Of course the RC Church thinks only a bishop can make some judgments, but perhaps we should judge this bishop.
Sister Margaret was a senior administrator of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix. A 27-year-old mother of four arrived late last year, in her third month of pregnancy. According to local news reports and accounts from the hospital and some of its staff members, the mother suffered from a serious complication called pulmonary hypertension. That created a high probability that the strain of continuing pregnancy would kill her.
“In this tragic case, the treatment necessary to save the mother’s life required the termination of an 11-week pregnancy,” the hospital said in a statement. “This decision was made after consultation with the patient, her family, her physicians, and in consultation with the Ethics Committee.”
Sister Margaret was a member of that committee…the bishop of Phoenix, Thomas Olmstead, ruled that Sister Margaret was “automatically excommunicated” because she assented to an abortion.
“The mother’s life cannot be preferred over the child’s,” the bishop’s communication office elaborated in a statement.
The bishop doesn’t seem to have characterized the decision correctly. There are two options: (a) do nothing and it is highly likely the mother and fetus both die, and four children are left motherless or (b) perform an abortion and the 11 week old fetus dies.
Nicholas Kristoff, the NY Times columnist writing about the report, calls for a public outcry to retify this injustice. What do you think?