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US bishops' committee backs Bishop Olmsted on hospital abortion stand

Catholic World News - June 25, 2010

Coming to the support of Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix, who condemned the decision to allow an abortion at a local Catholic hospital, the doctrine committee of the US Catholic Conference has confirmed that direct abortion can never be morally justified.

Bishop Olmsted announced in May that Sister Margaret Mary McBride, had incurred the penalty of excommunication because, as a member of the hospital’s ethics committee, she had approved the abortion performed at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center. Hospital officials said that the pregnant woman, who was gravely ill, could not have survived if her pregnancy had continued. A number of doctors and Catholic ethicists protested Bishop Olmsted’s statement, saying that the abortion was justified because it was necessary to save the woman’s life.

The US bishops’ doctrine committee, in a statement released June 24, drew a distinction between an indirect abortion—in which the death of the unborn child is an unintended consequence of surgery done for legitimate medical reasons—and a direct abortion, in which the object of the procedure is to end the child’s life. “Direct abortion is never morally permissible,” the committee noted. “One may never directly kill an innocent human being, no matter what the reason.”

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  • Posted by: lauriem5377 - Jun. 28, 2010 12:42 PM ET USA

    I am very glad to see Bishops and so many other Catholic organizations and individuals come to Bishop Olmsted's support. God bless him for standing courageously for life and for all the other good people following his leadership! Pray, pray, pray for life and for many more courageous souls!

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