municipalities can apply for aid money from the federal states; and the aid money provided for such institutions is higher if they are run by confessional bodies instead of public ones. Oh, what a secular country our good ol’ Germany is. (Someone please pass me a vomitarium!)

    And let there be no misunderstanding in this case, even though some newspapers might report differently: the newspaper article that initially sparked the outrage states that the emergency doctor tried to get the woman accepted into the first hospital twice. After the first unsuccessful attempt made by one of her co-workers, she called them herself because she couldn’t believe her ears, but to no avail. They were denied help a total of three times within a time of at most a few minutes, which makes the hospital’s excuse of a “misunderstanding” and even “inexperience” on the side of the doctors in charge even more implausible.
    It even seems from the press reports that local Police are already aware of the problem and that they don’t even bother to bring (potential) rape victims to those hospitals; their default workaround is to choose different institutions that are know not to be “morally compromised”, as you put it. In a major city such as Cologne, this might turn out all right, but what about more rural areas, e.g. in staunchly catholic Bavaria?

    [Apologies for any bad English appearing in this post; I hope I got everything across clear enough. ;-)]

  14. Rich Woods says

    @hfj001 #14:

    They were denied help a total of three times within a time of at most a few minutes

    I wonder if the Catholics can recall any other instance of someone being denied three times?

    [Apologies for any bad English appearing in this post; I hope I got everything across clear enough. ;-)]

    Perfect clarity.

  15. cag says

    morally compromised

    So I take it that now people do not go into bankruptcy, they become fiscally compromised.

  16. Rich Woods says

    @cag #16:

    So I take it that now people do not go into bankruptcy, they become fiscally compromised.

    More like temporarily embarrassed. Assuming they still have a conscience, that is.

  17. tungl says

    It is so incredibly frustrating. If (publically funded!) Catholic hospitals are not able to administer adequate gynecological and emergency healthcare to all of their patients, then they should not be allowed to run hospitals and clinics that offer services of this types. They should restrict themselves (or be restricted) to those types of healthcare services where their believes don’t interfere with their patients needs – ophthalmology, maybe?

    This general refusal to prescribe the morning after pill (which seems to be the general policy that lead to the unacceptable behaviour in the case of this woman) is so stupid it drives me nuts! If rape victims don’t get this pill as quickly as possible, the changes of unexpected pregnancies rise – leading to most of these woman getting abortions. Which the Catholic Church can then condemn them for. How neat.

    @hfj001: That.
    Freedom of Religion doesn’t mean much if you want to work in any field concerned with social services. If you don’t belong to any of the two big Christian denominations, you automatically don’t qualify for a lot of potential jobs. (As far as I know, protestant institutions in Germany are more liberal about this, but that is not the point. It shouldn’t even be theoretically possible to discriminate against people based on their religious (non-)affiliation). There are so many reports of employees getting fired because they filed for divorce, or even cleaners being hired and fired based on their faith.

  18. says

    Christine Rose
    You’re just as dishonest as them.
    1.) She didn’t need that kind of service. Dr. Maiworm had already given her that. What she needed was them doing the exams to get the forensic evidence. They were actively trying to prevent forensic evidence to be gotten in time, thereby making it more likely that such evidence could not be found.
    2.) They didn’t say “look, we can’t offer you this service (which you actually don’t need, see 1), wait a second we’ll get you to a hospital that does.” They just send her away. Screw the rape victim.

    Well, guess it’s only a matter of time until we will see women die in German hospitals from pregnancy complications like in Ireland.

  19. tungl says

    Also, the spokesmen of the order the hospital belongs to and of the biggest Catholic social service organisation (Caritas) have both stated that the morning after pill causes an abortion and that this is the reason why the hospitals can’t prescribe them.* So either they’re willfully trying to obfuscate the truth and make the discussion one about abortion. Or they don’t understand the basics of gynecological care and should therefore not be allowed to run clinics.

    Oh, and often enough the journalists reporting on this issue don’t point out the truth about the morning after pill works, which made me scream at my radio this morning.

    *Not that I think they should have the right to decline abortion pills, either.

    Links (German):

  20. Crudely Wrott says

    Shades of “Saint” Theresa. Just keep them comfortable and out of sight.

    Except that’s getting harder and harder to do. Which is good. Shows the hypocrites in a brighter light.

  21. bradleybetts says

    “Catholic Ethics” = Oxymoron.

    I can’t be arsed to go through why this makes me angry, it’s the same old story and other commenters have done it for me. Suffice to say; fuck Catholicism. And fuck the Pope, with his own fucking crosier.

  22. says

    So, I sent the following mail to my Frauenbeauftragte and urge all German readers to send a similar one:

    Sehr geehrte Frau XXX
    Wie Sie vielleicht aus den Medien erfahren haben wurde diese Woche in Köln ein Vergewaltigungsopfer von zwei katholischen Kliniken abgewiesen. Des weiteren starb Ende letzten Jahres in Irland eine Frau da ihr mit Hinblick auf den katholischen Glauben eine lebensrettende Abtreibung verweigert wurde.

    Nun befindet sich die einzige Klinik im Kreis in Besitz eines katholischen Trägers.

    Wie stellt der Kreis sicher dass seine Bürgerinnen Zugang zu Hilfe und Gesundheitsversorgung haben?

    Wie stellt der Kreis sicher, dass Vergewaltigungsopfer nicht beschämt und vor die Tür gesetzt werden?

    Wie stellt der Kreis sicher, dass Frauen deren Schwangerschaften ihre Gesundheit und ihr Leben bedrohen Zugang zu medizinischer Versorgung haben und nicht auf dem Gang verbluten weil niemand eine Eileiterschwangerschaft entfernt?

    Wie stellt der Kreis sicher, dass Frauen und Mädchen Zugang zur Pille danach haben (welche keinesfalls “eine Abtreibung” ist, wie uns die katholische Kirche weißmachen will)?

    Diese Fragen muss ich mir als Frau und Mutter zweier Töchter stellen.

    Ich stelle sie Ihnen, da Sie meine Frauenbeauftragte sind.

    Ich stelle sie im Namen aller Frauen und Mädchen im Kreis die eine Antwort auf diese Fragen verdienen damit sie sich weiter hier sicher fühlen können.

    Mit freundlichen Grüßen


  23. madscientist says

    When they’re caught it’s suddenly “a misunderstanding”. Hmm … where have I seen that behavior before? Oh, yeah, every petty criminal and psychopath behaves like that.

  24. says

    The closest hospital that could do a rape kit, in addition to being over 90 minutes from my house (even though there are several closer hospitals), was a Catholic hospital. While I did get a few pills that were designed to prevent STDs, they would not give me the morning-after pill, or medication to prevent HIV. (I found out the HIV drugs are generally not given unless they already know the rapist had HIV because the drugs are expensive. How you’re supposed to already know the HIV/AIDs status of your rapist is beyond me, especially when it takes months (if you’re lucky) for a rape kit to be processed. By that time, the drugs won’t do anything.) On the way home, I begged the cop who drove me to the hospital to stop at a store and let me get Plan B from a pharmacy. (I don’t have a car.) He told me he wasn’t comfortable with that, and I should talk to my parents about it. (I was 24.)

    So that was fun.

    Catholic hospitals should get zero financial support from the government, and should *definitely* not be responsible for treating rape victimms, when they refuse to fully treat half the population. Would a hospital run by a Christian Identity church get federal support if they said they had religious objections to treating people of color? Could Jehovah’s Witnesses run federally funded hospitals if they refused to give blood transfusions?