Monday, May 17, 2010

Catholic hospitals prefer death over abortion

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Cartoon: “Catholic hospital optometry services for pregnant women”
Cartoon: “Catholic hospital optometry services for pregnant women”
Gotta read the fine print
[click for full size]

Here’s another example shining some light on how the primarily religious label of “pro-life” is an anvil-sized oxymoron. Sister Margaret McBride, a nun and administrator at a Catholic hospital in Phoenix, Ariz., was part of an ethics committee late last year when they had to make a tough decision regarding the fate of one of their patients. The person in question was a young pregnant woman who was stricken with a serious case of pulmonary hypertension, a potentially deadly condition only exacerbated by her 11-week pregnancy. The only medically (and ethically) responsible decision to make was to abort the fetus and save the mother’s life. The ethics committee agreed, Sister McBride included; the procedure was carried out, and the patient lived. The doctors did their job and a patient walked out, minus a fetus, but alive.

However, in the world of Catholicism, no good deed goes unpunished, especially when such good deeds necessarily violate precious dogma. Bishop Thomas Olmsted, head of the local diocese, declared that Sister McBride was “automatically excommunicated” for her agreement with the ethics committee’s decision to terminate the life-threatening pregnancy. The good nun was also subsequently demoted (though it’s unclear if this is also Bishop Olmsted’s doing, though it’s certainly expected he had a hand in it).

"I am gravely concerned by the fact that an abortion was performed several months ago in a Catholic hospital in this diocese," Olmsted said in a statement sent to The Arizona Republic. "I am further concerned by the hospital's statement that the termination of a human life was necessary to treat the mother's underlying medical condition.

"An unborn child is not a disease. While medical professionals should certainly try to save a pregnant mother's life, the means by which they do it can never be by directly killing her unborn child. The end does not justify the means."

He was “concerned” when the hospital asserted that an abortion was necessary to save the mother’s life? Because, apparently, as a non-medically informed peddler of ancient superstitions and oppressive dogma, his opinion about life-saving medical procedures are supposed to matter at all?

As we’ve seen before – remember the case of the 9-year-old Brazilian girl who was excommunicated for having an abortion to get rid of unwanted twins after being raped by her stepfather? – the preservation of life, health and well-being are not things that rank high in Catholicism’s priorities, falling in distant second after upholding blind piousness and irrational beliefs in nonsense. If Catholic hospitals are to be reprimanded for doing what’s medically necessary to save lives, even (or especially) if this means giving patients emergency abortions, then it’s safe to say that an intervention is decidedly in order to prevent blind, meddling fools from costing innocent victims their lives at the expense of hardlined faith. If not, then people should just avoid religious hospitals, period. (Along with any other religious institutions in general.)

(via Pharyngula)