Revisiting Sr. McBride vs. Olmstead hospital abortion case

No, actually it isn’t. Really…it continues to perplex me that people cannot see this. An 11 week fetus CANNOT survive this scenario. It’s a rare scenario but it happened in this case.


For those of you who don’t move in medical/health care circles and don’t understand how hospitals work, let me fill you in on a few things.

Doctors speak in typically uncertain terms. Because of malpractice suits and insurance requirements, they seldom make a guarantee of anything: like they will not say “take this pill and you will be cured.” That would be highly unethical. Therefore they speak a language of percentages, of possible outcomes, of a prognosis and the different options for treatment. It’s a very fuzzy science, allopathy, and it’s based on a lot of research studies and medical journals and empirical analysis and it’s got a good dose of superstition and legends baked into it. Don’t let anyone tell you that it doesn’t.

So in an emergency situation, you’ve got doctors, nurses, and staff working on overdrive trying to solve the problem, and the problem is often death of a patient. Often they are poorly equipped or unprepared to negotiate the lives of two patients at a time, let alone when they are interlinked by placenta and umbilical cord.

Time is of the essence. Snap decisions are made. They are intelligent and well-informed, but often they are made on minimal evidence. A pregnant woman admitted to a hospital ER may not come with a full medical history and chart. If she’s incapacitated she can’t answer questions. Was the husband there to help? Who knows. Doctors work on low information, such as the meters and monitors they can bring to bear. They determined it was pulmonary hypertension. Okay.

Since medical science is largely pro-abortion, the journals and literature skew that way too. And so doctors, even doctors in a Catholic hospital, will tend to recommend abortion. Perhaps some recommended it more forcefully than McBride. Dunno. But the science is prejudiced, and perhaps might have colored their perception of the baby’s chances at life. I would say there’s a good chance at that. If the doctors inherently viewed the baby as less worthy than the mother then they were more likely to issue a poor prognosis for him.

And a “poor prognosis” is never “certain death”. Once again, that would be HIGHLY UNETHICAL and result in an immediate MALPRACTICE LAWSUIT because there is precedence for “wrongful life” suits. If you, sitting on the sidelines, no access to medical records, don’t even live in the same state, seem to think that you know more than trained and licensed hospital staff, well, then,


I’m not doing anymore what if’s. My answer will be no different than it is for all the other unfair comparisons you and others have spouted on this thread: In a pregnancy where the mother’s life is threatened, you do everything you can to save both. If all measures to save both are futile and the baby is not able to survive no matter what you do, you save the one you can. One person dies rather than two.

There is no other real-life scenario where two lives are at stake and one—who cannot survive the situation no matter what—must be directly killed to save the other.

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Your profile says “Catholic” and yet you’ve excluded the occurrence of miracles. ???

I didn’t realize belief in miracles was a requirement unique to Catholicism. Many Protestants, who I’m sure believe in miracles as well, would agree with my stance (and the stance of a few other Catholics on this thread) on this issue.

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I am not sure what the confession of a person has to do with correctly answering a specialized question about a medical outcome that would require a trained and licensed professional and a team of researchers to answer.
You have offered no citations to medical journals, books, or any other source that describes prognosis and historical outcome for maternal pulmonary hypertension. It’s just your tiresome say-so, over and over again, beating the dead horse. Well, I can’t tell if it’s really a horse, but it looks like one by this time.

There is no “what if” here. No hypothetical. It is a straight up question.

Since I don’t think you will answer it given your responses thus far, cheers and adieu. Not sure what gain you get from repeating your disagreement with the Church, but hey, knock yourself out.

I’m going by the facts presented in the case. It was a severe case of this particular disease. Another person on this thread cited a case that was less severe and allowed the child to be carried to term, but the mother died an hour after birth. In the St. Joseph’s hospital case, the illness was more severe and the mother was in danger of immediate death, and the child was in the process of dying.

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How were the alleged facts presented to you? I got them in news articles. Did you read medical histories?

I read this thread and articles about the incident.

Look…I get it. You’re arguing that maybe both people had a chance. Or there could have been a miracle. I don’t completely disagree on that. But experienced medical professionals can make informed decisions about the “odds” of a particular thing, and it was determined in the case in question that the baby couldn’t survive and the only way to save the mother was a direct abortion.

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Thank you. I stand corrected and didn’t know that’s how it came down.

The church, as Christ’s sacrament for the salvation of souls, could not teach otherwise.

Death, always an evil event, came into the world by sin.

The cause of death may be physical, e.g., extreme weather; physical evils do not offend God. But if the cause of an innocent one’s death is moral, i.e., by the direct hand of man, then God is offended and the soul of the killer is in jeopardy of eternal damnation.

The Catholic Church holds it better for the sun and moon to drop from heaven, for the earth to fail, and for all the many millions on it to die of starvation in most extreme agony, as far as temporal affliction goes, then that one soul, I will not say, should be lost, but should commit one single venial sin, should tell one willful untruth, or should steal one poor farthing without excuse ( St. John Henry Newman).

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I’m not doing that. I’m displaying how your position is illogical and is based purely on emotion.

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Deliver a 10 week old fetus? What?! Non-sensical.

The alternative is murder.

I deleted my post before your post.
I don’t know exactly why you are posting this to me… sorry.
I know of two similar cases only, very close. In neither removing the babies who were not viable was an option .

I’m sorry @graciew I didn’t mean to address my post to you.
Some reason the computer automatically put your name on it and I didn’t even notice it until now.

God bless

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That is ok, Latin. It is a problem what the computers “ automatically “do without our permission .How dare they!:confused:

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Not sure I agree, but fine: then we’ll call the “object chosen” as “remove the placenta”.

So, again to my thought experiment: if one were able to remove the placenta, as such (without the inflammatory language of “dismembering the fetus”), would that make the procedure acceptable?

I’m not claiming that this example is double effect. You claimed that it’s never acceptable to kill an innocent. I pointed out that this is exactly what happens in a procedure to address an ectopic pregnancy.

There is, but only to refute your assertion about “never taking an innocent life.” I’m not asserting anything else about that example; merely that it demonstrates your claim about “innocent life” to be inaccurate.

I think I’d gently suggest to you that this is because that was the point of the materials you’ve read – to assert that it was an ‘abortion’, plain and simple. The Lysaught article discusses the medical details and the effects of the working of the placenta on the mother’s already fragile condition.

Yes and no. The bishop did affirm the excommunication, however. In his discretion as the local ordinary, he could have determined that it wasn’t punishable by excommunication. (Heck, he could have said “grave sin, but not punishable with an ecclesial penalty”, if he wanted to!)

So, to claim that he did nothing is kinda inaccurate. He made the judgment that it occurred, and provided notification of his judgment.

Erm… “pot, meet kettle”, perhaps? :thinking:

Just as nonsensical as “deliver a 24-week fetus” might have been, a century ago. It’s a question that’s highly dependent on existing medical technology and procedures. Just sayin’…


It’s not “inflammatory language”, it is a step in the procedure right after they killed the fetus. The Church teaches that If diseased tissue is removed, and the fetus dies as a consequence of that removal, then it is the principle of “double effect” and is morally permissible. But you already know that.

And you are incorrect. They do not directly kill the fetus.

I never said “never taking an innocent life.” Putting quotes around it makes it appear I said that, which I didn’t. We are talking about directly killing an innocent human being which is always wrong. Directly killing is what is important here. There is no situation which makes it morally permissible.

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