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) Thank you for your support and understanding, Birch Bricker
We the undersigned ask Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted to reconsider his excommunication of Sister Margaret McBride and immediately readmit her among the faithful. We do not find her guilty of a crime nor do we find her guilty of violating Canon Law. We believe that last November when she allowed for the termination of a womans pregnancy in order to save the same womans life (the woman has four other children), Sister McBride remained faithful to her duties as a Sister of Mercy and as a Catholic. I ask you to refer to this statement made Ex Cathedra (thereby infallible) by Pope Pius XII in his Apostolic letter "Acta Apostilicae Sedis" in 1951: "Deliberately we have always used the expression 'direct attempt on the life of an innocent person,' 'direct killing.' Because if, for example, the saving of the life of the future mother, independently of her pregnant condition, should urgently require a surgical act or other therapeutic treatment which would have as an accessory consequence, in no way desired or intended, but inevitable, the death of the fetus, such an act could no longer be called a direct attempt on an innocent life. Under these conditions the operation can be lawful, like other similar medical interventions granted always that a good of high worth is concerned, such as life, and that it is not possible to postpone the operation until after the birth of the child, nor to have recourse to other efficacious remedies." - Pope Pius XII Thank you, Bishop Thomas, for your consideration of this issue. Pax tecum, Birch Bricker and the members of Care2.com
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