Phoenix bishop extends deadline for hospital in abortion dispute
December 17, 2010
Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix, Arizona, who has threatened to revoke the Catholic status of a local hospital, has extended the deadline for resolution of the dispute until December 21.
Bishop Olmsted has earlier threatened to declare that St. Joseph Hospital and Medical Center is not a Catholic institution, unless he received assurances by December 17 that the hospital’s parent company, Catholic Healthcare West, would adhere to Catholic teachings on moral issues, especially abortion.
The problem arose after the hospital allowed an abortion late in 2009. The institution’s ethics committee said that the procedure was necessary in order to save the mother’s life. Bishop Olmsted rejected that justification, and demanded assurance that it “will never occur again.” As late as December 16, the hospital defended its action.
On December 17, however, the Phoenix diocese disclosed that the bishop had extended the deadline, saying that Bishop Olmstead had received “further communication” from Catholic Healthcare West about the institution’s policies. In light of “ongoing communication and attempts to rectify the situation,” the deadline will be extended into next week, the diocese said.