Q. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, Ariz. has stripped St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center, also in Phoenix, of its Catholic affiliation for performing emergency surgery on a woman that saved the woman's life but ended her pregnancy, which was in its 11th week. The Church says that the hospital violated ethical and religious directives of the national Conference of Catholic Bishops and describe the operation as "an abortion." But the doctors involved said that if they hadn't operated, the mother would have lost her life, too. The ACLU has stepped in to demand that the federal government ensure that Catholic hospitals do not prevent women from receiving emergency medical procedures in cases such as this.
Do you think that religious beliefs take precedence in cases like this? Should the teachings of any religion supersede the need for emergency medical procedures?
And do you think that authorities, whether at local, state or federal level, should be allowed to force church-affiliated hospitals to perform surgical procedures that might result in the loss of a developing baby?