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Life-Saving Hospital May No Longer Consider Itself Catholic

Written by Amie Newman for - News, commentary and community for reproductive health and justice.

It's being characterized as both good news and sad news.

Bishop Thomas Olmstead of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix has formally stripped St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona of its status as an official Catholic hospital after Lloyd H. Dean, President of Catholic Healthcare West, the entity that runs St. Joseph's Hospital, refused to submit to Olmstead's demands that the hospital never again perform a life saving procedure on a woman--if said procedure is an abortion.

St. Joseph's could not, as the Dude would say, "abide."In a statement released today, Bishop Olmstead explained his reasoning,

"In the decision to abort, the equal dignity of mother and her baby were not both upheld," Olmsted said at a news conference announcing the decision. "The mother had a disease that needed to be treated. But instead of treating the disease, St. Joseph's medical staff and ethics committee decided that the healthy, 11-week-old baby should be directly killed."

The hospital did, in fact, treat the mother's "disease" because if they hadn't not only would she have died but the fetus would have as well. Olmstead's insistence on calling the fetus, in utero, an "11 week old baby" is not only disrespectful of this woman's life and health, it's medically incorrect and absolutely meant to condescend to a woman whose life was saved and whose chidren still have a living mother.

According to a statement from Linda Hunt, president of St. Joseph's, the hospital does all they can to prioritize the lives of both the fetus and the mother but, "Morally, ethically, and legally we simply cannot stand by and let someone die whose life we might be able to save." Read more

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