Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Excommunicated for saving a life

A Catholic nun in Arizona was reassigned and 'automatically excommunicated' for her role in deciding to provide a life-saving abortion. She was a nurse and a senior administrator at the hospital.
A statement released by the hospital said, "In this tragic case, the treatment necessary to save the mother's life required the termination of an 11-week pregnancy. This decision was made after consultation with the patient, her family, her physicians, and in consultation with the Ethics Committee, of which Sr. Margaret McBride is a member." According to The Arizona Republic, the patient suffered from pulmonary hypertension, which limits heart and lung function and can be fatal during pregnancy.

Pulmonary hypertension in pregnancy is a killer.

From a blogger, who describes herself as:
As the daughter of a Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH) patient myself, I've come to learn a lot about the condition. Pulmonary Hypertension's a killer, not least because there isn't enough information out there about it. Please let people know this site exists, and hopefully we can work together to save lives!

some (non-jargony) information:
An early case series reported a 50% mortality rate associated with pregnancy and Primary Pulmonary Hypertension (PPH). A more recent account noted a 30% mortality rate and partly attributed the decline in the mortality rate to earlier recognition, better understanding of the pathophysiology of Primary Pulmonary Hypertension (PPH), along with improvements in medical therapy and critical-care obstetrics. Recognition of the elevated maternal-fetal mortality rate has led physicians to recommend effective contraception and, in the event of a pregnancy, early fetal termination.

Now, we don't know the severity of this woman's disease, but presumably all those medico-types at her bedside had an excellent opportunity to assess her chances. One in three or one in two chances of dying sounds pretty dire to me.

But the bishop, who, as far as we know, is not the possessor of any kind of medical degree, disagreed.
Reverand Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix said in a statement "I am gravely concerned by the fact that an abortion was performed several months ago in a Catholic hospital in this Diocese. I am further concerned by the hospital's statement that the termination of a human life was necessary to treat the mother's underlying medical condition." Olmsted also said "If a Catholic formally cooperates in the procurement of an abortion, they are automatically excommunicated by that action."

Boom, yer outta here, sistah!

So, who is this guy Olmsted?

He's described as a 'Hardline Catholic' and he has the mean-spirited history to prove it.
Thomas J. Olmsted, the Catholic bishop at the center of the abortion excommunication controversy once refused communion to a 10-year-old child with autism.

He refused to allow the child, who could not swallow, to take communion.

Olmsted, of Phoenix, Arizona, also tried to shield his archdiocese from clerical sex abuse suits by incorporating the local parishes individually.

Tellingly, he did not speak out on behalf of the victims, preferring to protect the financial interests of the Church.

Beating up on women and children while protecting the financial interests of the church. Yup. 'Hardline', all right.

You know, sometimes I really really really hope there is a hell.


deBeauxOs said...

But to hear the pious bleatings of Ayatollah Ouellette and Isabelle Begin-O'Connor on Radio-Canada, the Catholic Church would NEVER condemn a woman to die in order to carry a fetus to term.

ck said...

Wow! A nun gets excommunicated for performing a life saving abortion. I guess the church doesn't quite grasp the concept if the nun actually allowed the woman to die, that the fetus would also die?

I also don't get how this nun's heroic act gets her ex-communicated and the priests who sexually abused live children living outside the womb, damaging them for life, simply get moved to another parish where he could do that again.

deBeauxOs said...

CK - the nun was on the ethics cttee that approved the abortion, she didn't perform it herself as she's a RN. Physicians are, to my knowledge, the health care practitioners who are legally allowed to provide voluntary medical terminations of pregnancy.

Bina said...

I guess it's only a life if it's in the fetal stage. After birth, you're screwed.

George said...

The Title, "Excommunicated for saving a life", is entirely wrong. Excommunication was not because of saving a life but because of the agreement to the termination of the fetus to save the mother's life. To see things properly let us remove the glasses of bias from our mind. George.

fern hill said...

Tee-hee. A Catlick is lecturing us about bias.

A life was saved. (A fetus was terminated.) A nun was excommunicated.

Ergo, excommunicated for saving a life.

George said...

The Church was attacked since she was instituted by Christ.George

deBeauxOs said...

Christ didn't "institute" the Church. His followers did.

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