St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center was a Catholic hospital in Phoenix, Arizona. This "Catholic" status is "past tense" because the Phoenix Diocese stripped the hospital of its Catholic affiliation as punishment for a 2009 abortion performed there. Bishop Thomas Olmsted says that the abortion violated Catholic ethical guidelines which all Catholic hospitals must abide by.
The facts of the case are that the if the 11-week pregnancy hadn't been terminated, both mother and fetus would have died. The hospital made the decision to abort on the basis that the procedure was done to save the mother's life, not to terminate the pregnancy. So according to Thomas Olmstead, it's a violation of Catholic ethical guidelines to prevent pregnant women from dying if the only way to save them is to abort the pregnancy.
Linda Hunt, president of St. Joseph's, said doctors performed a necessary procedure on a patient who was getting worse by the minute and was in imminent danger of death.
"If we are presented with a situation in which a pregnancy threatens a woman's life, our first priority is to save both patients. If that is not possible, we will always save the life we can save, and that is what we did in this case," Hunt said. "Morally, ethically, and legally, we simply cannot stand by and let someone die whose life we might be able to save." ...
The woman who underwent the procedure is in her 20s and had a history of abnormally high blood pressure when she learned of her pregnancy. After she was admitted to the hospital with worsening symptoms, doctors determined her risk of death was nearly 100 percent.
The hospital's ethics team concluded the pregnancy could be ended under the church's ethical directives because "the goal was not to end the pregnancy but save the mother's life," the hospital said.
Source: The Seattle Times
Clearly, "saving the life we can" is not Catholic policy if that means a fetus dies but a woman lives. Women simply have no value next to a fetus in Catholic theology, right? It seems obvious that if there were any case that would fall under the Catholic "guidelines" for when an abortion is permitted, this is it. By rejecting the reasoning of the hospital, Thomas Olmstead is effectively announcing that the exception is null and void. It doesn't matter if the woman will die and it doesn't matter if the fetus can't be saved: aborting the pregnancy to save the woman's life is never, ever licit.
Olmsted's announcement came after months of talks between the Diocese, the hospital and the hospital's parent company, Catholic Healthcare West.
Dr. Charles Alfano, chief medical officer at the hospital and an obstetrician there, said Olmsted was asking the impossible from the hospital.
"Specifically the fact that he requested we admit the procedure performed was an abortion and that it was a violation of the ethical and religious directives and that we would not perform such a procedure in the future," he said. "We could not agree to that. We acted appropriately."
Olmsted said the talks eroded his confidence about St. Joseph's and Catholic Healthcare West's commitment to the church's ethical and religious directives. "They have not addressed in an adequate manner the scandal caused by the abortion," he said.
Because for Catholic theologians and clerics, it's such a scandal when women actually live, never mind live autonomously and freely. I wonder if Thomas Olmstead prays every night for God to remove the scourge of womanhood from the planet and regularly wonders why God saw fit to create women at all. Life for clerics like him would be so much better if only men existed because men are so much better than women. But not in a gay way, you understand.