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USCCB responds to ACLU lawsuit

December 10, 2013

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has issued a response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) alleging that ethical directives issued by the bishops are responsible for negligence in the care of a woman treated in a Michigan Catholic hospital.

Tamesha Means, who reportedly suffered damaging infections during a troubled pregnancy that ended in miscarriage, should have been advised to abort the child, the ACLU argues.

“It is important to note at the outset that the death of any unborn child is tragic, and we feel deeply for any mother who suffers such pain and loss,” said Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, president of the USCCB.

Dismissing the ACLU’s claim as “baseless,” he added:

The Church holds that all human life, both before and after birth, has inherent dignity, and that health care providers have the corresponding duty to respect the dignity of all their patients. This lawsuit argues that it is legally “negligent” for the Catholic bishops to proclaim this core teaching of our faith. Thus, the suit urges the government to punish that proclamation with civil liability, a clear violation of the First Amendment.

A robust Catholic presence in health care helps build a society where medical providers show a fierce devotion to the life and health of each patient, including those most marginalized and in need. It witnesses against a utilitarian calculus about the relative value of different human lives. And it provides a haven for pregnant women and their unborn children regardless of their financial resources. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will continue to defend these principles in season and out, and we will defend ourselves against this misguided lawsuit.


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  • Posted by: normnuke - Dec. 10, 2013 12:35 PM ET USA

    And so it begins.