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Arizona Catholic hospital defends killing of unborn child

Catholic World News - December 16, 2010

Despite the threat of the imminent revocation of its status as a Catholic institution, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix issued a brief statement on December 15 defending an abortion that took place there. The abortion took place in late 2009 after a hospital ethics committee deemed the killing of the unborn child necessary to save the life of the mother.

“We believe that all life is sacred,” the hospital said in its statement. “In this case we saved the only life we could save, which was the mother’s.”

In a November 22 letter, Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix told the president of the hospital’s parent company, Catholic Healthcare West (CHW), that on December 17 he will declare that the hospital is no longer a Catholic institution unless CHW recognizes that the abortion violated the US bishops’ ethical directives and pledges it “will never occur again.”

“The bishop and his staff are working together with Catholic Healthcare West and St. Joseph’s Hospital to find the best way to provide authentic Catholic health care in accordance with the Church’s teaching,” Bishop Olmsted’s spokesman said in a December 15 statement.

Reacting to news of the bishop’s letter, the ACLU again urged the federal government to compel religious hospitals to provide “emergency abortions,” and Lisa Fullam, professor of moral theology at the Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University, urged the hospital to defy the bishop.

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Show 5 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Bernadette - Dec. 17, 2010 1:04 PM ET USA

    Sad as it is, Bishop Olmsted must follow through and declare "St. Joseph" Hospital no longer Catholic. There is NEVER a time when a deliberate abortion is sought to secure the life of the mother. The only time is when the "Principle of Double Effect" comes into effect; i.e., in seeking the health and life of the mother, as in an ectopic pregnancy, the inadvertent killing of the child occurs. It must never be a direct assault on the child. Maybe now, more bishops will step up to the plate.

  • Posted by: Obregon - Dec. 16, 2010 10:35 PM ET USA

    "Lisa Fullam, professor of moral theology at the Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University, urged the hospital to defy the bishop." Unbelievable! What's next, a "Catholic" theologian urging Catholics to defy the Pope? The ACLU has the audacity to urge the government to compel religious hospitals to allow for murder precisely because of people like Lisa Fullam. Well the bishop got his answer and he now knows what to do.

  • Posted by: Defender - Dec. 16, 2010 8:53 PM ET USA

    And a moral theology professor at a Jesuit school...gee, what a surprise!

  • Posted by: Mike in Toronto - Dec. 16, 2010 7:28 PM ET USA

    It seems that Catholics R Us is alive and well. Hm ... alive, anyway.

  • Posted by: Hal - Dec. 16, 2010 12:19 PM ET USA

    Well, sounds like the Bishop got his answer to me, and the hospital has the full support of every dissident faction imaginable. God save the "Catholic" healthcare system. It is neither these days!

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