The fetus was dying; the choice was letting both the mother and fetus die or saving the mother. As a pro-lifer, the Bishop thought both should die rather than the fetus be aborted.
79% of the Catholics surveyed disagreed with the Bishop!
Bishop Olmsted ]of Phoenix] said the hospital had engaged in a direct abortion when the procedure was performed in November 2009. .. the bishop declared in May 2010 that Sister McBride [who, as a member of the hospital’s ethics committee, had approved the procedure] had been automatically excommunicated for her consent to an abortion and then in December….
St. Joseph’s maintained that because the mother suffered from pulmonary hypertension, a condition made worse by the pregnancy, the chance of survival for both the woman and the fetus was approaching zero. According to the hospital, the fetus was dying as a result of the mother’s illness, and the mother would have died had the action not been taken. “Consistent with our values of dignity and justice, if we are presented with a situation in which a pregnancy threatens a woman’s life, our first priority is to save both patients. If that is not possible we will always save the life we can save, and that is what we did in this case,” hospital president Linda Hunt said in a statement.
Though the story doesn’t say this time, I believe the mother has other young children. The question of harm is not confined to her and the fetus.