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Last November, a 27-year-old woman was admitted to St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix. She was 11 weeks pregnant with her fifth child, and she was gravely ill. According to a hospital document, she had "right heart failure," and her doctors told her that if she continued with the pregnancy, her risk of mortality was "close to 100 percent."
The patient, who was too ill to be moved to the operating room much less another hospital, agreed to an abortion. But there was a complication: She was at a Catholic hospital.
But the hospital felt it could proceed because of an exception called Directive 47 in the U.S. Catholic Church's ethical guidelines for health care providers that allows, in some circumstance, procedures that could kill the fetus to save the mother. Sister Margaret McBride (order: Sisters of Mercy), who was an administrator at the hospital as well as its liaison to the diocese, gave her approval.
The woman survived. When Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted heard about the abortion, he declared that McBride was automatically excommunicated the most serious penalty the church can levy.
This is certainly strange seeing as how in recent months and years no pedophile priests have been excommunicated. When priests have been caught their bishops have protected them, and it has taken years or decades to defrock them, if ever. Yet in this instance we have a sister who was trying to save the life of a woman, and what happens to her? The bishop swoops down and declares her excommunicated before he even looks at all the facts of the case.
I ask you to sign this petition so I can give it to the Bishop and ask for the reinstatement of Sister Margaret McBride. Not only is there an obvious double standard in the Catholic Church's dealings between men and women, but it is also taught in the Church that if a fetus poses a grave threat to the life of a mother, the pregnancy can be terminated in order to save the mothers life. (see Pope Pius XII - Acta Apostolicae Sedis)
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