Advertisement

In Theory: Save the mother or the baby?

December 29, 2010

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?

Advertisement

What a terrible dilemma for any family to endure. Our hearts go out to all the people involved. But looking at the bare facts, the St. Joseph's Hospital staff took a life in order to save a life. You could argue that if they hadn't, both lives would have been lost. But does that justify the deliberate act of terminating a baby's life? I don't believe it does. And certainly not when the hospital operates under the name of a church that has a clear pro-life position. Religious beliefs take precedence in cases like this. The Catholic Bishops were right to strip the hospital of its Catholic affiliation.

Few emergency medical procedures actually touch on major moral issues. And obviously it's morally right to heal people. Jesus asked: "Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good, or to do harm, to save a life, or to destroy it?" (Luke 6:9). It's unlawful in Jesus' view to destroy a life. It would be unlawful before God for federal authorities to order a church-affiliated hospital to perform abortions. It would also be a violation of our right to freedom of religious practice. These hospitals must be allowed to help people and never forced to harm them. Our culture must begin to understand that life in the human womb is human life. It's not a puppy, or a kitten or a toenail. It's a human being.

La Canada Valley Sun Articles La Canada Valley Sun Articles
|
|
|