‘Good Catholics: The Battle over Abortion in the Catholic Church’ – National Memo

July 17, 2014

Faith, Health, Women



Weekend Reader: ‘Good Catholics: The Battle over Abortion in the Catholic Church’

The Weekend Reader brings you Good Catholics: The Battle Over Abortion in the Catholic Church by the former editor of Conscience magazine, Patricia Miller. Good Catholics explores the conflicts that arise when religion and women’s issues collide. Abortion and birth control are deemed sinful by the Catholic Church, whose reach goes beyond those who adhere to its doctrine. The Church now finds itself at a crossroads, where their hardline views are being met with fervent criticism from both outside and within. In the excerpt below, Miller examines what happens when an adult life is put at risk by the religious views of an organization, and the repercussions of challenging the Church.



In November 2009, as the battle over health reform raged in Washington, a twenty-seven-year-old woman nearing the end of her first trimester of pregnancy was admitted to St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona, suffering from pulmonary hypertension. Doctors told the mother of four that she had a nearly 100 percent chance of suffering heart failure and dying if she carried the pregnancy to term. They recommended an immediate therapeutic abortion to save her life. The recommendation went to the Catholic hospital’s ethics committee, which included Sister Margaret McBride, a Sister of Mercy who was an administrator at the hospital. The ethics committee approved the abortion under the rationale that its primary purpose was to save the woman’s life, not terminate the pregnancy. The abortion was performed and the woman survived. Six months later the decision came to the attention of Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmstead. He condemned the hospital for approving the abortion and announced that Sister McBride was automatically excommunicated because of her participation in the decision to allow the abortion. “In the decision to abort, the equal dignity of mother and her baby were not both upheld,” Olmstead said


For the rest of the excerpt:


THURSDAY, JULY 17, 2014.  3:20 a.m. [GMT]


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