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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

May-18-10

Arizona Nun Excommunicated for Approving Emergency Abortion

A Catholic nun in Arizona was recently reassigned and "automatically excommunicated" following controversy after she approved an emergency abortion during a patient medical crisis late in 2009. Sister Margaret McBride was a senior administrator at St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix.

A statement released by the hospital said, "In this tragic case, the treatment necessary to save the mother's life required the termination of an 11-week pregnancy. This decision was made after consultation with the patient, her family, her physicians, and in consultation with the Ethics Committee, of which Sr. Margaret McBride is a member." According to The Arizona Republic, the patient suffered from pulmonary hypertension, which limits heart and lung function and can be fatal during pregnancy.


Reverand Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix said in a statement "I am gravely concerned by the fact that an abortion was performed several months ago in a Catholic hospital in this Diocese. I am further concerned by the hospital's
statement that the termination of a human life was necessary to treat the mother's underlying medical condition." Olmsted also said "If a Catholic formally cooperates in the procurement of an abortion, they are automatically excommunicated by that action."

In an editorial, Dr. John Garvie, St. Joseph's Hospital's chief of gastroenterology, wrote. "Let me assure all that there is no finer defender of life at our hospital than Sister McBride. Everyone I know considers Sister Margaret to be the moral conscience of the hospital."

Media Resources: Arizona Republic 5/15/10; Statements of Reverand Thomas J. Olmsted and St. Joseph’s Hospital in Arizona Republic 5/15/10; Arizona Republic 5/18/10


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