Catholic Church Excommunicates Nun for Allowing Abortion
The mother would have died if the pregnancy continued.
A nun who was an administrator at a Catholic hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, has been expelled from the church because she agreed to an abortion for a mother-to-be who would otherwise have died.
Sister Margaret McBride, an administrator and a member of the hospital’s ethics committee, consulted with the patient and the doctor before agreeing to the abortion, which took place in late 2009, according to the Arizona Republic. The mother-to-be was found to be suffering from pulmonary hypertension, a frequently fatal condition that is aggravated by pregnancy.
Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, head of the Diocese of Phoenix, has no legal control over St. Joseph’s Hospital but has “moral authority” over all Catholic institutions operating in the diocese.
In a statement issued last week to the Republic, Olmsted said, “While medical professionals should certainly try to save a pregnant mother’s life, the means by which they do it can never be by directly killing her unborn child. ” Olmsted also said that if any Catholic “formally cooperates” in an abortion, he or she is “automatically excommunicated.”
McBride’s colleagues came to her defense: “Every one I know considers Sister Margaret to be the moral conscience of the hospital,” wrote John Garvie, M.D., chief of gastroenterology at St. Joseph’s. “Try to imagine the agony involved in such a decision. People not involved in these situations should reflect and not criticize.”
And Sister Judith Carle, board chairwoman of Catholic Healthcare West, which operates the hospital, sent a letter to Olmsted saying, “If there had been a way to save the pregnancy and still prevent the death of the mother, we would have done it. We are convinced there was not.”
McBride, a longtime member of the Sisters of Mercy order, has been assigned to another position at the hospital. She issued no comment. (Arizona Republic)