Catholic Nun Punished For Ethical Decision To Abort A Fetus

The Arizona Republic is reporting that Sister Margaret McBride, a Catholic nun and an administrator at St.Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, was on call as a member of the hospital's ethics committee in 2009 when faced with a life-or-death situation involving a patient. She was a part of a group of people, including the patient and her doctors, who made the decision to terminate the patient's eleven-week-old fetus in order to save the woman's life.

As a result, the nun has been demoted. Also, Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, head of the Phoenix diocese, said she was "automatically excommunicated" because of her action. It is not clear whether the bishop was involved in the decision to demote the nun.

"I am gravely concerned by the fact that an abortion was performed several months ago in a Catholic hospital in this diocese," Olmsted said. "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 went on to say.

A hospital board chairwoman and the CEO of the hospital said in a joint letter to the bishop, "If there had been a way to save the pregnancy and still prevent the death of the mother, we would have done it. We are convinced there was not."

According to the medical directives that the hospital follows, abortion is defined as the directly intended termination of pregnancy, and it is not permitted under any circumstances - even to save the life of the mother.

A second directive says that "operations, treatments and medications that have as their direct purpose the cure of a proportionately serious pathological condition of a pregnant woman are permitted...even if they will result in the death of the unborn child."

Faced with a dying pregnant woman and these two directives, the nun chose life for the mother. The bishop, deeply moved by the death of the fetus, would have instead chosen to let the mother and the fetus die together. I am glad that Thomas Olmsted chose voodoo as his life's practice, rather than medicine.

Views: 52

Comment by Cynical Soldier on May 15, 2010 at 3:27pm
Lulz, Catholics.
Comment by Natasha Kenny on May 15, 2010 at 4:00pm
That's terrible.Maybe someone should have told him that the woman is a babymaker and can make more so it makes sense to kill one child and get loads more children then it does to kill two people.I think the nun wouldn't have been excommunicated.The nun was right in aborting the child.
Comment by Kris Potter on May 15, 2010 at 4:11pm
The nun should be praised, she at least for a moment thought logically. However the diocese reaction was a classic display that faith does not and will never allow logical thought.
Comment by Mario Rodgers on May 15, 2010 at 10:13pm
That nun should tell the Catholics to choke on their shit and just leave.
Comment by Gaytor on May 16, 2010 at 12:47pm
It's incredible to see how myopic religionists are on this topic. Exodus 21:22, Numbers 5:18-28, and Nephesh all clearly show that a fetus is not a life. The directives of the church up until the mid 19th century didn't even define a fetus as a life. And now we must die because the lie has been told over and over faithful believe the lie because it makes sense to them?

Great Blog Thaddeus!
Comment by M on May 16, 2010 at 4:49pm
Not that I'm defending religion, but Catholics have specific rules and the nun broke one. She's a member of their club and she did something they are against and she is being punished. Maybe at this point she will question her faith and her chosen religion and the importance of the decision she was part of. Hopefully, it's thought-provoking to her.
Comment by Thaddeus Dombrowski on May 17, 2010 at 3:40am
I don't know that she broke a rule of the club or not. The hospital had two, conflicting directives regarding this sort of situation. I think the bishop is being a prick by enforcing the orthodox stance of the church.

It's interesting that the nun was in a situation where she had to make a call. The bishop is just second guessing her call. I get the impression that he isn't thinking for himself in this situation. He is voicing the church's point of view. I wonder what his point of view would be if he had to face the dying woman and tell her what to do? Would he still tell her that she should die because she's unfortunate enough to be a woman with child? Would he tell her what the church teaches, or would he tell her what he thinks in that situation?

I think the bishop is a coward. He doesn't have the guts to think for himself and voice his own opinions. Of course, if he were capable of that, he probably never would have made bishop in the first place.


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