Arizona hospital loses Catholic status over abortion
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix stripped a major hospital of its affiliation with the church Tuesday because of a surgery that ended a woman’s pregnancy to save her life.
Bishop Thomas Olmsted called the 2009 procedure an abortion and said St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center _ recognized internationally for its neurology and neurosurgery practices _ violated ethical and religious directives of the national Conference of Catholic Bishops.
“In the decision to abort, the equal dignity of mother and her baby were not both upheld,” Olmsted said at a news conference announcing the decision. “The mother had a disease that needed to be treated. But instead of treating the disease, St. Joseph’s medical staff and ethics committee decided that the healthy, 11-week-old baby should be directly killed.”
In a statement, St. Joseph’s President Linda Hunt said the hospital will comply with Olmsted’s decision, but she defended its actions.
“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,” Hunt said. “Morally, ethically, and legally, we simply cannot stand by and let someone die whose life we might be able to save.”
The woman is in her 20s had a history of abnormally high blood pressure when she learned of her pregnancy. After she was admitted to the hospital with worsening symptoms, doctors determined her risk of death was nearly 100 percent.