St. Joseph's Hospital Loses Catholic Status Over Terminated Pregnancy
Phoenix, AZ - December 21, 2010 - Most Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of theRoman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, declared today that St. Joseph's Hospital andMedical Centercan no longer be considered Catholic. The Bishop stated that the Hospital andCatholic Healthcare West, had failed to comply with the Ethical and Religious Directives of the Church.
The issue stems from an incident last year, where St. Joseph's Hospital elected to terminate thepregnancyof a seriously ill pregnant woman because they considered the pregnancy put the mother's life at risk. Hospital officials have stated that they terminated the pregnancy to save the mother's life.
Sister Margaret McBride, who sat on the hospital's ethics panel and allowed the abortion to take place, was excommunicated from theCatholic Churchfor her participation.Catholic Church doctrineconsiders that when the baby's life is specifically targeted for termination, such an act is considered an abortion. The Church does not consider it an abortion when anunborn childdies as an indirect result of any other medical efforts to assist the mother.
According to the Bishop, this abortion was not the only reason for his decision. Recently, he had learned that for more than seven years CHW has committed numerous violations of the Catholic Church's Ethical and Religious Directives for Healthcare.
ArizonaRight to Lifeacknowledges the difficulty of this decision and our hearts and prayers go out to the family who lost their child. While we realize that this decision may be divisive, we praise and support the stance taken by Bishop Olmsted and the Catholic Church that promotes life and values the lives of bothmother and childduring the pregnancy.