Lawsuit Challenges Anti-Abortion Policies at Catholic Hospitals [NYT]

Dec 2, '13 10:00 pm

The American Civil Liberties Union, on behalf of a Wisconsin woman, is suing Catholic bishops, arguing that their anti-abortion guidelines to affiliated hospitals are leading to medical negligence.

Full article…

I was wondering when the ACLU was going to weigh in on the hospital / abortion issue. It would seem to me that the “Do no harm” rule would be difficult to beat in court.

In the past, some states where execution is legal, corrections officials have had a hard time finding medical professionals to assist in the execution process citing the very same oath, do no harm.

Wait, even assuming (for the sake of argument) that abortion was indeed a right, is a private organization obliged to give me it? I mean, if I want to buy the Press-Enterprise but the newsstand operator says he doesn’t stock it, my First Amendment rights are not violated. I have no grounds to force him to provide me with a newspaper he does not stock. What makes abortion different?

This angers me. If you don’t agree with the policies of Catholic hospitals, then don’t go to them.

It’s not the Catholic Church’s fault or the Catholic Hospital’s fault that there are no other hospitals in that county.

The woman should sue the county or state, not the USCCB.

Holy War is coming :frowning:

Yes, because it’s “women’s healthcare” and it is a sacrament to secularists.

Just rewrite everything abortionists say as talking about “our sacrament” and imagine them as Catholics fighting for the right to religious worship and you can see how sick and twisted it really is.

Going only by the New York Times article, it looks like the hospital was neglectful, and that has nothing to do with abortion or the Church’s teaching. It’s possible that the staff were confused over the rules of the Church regarding such a situation, but it’s the staff’s job to be clear on it, and not compromise patient care in the process. It’s a shame she’s blaming the Bishops for this, rather than suing the hospital and those who were responsible for her poor care.

The ACLU has previously taken the position that if an entity receives any federal money, even indirectly, it forfeits its rights as a private organization. They used this tact to force religious colleges and universities to meet legal nondiscrimination requirements (Catholic colleges can’t just accept Catholic or Christian students for example). The reasoning was that the colleges accepted money from students via federal student loans so they were, in effect, public institutions for purposes of the law. The same could be used against any hospital that accepts Medicaid patients or those with federal employee health insurance.

It’s sneaky and disgusting but not surprising.

Going by the story and speculation thereof on Father Z’s blog, it is apparent that she and her baby both received excellent care, and this is a gutless attack on the Church by ambulance-chasing opportunists.

I pray for those children

Looks like the Hospital was guilty of malpractice.Has nothing tho do with abortion or the Bishops, however.

It would be perfectly appropriate to sue the hospital, especially as the facts related in the article point towards negligence. However, this suit targets the bishops, who bare no direct responsibility for hospital negligence.

This lawsuit is perfectly symbolic, and cannot go anywhere. The US Bishops have both the right to freedom of speech, and freedom of religion, and can post whatever directives they wish. If the case is not dismissed outright, the Bishops would win the case.

I disagree. The facts in the article (hosted by Hell’s Bible, no friend of the Church) are hopelessly garbled. It says “she miscarried at the hospital and the fetus died soon after.” – what kind of horse puckey is that? A miscarriage is the death of a child in utero but that sentence implies she had a live birth! A commenter on WDTPRS says the child survived a week after her water broke. So no, I don’t think the hospital was negligent at all here.

Under that standard, when I attended university, and they provided us state-funded newspaper copies to students, I would have had every right to demand a copy of the Wall Street Journal, whether they stocked it or not, and to sue if they had refused to do so.

Also, IIRC there is not yet any law forcing private hospitals with any form of government funding to provide abortions. If the ACLU is really concerned with this pretended right, this is a waste of time.

“Miscarriage” isn’t a medical term. Its a colloquial term that means a pregnancy ended prematurely (ie, was miss-carried…). “Spontaneous abortion” is the term that unambiguously means the child died in utero. Even so, miscarriages are painful events, as the mother’s body attempts to expel the dying child :frowning: :signofcross:. I don’t think it inherently inaccurate to say that it isn’t a “miscarriage” should the child not be yet deceased upon birth.

The alleged negligence is that her water broke about half way through her pregnancy, and she was sent home without any treatment for her or the dying child. If true, this is classic medical negligence; suing the bishops and not the hospital doesn’t make sense.

You lost me right there. NYT has ZERO credibility reporting on catholic issues. The fact that Maureen Dowd is still employed there after her long record of obscenely biased columns on catholic issues is clear evidence of editorial animus. Not that NYT can’t be A source on such issues, but you do yourself a disservice if you ONLY read their side. Important things get omitted, perspective is lacking and catholic teaching is often misrepresented.

It’s almost as bad as reading LifeSiteNews only to get all the facts on a pro-choice organization.

Get a second source, a better one.

They’re trying, I think, to pull a Savita (never mind that the Irish situation, even assuming the Kenny Government’s stance is somehow justifiable, is not legally analogous to this particular case). But with Savita, and this case, the Church would not be apppropiate defendant even if there were merit to the case.

When a mother’s water breaks this early in a pregnancy, it is a condition known as PROM, preterm premature rupture of membranes. The ACLU suit claims that,”…MHP did not inform Ms. Means that, due to her condition, the fetus she was carrying had virtually no chance of surviving…” However, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians,

…when membrane rupture occurs before 37 weeks’ gestation, it is known as preterm PROM. Preterm PROM complicates approximately 3 percent of pregnancies and leads to one third of preterm births.It increases the risk of prematurity and leads to a number of other perinatal and neonatal complications, including a 1 to 2 percent risk of fetal death.

That contradicts the ACLU’s claim that Ms. Meaks’ baby “had virtually no chance of surviving.” While it may be that Ms. Means’ baby would not have survived under any circumstances, there is no reason to think that abortion was “the safest treatment option.”

Ultimately, what the ACLU seeks to do is rid Catholic hospitals and social service agencies of the USCCB’s “Ethical and Religious Directives,” a set of moral guidelines for all Catholic institutions providing health care services. The purpose of these guidelines are

…twofold: first, to reaffirm the ethical standards of behavior in health care that flow from the Church’s teaching about the dignity of the human person; second, to provide authoritative guidance on certain moral issues that face Catholic health care today.

The Directives state that health care is a “ministry,” based on the teachings and examples of Christ and His care for the sick and dying. The Directives note that we live in a “pluralistic society” and

…Catholic health care services will encounter requests for medical procedures contrary to the moral teachings of the Church. Catholic health care does not offend the rights of individual conscience by refusing to provide or permit medical procedures that are judged morally wrong by the teaching authority of the Church.

The ACLU website lists 9 lawsuits in 2013 involving the Catholic Church and its stance on reproductive morality. Louise Melling, deputy legal director of the ACLU. “Medical decisions should not be hamstrung by religious directives.”

The health care system in the U.S. relies heavily on Catholic-run organizations. 1 in 6 hospital patients is cared for in a Catholic facility. More than 5.5 million people receive care annually from Catholic hospitals. In addition, Catholic Charities cares for over 4 million people annually, and serves over 7 million poor and hungry.

Borrowing their term, the ACLU would like to hamstring the Catholic Church by getting rid of the Ethical and Religious Directives that govern decisions made in these institutions. This lawsuit states that the Directives lead to “negligent acts” and risks to women’s health, and assumes that the Catholic Church does not have the right to make moral and ethical decisions based on religious beliefs in its own institutions. If successful, the lawsuit would wipe out the Church’s right to practice the faith as directed by the teaching body of the Church, the bishops. The consequences on the American health care system would be catastrophic.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York has made it known that the Catholic Church is strongly behind health care reform in the U.S. He has also made it clear that the Church cannot and will not set aside its beliefs.

We’ve been asking for reform in healthcare for a long time. So we were kind of an early supporter in this,” Dolan said in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” set to air on Sunday. “Where we started bristling and saying, ‘Uh-oh, first of all this isn’t comprehensive, because it’s excluding the undocumented immigrant and it’s excluding the unborn baby,’ so we began to bristle at that.”

And then secondly, we said, ‘And wait a minute, we Catholics who are among the pros when it comes to providing health care, do it because of our religious conviction and because the dictates of our conscience, and now we’re being asked to violate some of those,’” Dolan added.

The death of a child is a tragedy, and Ms. Means’ suffering should not be taken lightly. Neither, however, should we take lightly the ACLU’s desire to gut the Catholic Church’s ability to practice their First Amendment rights. Charles Kadlac sums the situation up: “…the precedent is clear: when religious beliefs conflict with government decrees, religion must yield.” And if religion yields, America’s liberties are shattered.

I sincerely doubt that the ACLU filed this out of concern for the mother or a desire to obtain reparations for her. The ACLU would like nothing more than to attack and harm the Church and that is their clear and only motive for this litigation. They will not hesitate to obfuscate and twist the facts for their purpose. The NYT is a willing accomplice in their jihad against Catholicism and people of faith. They are two organizations that truly deserve each other.

Wouldn’t that mean that people who receive welfare are no longer private citizens, but “public citizens” or something?

And that’s the basis for some of the rights that welfare recipients are expected to give up. One example is requiring drug testing to participate in welfare programs. Ordinarily, that would probably be considered a violation of a person’s right to privacy to require a drug test without probable cause. But since the government is supporting the person, some rights are exchanged.

I am not agreeing with the ACLU at all on their actions against Catholic hospitals. I am just saying that they have used this tactic before with schools and universities. It’s the reason some universities do not participate in federal student loan programs. (Franciscan in Stubenville is one, I think)

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