The World Watches as Women Die

Recently, Salon posted an article about a critically ill woman, with a nonviable pregnancy, who is facing jail time if she has an abortion.

In December, a young mother in Ireland begged for an abortion because she knew that without it, she would die.

And yesterday, I heard a story about a young woman who was driving through the mid-West with her husband when she started feeling sharp pains.  At the local hospital, doctors diagnosed an ectopic pregnancy and told her they would remove one of her Fallopian tubes.

Fortunately, the woman had a SmartPhone and googled her condition.  She realized that she didn’t need surgery; she needed a drug that would end her nonviable pregnancy.  In great pain, she left the hospital with her husband and went to a secular provider who would keep her fertility intact.  The ectopic pregnancy was ended, and she emerged with two healthy Fallopian tubes intact.

All of these women were victims of senseless theology-based medical policies that prevented doctors from doing what was decent and right.

In our system, when an authority figure directs a subordinate to maim or stand by as an innocent dies, we hold the person giving the orders accountable.  And yet, the Catholic bishops, through the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care, direct physicians and nurses to regularly violate standards of care in ways that rob women of their fertility, and sometimes, their lives.

When will we hold them accountable?

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