Clash Between Bishop, Catholic Hospital That Authorized Abortion To Save Woman's Life Example Of Situation At Many U.S. HospitalsMain Category: Abortion
Also Included In: Public Health; Women's Health / Gynecology; Pregnancy / Obstetrics
Article Date: 28 Jan 2011 - 4:00 PDT
Clash Between Bishop, Catholic Hospital That Authorized Abortion To Save Woman's Life Example Of Situation At Many U.S. Hospitals
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Bishop Thomas Olmsted's decision to revoke St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center's Catholic status in December "is a bellwether of a profound disagreement that is playing out at many Catholic hospitals around the country," New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof writes. The loss of the hospital's Catholic status is related to its authorization of an abortion to save a woman's life. Hospital administrator Sister Margaret McBride, a member of the hospital's ethics committee, was excommunicated for approving of the authorization.
Kristof cites a report issued by the National Women's Law Center that quotes physicians at Catholic-affiliated hospitals as saying that church doctrine sometimes compels them to "provide substandard care to women with miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies in ways that can leave the women infertile or even endanger their lives." Kristof writes, "[T]his battle illuminates two rival religious approaches, within the Catholic church and any spiritual tradition. One approach focuses upon dogma, sanctity, rules and the punishment of sinners. The other exalts compassion for the needy and mercy for sinners -- and, perhaps, above all, inclusiveness." He adds, "If you look at Bishop Olmsted and Sister Margaret as the protagonists in this battle, one of them truly seems to me to have emulated the life of Jesus," arguing, "it's not the bishop, who has spent much of his adult life as a Vatican bureaucrat climbing the career ladder" but rather Sister Margaret and many other nuns and employees of Catholic hospitals who have "toiled for decades on behalf of the neediest and sickest among us" (Kristof, New York Times, 1/26).
Reprinted with kind permission from http://www.nationalpartnership.org. You can view the entire Daily Women's Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery here. The Daily Women's Health Policy Report is a free service of the National Partnership for Women & Families.
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