New Study Verifies: When Bishops Make Medical Decisions, Women Suffer

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco and the University of Chicago have published a new study that describes what happens behind the scenes when women face pregnancy emergencies in Catholic hospitals.  The authors interviewed 31 ob-gyns to understand how restrictions are implemented.

A passage from one of the researchers:

“Another patient arrived at a Catholic hospital bleeding with a twin pregnancy where one was molar and one was not. A molar pregnancy involves the growth of non-viable tissue in the uterus that can potentially become cancerous for the woman. The ethics committee refused to allow her physician to terminate the pregnancy because, according to the clergyman’s Google search, there have been rare cases where the non-molar twin survived to term. The doctor we interviewed recalled,

“They called it a termination, which is a bogus term ’cause you’re not terminating anything but a horrible situation. [They said], ‘You can’t do it here. Take her to another hospital to do it.’…A molar that bleeds, you can’t move her. You’ve got to take care of her there.”

This physician was very upset by the ruling because the standard of care for molar pregnancy is termination due to the risk of cancer, hemorrhage and other health threats.

While information about what exactly takes place in Catholic hospital ethics committee meetings is hard to find, physicians report that they are generally led by clergy without medical training. The ultimate authority on ethics committee disputes is the local bishop.”


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