New York Times: Catholic Hospitals’ Abortion Prohibition ‘Violates Medical Ethics and Existing Law’

Jerry Coyne put it this way: “New York Times officially opposes stupid rules of Catholic hospitals.”

He’s referencing a recent editorial entitled “When Bishops Direct Medical Care,” in which the editorial board takes on the case of Tamesha Means, on whose behalf the ACLU is filing suit against the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the party they hold “ultimately responsible for the unnecessary trauma and harm” she suffered as a patient in a Michigan hospital.

Means was 18 weeks pregnant when her water broke; she proceeded to Mercy Health Partners, the only hospital in her county, which is required to abide by the USCCB’s Ethical and Religious Directives. Because this document forbids abortion in all cases, Means was not informed that termination was an option. In fact, it was the safest option for her; there was almost no chance the fetus would survive, and the situation could have led to infection and death for the mother. In fact, Means was discharged from the hospital twice in excruciating pain, and was being discharged a third time, despite being feverish with infection, when her delivery began. The fetus died anyway; luckily, Tamesha Means survived.

In a non-Catholic hospital, the standard of care requires doctors to at least notify patients that termination of a non-viable pregnancy represents their best chance at survival in this situation. The Ethical and Religious Directives, however, prohibit doctors from terminating or even informing patients about the availability and/or advisability of such alternatives so they might seek assistance elsewhere. That was an unlikely solution in any case for Means, since Mercy Health was the only hospital in her area. But she never got the chance, and the ACLU’s research shows that she is far from the only patient to suffer a similar dilemma.

Enter the New York Times, who responded to the case with interest, perhaps because it is the first to bypass a lawsuit against the hospital and instead target the men Coyne calls “the big guys with the hats who give the orders.” They succinctly cut to the heart of the issue, writing:

Catholic hospitals account for about 15 percent of the nation’s hospital beds and, in many communities, are the only hospital facilities available. Allowing religious doctrine to prevail over the need for competent emergency care and a woman’s right to complete and accurate information about her condition and treatment choices violates medical ethics and existing law.

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, president of the USCCB, released a statement in which he attempts to defend Catholic hospitals’ reproductive health care on grounds of religious freedom, a line of argument dismissed as “unpersuasive” in the Times piece. Kurtz insists that all claims of substandard care inspired by the Ethical and Religious Directives are “baseless,” invoking the Hippocratic Oath to help explain how a non-viable fetus at eighteen weeks’ gestation is as much a patient as Means herself, not medically or philosophically different:

The Church’s rejection of abortion also mirrors the Hippocratic Oath that gave rise to the very idea of medicine as a profession […] The Church holds that all human life, both before and after birth, has inherent dignity, and that health care providers have the corresponding duty to respect the dignity of all their patients. This lawsuit argues that it is legally “negligent” for the Catholic bishops to proclaim this core teaching of our faith. Thus, the suit urges the government to punish that proclamation with civil liability, a clear violation of the First Amendment.

Interestingly, while Kurtz takes care to note that “the death of any unborn child is tragic,” he doesn’t actually mention the possibility that a woman might die in childbirth or as a result of pregnancy complications like the infection that endangered Tamesha Means, or that the death of such a woman might also be a tragedy.

Once again, the Times editorial board swiftly dismissed the Church-approved “religious freedom” argument:

The bishops are free to worship as they choose and advocate for their beliefs. But those beliefs should not shield the bishops from legal accountability when church-affiliated hospitals following their rules cause patients harm.

In what kind of moral universe should the bishops’ freedom to “proclaim” their faith outweigh a medical patient’s right to access accurate information about her own body and make decisions about her care? The document in question certainly involves religious directives, but this level of control over other people’s health care is about as unethical as it gets.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Matt Potter

    I’m tired of the Catholic church and others talking about how their religious freedoms are being violated. They’re free to believe whatever they want to but when it comes to reality, evidence trumps faith and dogma. I expect my healthcare to be directed by medical professionals and medical research, not theologians.

  • Pitabred

    Exactly. They make no distinction between holding the views and forcing them on others. We do. That’s the primary difference.

  • Frank Mitchell

    As the old dictum goes, “My right to swing my fist ends where your nose begins.” (See http://quoteinvestigator.com/2011/10/15/liberty-fist-nose/ for origins.) Likewise, my religious liberty ends where your right to make informed choices begin.

  • purr

    Of course they twist it around, to point out that a fetus’ right to kill it’s host outweighs all other rights.

  • Stev84

    They are equating freedom of religion with the freedom to force their religion on other people. As usual these days.

    Those hospitals take patients of all kinds of religions. Not just Catholics.

  • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

    I propose a new universal rule number 1. The funnier the hat, the less real world power they can wield.

  • http://lady-die.deviantart.com/ LizzyJessie

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNkkko4vlBs

    Classic Carlin [Caution: Rude words]

  • Spuddie

    Am I the only one who thinks George Carlin deserves a statue erected some place?

  • http://lady-die.deviantart.com/ LizzyJessie

    If Detroit gets Robocop and Chester gets Popeye, then some other lucky city can get George Carlin.

  • Spuddie

    I am sure there is some space in Manhattan (his birth place) or for irony’s sake, Jersey City, which would gladly have one.

  • RedGreenInBlue

    I just don’t get how it can even be legal for a hospital (or an organisation in charge of hospitals) to follow a code of conduct which contradicts the available evidence on the most appropriate care.

    Actually, forget that. How is it that in a country which supposedly has strict separation between church and state, an organisation enjoying effective monopoly status on provision of services to the public due to geography (in no less important a field than healthcare, FFS!) can impose its bosses’ religious doctrine on its clients?

  • Matt Potter

    Can you imagine the outcry if a Catholic member died at JW hospital after being denied a blood transfusion or they were denied any medical care because the only hospital available in that area was ‘faith healing’? The RCC isn’t fighting to protect religious freedoms, they’re fighting to protect THEIR religious freedoms.

  • Pitabred

    Do what I say, not what I do! It’s not hypocritical when I say it!

  • A3Kr0n

    Invoking the Hippocratic Oath is invoking nothing. I wonder if he can invoke the Hippocratic Oath defending male circumcision?

  • God’s Starship

    Look, if Catholics want to eat stale zombie Christ wafers in their churches that’s their business, but if they open a hospital they have to be held to modern standards. You can’t go halfway on healthcare. You have to do the job.

  • Frank Mitchell

    If the Jehovah’s Witnesses were to open a hospital, they couldn’t refuse to do transfusions. (Right? Right?!?) Yet Catholics can impose their belief that killing a blastocyst is “murder” solely because they run a large number of hospitals.

  • Frank Mitchell

    You know, if a Catholic hospital had to apply to a court in order to become the legal guardian of a fetus before they could forbid each abortion, like the government must when a child is out of a womb, then … wait, scratch that. The court system would collapse under the avalanche of applications, and the Catholic Church would burn only a small fraction of their vast wealth … plus Church lawyers could drag on proceedings until abortion is no longer possible a/o the mother is dead. Ugh.

    Nope. Sue the bishops and hospital directors; criminal charges would be better.

  • Whitney Currie

    This is one of the issues that bothers me the most about religiously run medical facilities. This is not the only instance where religious doctrine flies in the face of quality medicine. If the mother had been Catholic, that would have been fine, but what happens when a non-believer or a patient of another faith comes along? At that point, the facility will more than likely ram their faith down the unsuspecting person’s throat, one way or another.

    And remember, it’s the baby that’s important here. The mother is totally irrelevant.

  • Ibis3

    “If the mother had been Catholic, that would have been fine”

    Nope. Still not fine. The woman should still be able to choose to go against her church’s teachings (the same way she can choose to get a divorce, remarry, take birth control, masturbate, or fail to go to Mass). The church has the option of punishing her/making her do penance should she repent, or of excommunicating her if she doesn’t. ETA: They don’t have the right to force her to obey, especially when the consequence is very likely to be fatal to her.

  • smrnda

    This is why I’m more or less totally opposed to all religious run hospitals. You can’t trust the dogma not to interfere with treatment, and a secular hospital would be better 100% of the time for that reason alone.

    We also have the Catholic church showing how someone with wealth enough can subvert the ‘free market’ which is supposed to give consumers the options they want. The Catholic church is buying hospitals to make sure that people *don’t* have a choice in their medical care.

  • purr

    To top it all off, Catholic hospitals receive millions in taxpayer dollars and don’t really help people…

    “””Despite this heavy mixing of theology and health care, Catholic hospitals in 2011 received $27 billion—nearly half of their revenues—from public sources, according to a new report put out today by the American Civil Liberties Union and MergerWatch, a reproductive rights advocacy group. And that figure doesn’t even include other tax subsidies the hospitals receive thanks to their nonprofit status.

    The hospitals have long justified their tax status and restrictions on care by pointing to their religious mission of serving the poor and their delivery of charitable care. But the new ACLU/MergerWatch report suggests, and the chart below illustrates, Pope Francis might be on to something when he’s said that the church needs to shift its priorities to focus less on abortion and more on the poor. MergerWatch data show that Catholic hospitals, where executives often earn multimillion-dollar salaries, aren’t doing any better providing charity care than other religious non-profit hospitals that don’t restrict care. They’re barely any better than ordinary secular nonprofits.”””

    http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/12/catholic-hospitals-arent-doing-much-poor

  • jen

    I worked in a Catholic hospital for ten years as a medical geneticist. I received a copy of the Directives and then did whatever the hell I thought was necessary. My conversations with patients were completely open and frank. If a patient wanted to pursue termination, then we referred elsewhere. I never got one iota of flak about it. It may have been an artifact of geography….New Jersey is not exactly steeped in religion and my hospital had numerous local competitors, so I think they knew they couldn’t act all crazy and still survive. I think they were also smart enough to know that the Directives would not be a defense against gross malpractice. They were unusual, to be sure, but I had a lot of respect for the way they viewed the hospital’s responsibility to the community. They acknowledged that, if nothing else, the fact that they accepted government funding (and quite a bit of it) meant they could not force their ideology on everyone. With the administrations of other Catholic hospitals had that kind of sense.

  • Stev84

    It depends on who you are dealing with. Sometimes people do get in trouble for doing the right thing. In some places there are also ultra-conservative Catholic organizations that do things like ask for the morning after pill in a hospital and then try to get people fired who give it to them.

  • jen

    Absolutely true. I think this problem is magnified in areas where the Catholic hospital essentially has a monopoly on medical services. My former hospital didn’t have anything close to a monopoly so, in some ways, it was so easy to make use of other locally available services that you could hardly tell you were even at a Catholic hospital. I wish the AMA would make a bigger deal out of this- there are scenarios in which following the Directives would force a physician or nurse to commit a gross malpractice. Meeting the medical standard of care must be the first priority for anyone who works with patients. If you are a Catholic healthcare professional yourself and you want to follow the Directives, that’s fine, but you must advise your patients of that upfront and give them options to seek care elsewhere when possible (I know an OB/GYN who does exactly that.) If you can’t do that because of an emergency situation and you choose to follow the Directives anyway and a malpractice is committed, you should face those consequences. I don’t say that lightly; I know first hand how devastating it is to have a suit against you (eventually dropped but it was enough to drive me out of direct patient care, unfortunately.)

  • purr

    And don’t forget about this, fetii are not people if the catholic hospital happened to let them die due to malpractise:

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/26/us/colorado-fetus-lawsuit/

    “” Life begins at conception, according to the Catholic Church, but in a wrongful death suit in Colorado, a Catholic health care company has argued just the opposite.

    A fetus is not legally a person until it is born, the hospital’s lawyers have claimed in its defense. And now it may be up to the state’s Supreme Court to decide.””

  • Pitabred

    They’re only people when it’s convenient for those in power. Just like every religious doctrine.

  • L.Long

    The Catlickers have been doing this and worse from the very beginning.
    They destroyed a Roman physician’s work because he was a pagan and sent medicine back 100yrs. They fought against every medical advance thru to the 1800’s. In the mid-evil-ages they did not allow people to cut up corpses for study because …well…just cuz! They like to present this ‘we’re more advanced than fundies’ image, but it is just a superficial thin mask. They are just as nasty as any other dogmatic bunch of Aholes.

  • RN from NY

    If they want religious freedom so badly, maybe they should close their hospitals and stay in the church. They could send a priest to brain wash (oops, I mean advise) Catholics in the hospital about how they should risk their lives for a non-viable pregnancy.

  • $925105

    Religious hospitals get more taxpayer funding that secular public hospitals. In return they use the hospital to advance their religious ideology, and happen to provide some medical services. It’s rather immoral. It’s like Pat Robertson using starvation in Africa as a vehicle to raise millions so he can hunt for a diamond and on the side provide Bibles to starving Africans, in the guise of charity.

  • Neko

    The hits keep coming from the RCC. Infuriating. Time to send back one of those envelopes from the ACLU.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    I hope they pay out of the nose for their stupidity. They put a woman’s life at risk, and have killed others, because they think every sperm is sacred. I just want the catholic church out of the health care business.

  • Lilly Munster

    Sue the Bastards.

  • Robster

    The whole catholic ‘problem’ with birth control boils down to the production (or otherwise) of more little babies to be indoctrinated with their silly nonsense and hopefully become potential victims of the catholic church and to keep the cash coming in. Back in the old days, catholic families were always larger than non catholic families, a common term of phrase, say after a big meal was “I’m as full as a catholic school”. Their numbers are falling away, their dogma discredited, half their staff are in jail, their pope person seems to be almost a functioning human but things are still going down hill. More catholic babies is the answer and nothing will get in the way. Survival of whole nasty, shady outfit depends on it.

  • DavidMHart

    I’m not sure that that ‘maximise the number of offspring’ philosophy can really be at the root of it. Sure, it tends towards it when you have a heavy ‘no abortion for any reason ever’ policy, but their opposition to artificial insemination and to IVF both go completely counter to it. And their insistence on never terminating a non-viable pregnancy even when it is certain to kill the woman (thus precluding her from ever having any future children) also goes against it.

    If there’s any coherent principle at work here at all, I’d say it was a fanatical opposition to humans exercising any conscious control over their own fertility, which merely happens to tend to produce large families as a byproduct.

  • purr

    And sexual urges are something that is really hard to control for the majority of people, so if you can associate sex with sin, people will always be begging for forgiveness. You literally have them by the short and curlies.

    I have heard some other theories as well:

    1) According to traditional Christian teachings, women were dispensable. It was far preferable for a woman to die in childbirth than to indulge in something as filthy and unnatural as birth control. Bertrand Russell cited a case of an Anglican clergyman of his acquaintance who chose to see his wife die giving birth to their tenth child*. The reverend gentleman had been told that she would die if she had another child, but contraception was not then an option for a good Anglican. The clergyman got his wife pregnant and she died, as he had been told she would. No Christian condemned him for killing his wife. Only freethinkers like Bertrand Russell found his behaviour reprehensible. Early in the twentieth century it was already known that simple precautions, such as wearing a condom, could render negligible the danger of contracting syphilis. Churches of all denominations deliberately suppressed this knowledge, on the grounds that it was good for sinners to be punished by contracting venereal diseases

    2) Despite the Church’s revulsion at all matters sexual, or perhaps because of it, churchmen have throughout the centuries felt obliged to impose their views on others. Sex was held to be disgusting enough even when it was carried out in the most conventional way. It was acceptable only between a man and (one) wife, only for the purpose of conception, only on approved days, only at night, only in bed, only in moderation, and only in the permitted manner. Priests encouraged couples to remain partially clothed. Only one copulatory position was allowed. Others were regarded as debauched or bestial. The story grew up that the Devil mated women from the rear, so this method was regarded with particular horror. To this day missionaries try to stop converts from practising it, and encourage the adoption of the one acceptable position — which is thus known as the missionary position. Theologians once held that a wife’s acquiescence in any deviation from their approved position was as grave a sin as murder1. The whole area was set about with danger. At one time sexual intercourse of any sort was discouraged for much of the year.

    Marriage was tolerated as the best that ordinary people could manage. According to St Jerome there was as much difference between wedlock and virginity as there is between managing not to sin and being a saint. Marriage was an unfortunate but practical remedy against sin. Virginity was much more, a true holy state. Childbirth was a particularly sinful activity and required reconciliation with the Church. (This reconciliation was originally a ritual purification after the birth, later to become the Churching of Women.) Now the sin of bearing a child is rather underplayed, but in the past a mother who died in childbirth might be refused a Christian burial because of her sin.

    3) And it is somewhere on the site, I can’t find it now, but basically, the church didn’t want anyone to be having any kind of sex at all. But since people couldn’t be prevented from wanting and having children, the church reluctantly agreed that people *could* have sex to create children, but that sex must *only* be used for procreation.

    http://www.badnewsaboutchristianity.com/gfb_inmarriage.htm

  • L.Long

    The preacher did not ‘murder’ his wife….he ‘divorced’ her in the approved manner.

  • OhYeahBaby

    Fuck religion.

  • kickinitincrik

    Stupid religion and all their stupid hospitals. Today’s hospitals are just another black mark in the gruesome history of Christianity. You atheists should set up a hospital called “St. Hitchens, Help of Freethinkers.” There could be a statue of him in front holding out his arms like Mary with the inscription, “Cherish the uterus, give me your fetus.”

  • Spuddie

    At least in that hospital people would actually get treatment based on principles of medical necessity and informed consent.
    You would not see doctors and staff compromising medical ethics in order to please mythical sky gods and the monarch of a small city/state in Europe.

    Religions should get out of any business other than erecting and maintaining churches. They never want to follow codes of conduct and laws necessary for operating anything else.

  • kickinitincrik

    Then get to it. Why don’t you atheists build a hospital. I know it may cut into some of the funding that would go to pasta nativity scenes in state capitols but we all gotta make sacrifices. Sorry, sacrifice sounds to Christian – a different word perhaps.

  • Spuddie

    We don’t have all that money which comes from compelling little old ladies and the stupidly naïve to give over their possessions out of fear of mythical underworlds. That kind of grift, churches have run for centuries. Its tough to top.
    As for sacrifices,

    Christians evidently believe it only applies to other people. They expect everyone to sacrifice themselves for Christians preferably by compulsion or deception. If not for such ideas they would not have this problem in the first place. Obviously Catholic Bishops believe the lives of all patients have to be sacrificed to support Church dogma.

    The Pope and every other Christian religious authority figure lives a life of monastic simplicity sacrificing wealth and power in favor of contemplation of Christ’s word. Oh wait, no they don’t. Not ever.

  • purr

    Taxpayer funds go to catholic hospitals. And then those hospitals refuse to provide care to pregnant women because they would prefer that both fetus and woman die. Because why should the stupid s1ut live to have more children???

    “””Despite this heavy mixing of theology and health care, Catholic hospitals in 2011 received $27 billion—nearly half of their revenues—from public sources, according to a new report put out today by the American Civil Liberties Union and MergerWatch, a reproductive
    rights advocacy group. And that figure doesn’t even include other tax subsidies the hospitals receive thanks to their nonprofit status.

    The hospitals have long justified their tax status and restrictions on care by pointing to their religious mission of serving the poor and their delivery of charitable care. But the new ACLU/MergerWatch report suggests, and the chart below illustrates, Pope Francis might be on to
    something when he’s said that the church needs to shift its priorities to focus less on abortion and more on the poor. MergerWatch data show that Catholic hospitals, where executives often earn multimillion-dollar salaries, aren’t doing any better providing charity care than other
    religious non-profit hospitals that don’t restrict care. They’re barely any better than ordinary secular nonprofits.”””

  • purr

    I’ll repeat it, again.

    Catholic hospitals have received 27+$billion in taxpayer funds and they prefer to let pregnant women + fetus die

    Get that through your thick skull. The pregnant woman = the public, and the catholic hospitals take the funds and mistreat the poor and the pregnant because bishops directives are more important than serving the public.

  • kickinitincrik

    I’m curious. What do these Catholic hospitals do with the piles of dead women that they kill every day?

  • purr

    Did the hospital do the right thing? Yes or no?

  • Anathema

    I don’t know. Why don’t you ask the University Hospital of Galway what they did with the body of Savita Halappanavar?

  • bob42

    I see that you still refuse to answer the simple question, “Did the hospital do the right thing?”

    Let me try to help. The spokesman for the Catholics framed it as an issue of “religious liberty” and attempts to use that to defend a systemic practice that intentionally delivers substandard medical care/advice and causes needles pain and suffering.

  • kickinitincrik

    Yawn. I don’t know and neither do you. We weren’t there. We don’t have all the info. If the right thing is do what it takes to preserve both lives then that’s right. Was their negligence that has nothing to do with their moral stand on abortion – don’t know.

  • bob42

    Kick, you have as much authority to tell me what I do or do not know as the Bishops have to dictate medical decisions to doctors. How arrogant is it of you to say that I don’t know something that I do?

    Don’t bothering answering that question either.

  • Ibis3

    We want secular hospitals, not atheist ones. We want hospitals that base their decisions on the optimum health of their patients, and encourage their medical staff to follow an evidence-based, ethical standard of care. Even when those patients happen to be women who have had sex.

  • Ella Warnock

    Sacrifice. Really. And just what is it that these bishops are “sacrificing”? They’ve got pretty cushy lives compared to Tamesha Means. Sacrifice always goes down SO much easier when someone else is expected to swallow it.

  • Carmelita Spats

    Jumping-Jesus-On-A-Pogo-Stick, if we were to tape your mouth shut,
    you’d fart yourself to death…I may be as country as Corn Flakes but,
    Boy, you just ain’t right! An overweight and chain-smoking Hitchens
    dressed up as a curiously transgendered Virgin Mary? Now that would make me gag like a vegan at Taco Bell…Hell, if I’m going to drag-queen
    the Mother-of-Jeebus in beet red lipstick, a skimpy thong, big red wax
    lips, stiletto heels and “Gummy Bear” breast implants, I’d choose
    someone like an aging Billy Graham. Now THAT would be a challenge! I would need a riot of lipstick, foundation powder, tweezers, a few tampons, a power drill, jumper cables and an underused Mesa Boogie guitar amp…Glory! I’d wheel Ol’ Billy into the bathroom where I would proceed to lob slabs of raw lard into the shower while he’s a-hankerin’ to scrub his backside. Praise! For plastic surgeons, mimesis is everything…Billy might need a happy reconfiguration of the outer labia of the vagina, like reconfiguring a ’69 Trans Am on “Pimp My Ride”, for beautification purposes but that would be up to a licensed plastic surgeon. We could rename Ol’ Billy, “Our Lady of Perpetual Agony” and have him hold out his arms like Mary with the inscription “Boo!” and put him out where he can frighten small mammals and children. Amen!

  • purr

    Your catholic hospitals:

    1) receive millions of dollars of taxpayer money

    2) bishops, not doctors, issue medical directives

    3) staff is not permitted to treat women who are in the process of miscarrying and/or *dying* from a pregnancy gone wrong

    4) staff is not even permitted to direct these poor women whose lives are on the line to another hospital that *can* save their lives

    5) Catholic hospitals are buying up secular hospitals at an astounding rate, and in some cases a Catholic hospital is the *only* hospital within a 50mile radius. In an emergency situation, this means that the catholic hospital will ensure that they end up with a dead woman AND a dead fetus because they withhold care

    In short, try to provide a better argument than the tripe you have just spewed out. You are embarassing yourself and all christians.

  • Neko

    Kick, did the hospital do the right thing, yes or no?

  • Kathleen

    It’s also ironic considering that many of the laws they support are supposedly to ‘make sure women are completely informed’ when it comes to abortion. They claim on one side (when the woman wants an abortion) that she needs ALL the information (even if the information is psuedoscience or made up) and the time (waiting periods) to process the information. But when it comes to needing or giving all the information when it comes to an emergency medical situation that MIGHT have her choosing an abortion, suddenly women shouldn’t have the information and doctors have their mouths shut.

  • WalterWhite007

    Death of a woman as a tragedy? Not if you’re a ‘pro-lifer’ or a ‘true’ cathlick!.
    ‘Pro-lifers’ (and ‘true’ cathlicks) are pro zygote and all steps in between up to pro fetus (with some of the truly ignorant being ‘pro sperm and pro egg’) but what they are most definitely not, is – pro woman.

  • John_in_Vegas

    The USCCB is also ultimately responsible for much harm done to gay men and women. We ought to be suing them to stop their anti-gay agenda. It contributes to psychological distress, clinical depression and often results in suicide. What other discipline would we allow to continue unabated if it was linked to similar outcomes?

  • Opinionated Catholic

    The United States Bishops Conference do not on any hospitals. In fact I am not sure any Diocese owns a Hospital .

    The lawsuit is groundless and indeed troubling and chilling as Freedom of expression and First amendment grounds.

    I suspect also quite a few Atheists that are First Amendment advocates are troubled as well

  • Cake

    You might want to try reading the article.

  • purr

    No, they don’t ‘on’ any hospitals, but the hospitals have to follow the directives issued by the bishops.

    Read the article.

  • Anathema

    The United States Bishops Conference do not on any hospitals. In fact I am not sure any Diocese owns a Hospital .

    Whether or not the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops technically owns the hospital is irrelevant. Even if the hospital was not owned by the USCCB, it was still affiliated with the Catholic Church and, as such, was required to follow a set of directives issued by the USCCB. These directives, however, are sometimes contrary to the best interest of the patient. Following these directives led the hospital in question to commit medical malpractice in a way that nearly led to the death of one of their patients.

    The lawsuit is groundless and indeed troubling and chilling as Freedom of expression and First amendment grounds.

    Freedom of expression does not give a doctor the right to deny critical medical information to their patient just because they are worried that their patient will make a choice that violate’s the doctors personal beliefs if they are fully informed. The First Amendment does not give a hospital the right to commit medical malpractice.

    I suspect also quite a few Atheists that are First Amendment advocates are troubled as well

    Yes, we do find this situation troubling. We find it troubling that the government is willing to give funding to a religiously-sponsored hospital that forces its religious beliefs on its patients. We find it troubling that the USCCB is willing to force hospitals to abide by rules that lead to patients being denied necessary healthcare. That’s why the ACLU, a group known for advocating first amendment rights, is suing the USCCB.

  • BackSpinBubba

    To hell with all religion! Tax them all!

  • Robert Jory

    The First Amendment protects citizens from the government silencing or punishing them for speaking their views, with exceptions such as public safety and obscenity. This is a public safety issue and the church should be punished for endangering citizens’ health.

  • The Starship Maxima

    I’m as pro-life as you can get and a Christian and I can tell you unequivocally that Bishop Kurtz is full of shit.
    Yes, the Hippocratic Oath states that you should do no harm. What exactly do you call it when you force a woman nearly to death in delivering a stillborn baby????
    Wake the fuck up and embrace reality.