Michigan woman sues U.S. Catholic bishops over medical treatment of miscarriage

Michigan woman sues U.S. Catholic bishops over medical treatment of miscarriage December 3, 2013

I’ve never heard of a case quite like this. From The Chicago Tribune:

A Michigan woman has sued the U.S. Catholic bishops, arguing that a Catholic hospital in Michigan denied her adequate treatment during a painful miscarriage because of a policy banning even the discussion of abortion as an option.

Tamesha Means said she went to a Catholic hospital in Muskegon, Michigan, the only hospital within 30 minutes of her home, when her water broke in December 2010 after only 18 weeks of pregnancy, according to the lawsuit filed Friday in Detroit federal court.

Despite her being in excruciating pain and with virtually no chance her pregnancy could survive, Mercy Health Partners told Means there was nothing it could do and did not tell Means that terminating her pregnancy was an option and the safest course for her condition, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit accuses the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops of creating health care directives “that cause pregnant women who are suffering from a miscarriage to be denied appropriate medical care, including information about their condition and treatment options.”

About 15 percent of the 800,000 beds in the U.S. are in a Catholic hospital, according to the Catholic Health Association. In those hospitals, medical professionals must comply with the bishops’ directives, which prohibit suggesting or performing abortions.

In complying with the directives, medical professionals at the hospital failed to follow the standard of medical care, which required them to provide Means with treatment, inform her of her options and the risks associated with her condition, the lawsuit said.

Don Clemmer, a spokesman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the organization representing the Catholic hierarchy in the United States, said the organization would not comment on the lawsuit at this time.

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