A pregnant woman in a Phoenix hospital was in a dire state: she was suffering from severe pulmonary hypertension, a condition made much worse by the pregnancy, and was at risk of heart failure. The hospital did what had to be done, with the approval of the family: the 11-week-old fetus was aborted, and the life of the mother saved. This was routine, and I think there was no moral ambiguity at all in this situation: either the mother’s life was saved and the fetus was destroyed, or both mother and fetus would die.
Except that this was in a Catholic hospital. One of the people on the ethics committee that reviewed the case before the abortion was a nun, who agreed that this was the right thing to do. Predictably, Thomas Olmsted, bishop, has deplored the procedure and declared that the nun is automatically excommunicated.
“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.”
So, inhuman monster and non-doctor Olmsted thinks they should have just stood by and watched the woman go into cardiac arrest and die? This is insane and unethical.
If this is to be standard operating procedure for Catholic hospitals, I think it’s time for the government to step in and remove doctrinaire Catholics from all roles in hospital administration — they are an ongoing danger to the health of innocent patients. Do not go to Catholic hospitals: you never know when the local witch doctor will pop up by your bedside, go “ooga booga” (in Latin, of course!), and tell you that your treatment makes god angry so the staff has decided to let you suffer and die. It’ll be good for you…in imaginary Heaven.
Oh, but let the nun who realized that reality has priority over dogma stay on the job.