To Quote My Mother...


Stack 'em like cordwood. Bodies to the catacombs, children to the organ loft.
"it's like they're trying to make Lutherans of us all."


Honestly, though, this wouldn't be a bad outcome, politically speaking. Psychologically, I'm not sure which is worse, Catholic guilt or Lutheran shame.
Apparently, they also think that her other four (?) children did not deserve a living mother. Sad.

Officially deferring to the life of the child over the mother used to be the official policy here in Ireland (where abortion is still illegal), but I believe that even here that has been mollified somewhat, I believe that in rare cases abortions are performed to save the mother now.

Ireland is a sad case study in theocracy, the catholic church doesn't have as much of a stranglehold over society as it used to, but that stranglehold wasn't all that long ago (contraception was illegal, as was homosexuality, divorce, etc, until the 90s.) Thing is, Ireland revels in its anti-abortion status while turning a blind eye to women that have to go to England to procure one, letting themselves take a phony moral high ground. Any referenda on the subject of abortion in my lifetime have been attempts to close 'loopholes' to make it even more illegal. I could go on and on, and this has been an ultra-simplified take...

Sorry for derailing the topic, just went on a rant there...
"Therefore it is important for women with PH to use a more permanent but safe form of contraception. Progesterone forms of contraception are preferable. It is generally recommended that women with PH have tubal ligation or use the Mirena IUD. "
Fuck Olmstead.
A Christian

P.S. Dan, do you have, or does anyone else have his contact info? All I could find was
"The mother's life cannot be preferred over that of the child"

this statement in the context the bishop said it (the child being a fetus) is exactly why i don't give a flying fuck about what any whacked out pro life crazy has to say.
The mother's life can absolutely be preferred over that of the child. It'd take 27 years and change to replace the mother. It'd take 11 weeks to replace the fetus.

Lions don't let the cubs eat first.
"it's like they're trying to make Lutherans of us all."

Actually, why not become Episcopalians? The Pope has already offered to accept conservative members of the American church as practicing Catholics, so you know the rituals are similar. The liberal wing of the American church has Ministers and Bishops who are:
single, married and divorced
of many races
male and female
straight and gay
What's not to like. Besides, they have the best choral music in the world!
@5, birth control would also go against the Catholic line. So, apparently, it is in numerous ways preferable for this woman to be dead. Won't you think of the children she could die giving birth to?
The mother's life can and must be preferred over that of a nowhere-approaching-viable fetus. One hopes the mother had time and access (and the emotional independence) to turn to other providers if the Catholic hospital had refused to terminate her pregnancy, but if not then such refusal would be tantamount to murder.
"children to the organ loft": wait, the Catholics are harvesting children's organs now!
#8 the reasoning is not crazy unless you believe that a fetus is not really human. Olmstead obviously does believe, as does his church, that the fetus is an individual, human being. So, in that light, this is not an easy pull-the-plug-no-brainer, as many suggest, but a grave moral dilemma.

In his statement he also said.

"An unborn child is not a disease. While medical professionals should certainly try to save a pregnant mother's life, the means by which they do it can never be by directly killing her unborn child. The end does not justify the means."

The Catholic tradition holds that the end does not justify the means if the means is intrinsically evil.

There will never be mutual agreement between those who believe that abortion is a banal alternative and those who believe it is a grave moral evil any more than there was between the slaveholder and the abolitionist (who was also regarded as a whacked out crazy).

It makes sense to swap out this mother for her child in the view of the church. The women is now reconsidering her affiliation with the church because they were willing to let her die. The child however is ripe for indoctrination. This is in my eyes a cold hearted calculated move. Even if that was not their intention it is their action we must judge them by.
You know that the church is nearly irrelevant when it no longer has the power to change world politics (like by supporting the Nazis) but asserts itself by trying to fuck over its own members.
14, an 11-week fetus doesn't even know it exists. If you aren't aware that your rights have been violated, and haven't experienced any suffering as a result of the violation, what is the point of having rights? Also, if this abortion had not been carried out the mother would probably have suffered and died- she knows she exists and suffers when her rights are violated (and make no mistake, forcing her to carry a pregnancy to term against her will would be a violation even if her life were not in danger- and obviously letting her die when she could have been saved is a HUGE violation of her rights) so her rights obviously take precedence. And let's not forget about the rights of other people who would suffer from her death - her existing children would have suffered hugely, and so would her husband and other family members and friends. Suffering caused by this abortion: minimal to non-existent. Suffering that would have been caused by denying it: IMMENSE. Therefore the only moral thing to do in this situation is to abort. It really is a no-brainer when you take all aspects of the situation into account.
Contact info from the letter from the statement from the bishop's office (linked in the article)

CONTACT: Rob DeFrancesco, Director of Communications
O: 602-354-2130 / M: 602-751-2720
17: interesting assumptions you appear to be making; 1. if you are not aware your own existence you have no rights. 2. being aborted causes the fetus no suffering. 3. morality is wholly dependent on the balance of suffering. Is that what you really intended to say?

But essentially none of that makes a difference. This is obviously a corner case, like aborting the results of a rape. "...forcing her to carry a pregnancy to term against her will would be a violation..." implies an unmitigated right to abort - her health is immaterial. So why even argue the particulars?

You entirely avoid the point I was making. The totally unambiguous Catholic position, which the Bishop elucidated, is that the fetus, whether it is self-aware or not, is a human life just as is her mother. It is not a pathology or a choice between more and less valuable.

What's really ugly is that this isn't even about putting the unborn child's life before the mother's. In a case like this, the fetus is already lost. At 11 weeks, there's really no chance of the mother being able to carry the baby to anything approaching viability, even if she was willing to give up her life. So this isn't a case of the mother's life not being "preferred" over the child's by the Catholic Church; it's a case of the mother being a death-sentenced incubator to a dying baby for a couple of weeks being more important to the Catholic Church than her life.
@14: Fetuses are undeniably human. I just don't happen to think that status as a genetic human is what provides the moral weight that makes it wrong to kill someone. It is personhood (and some animals have elements of personhood - in fact, many have many more elements than a 3 month old fetus does) that matters.

Trying to make the claim about "humanness" is just an attempt to define your opponents as taking ridiculous positions (of course human fetuses are Homo sapiens, just as chicken eggs are Gallus gallus). It's also unabashed speciesism, that I think once closely examined is revealed to be both not supportable logically (you can rely on "faith" but that's not logic) and in conflict with our intuitions (that say, it would also be wrong to murder the Na'vi or Mr. Spock were they real).

@19: Accusing someone of being a Utilitarian isn't a grave insult, you know. "Did you really intend to say that you belong to one of the three major branches of philosophical ethics?!?"

I understand the Catholic position. I just happen to think it's idiotic, because it says that when we have two people who are going to die without intervention, we should let them both die rather than saving one of them - who is also the only one we *can* save in this situation.

It's like if I saw two people nearly drowning, a very large person, and a smaller person. I'm only strong enough to pull the smaller person aboard. And the large person is partly staying afloat by clinging to the smaller person... So I should let them both die, because otherwise the large person would die a little faster? And that would be viewing one as more valuable than the other?

Also, it doesn't imply an unmitigated right to abort - it implies that controlling women's bodies is a violation. That is to say, you could believe that abortion was wrong, but also believe that the means by which you would prevent women from getting abortion were also wrong.

(PS: you're the slaveholder in that analogy)
"personhood" is tricky.
The one writing the definition has an awful lot of (arbitrary) power over those who get written out.
Nazis and slaveholders had there own particular take on the subject....
@22 Gee, do you suppose that if you're writing the definition of "human" you also have a lot of power over what gets included? I think that's part of, you know, the act of defining. Unless you can enlighten me, however, I don't think that Nazi or pro-slavery ideology were built on a well-defined, scientific and philosophical consideration of the notion of "personhood". A lot of unscientific ideologies about races (types of humans) were involved, with certain races better or worse (not a whole lot about precisely defining personhood and explaining how blacks and Jews don't have it).

And I do believe that the Catholic Church was quite involved in both anti-Semitism and slavery, for quite a long time. Not to mention all sorts of justifications given for the conquest, subjugation and enslavement of the Native Americans by the Catholic Church. It is only now, and partly due to the efforts of the types of people who embrace these uncertain boundaries that are apparently defined any which way you like (nevermind that the Nazis were all about absolutism, black and white, and not recognizing such shades of gray), that they are soooo opposed to these things. It seems to me that anti-racism and religious toleration did not grow organically out of Catholic thought - certainly not out of the upper echelons of the Catholic hierarchy.

But I'll note you're resorting to comparing me to a Nazi, rather than even bothering to contest the fact that you rely on logically incoherent speciesism for your own position. Just because it's simpler and easier to set a black and white boundary that way doesn't mean that it makes sense. There are shades of gray and fuzzy boundaries in reality. Even for the definition of Homo sapiens, if you go back far enough in time.

Just because I recognize this, however, doesn't mean that I think it makes any more sense to define personhood by skin color, ethnicity or religion. In fact, I think my position is rather less amenable to such racist ideologies than the Catholic position.

But it's funny, I'm not the one in this situation comparing blacks and Jews to children, which, coincidentally, in the case of blacks, was one of the racist analogies used to argue that blacks should remain under the "paternalistic" care of slaveowners. Cuz you know, they're like children, helpless and not smart enough to know what's best for themselves.

So... I guess I win this round of "Who's more like a slave-owner?"
And... he plays the Nazi card. I was waiting for that.

So, @21, which is more moral in your eyes: (a) to kill both the mother AND the child; or (b) to kill only the child. Because that was the situation here; the mother's condition would have killed them both. The fact that you are supporting (a) says a lot about your thinking on this issue.
Oops, sorry - I clearly meant @22

i consider being excommunicated from the one holy catholic and apostolic church a compliment.

not to diminish sister margaret's work, at all, but she's too good for the catholic church. by all appearances here, anyway.
As a Phoenix Catholic- thank God for Sister Margaret and the other staff at St. Jo's.
Shame on Bishop Olmstead for his words. Come on, Tom, you think people need MORE reasons to hate Arizona right now?
@20, thank you...

... I was surprised it took 20 comments for someone to point this out.

The choice is not between the mother and the fetus. It is mother AND fetus or just the fetus.

The mother's illness in this case is fatal if untreated, and the only treatment is termination of the pregnancy. This fetus was never going to be a live baby.

Sister Margaret joined others in the only moral decision available: to save the life of the only one whose life could be saved - that's what doctors and nurses and hospitals are supposed to do. That's what triage is in an emergency - you don't treat the guy who won't survive if there are only enough resources for the ones who can.

Also: this was NOT historically the position of the Catholic Church. Back when women in Europe were far more likely to die in pregnancy and child-birth, most folks knew whose was the more important life to save; the woman who was already a member of her community, and possibly a mother to other children, not the baby who might not survive past infancy anyway...
@21 the problem with your drowning analogy is that it does not fit the problem. The choice is not to save one and allow the other to die. It is to save one by killing the other. The fetus is not killing the mother, her heart condition is, albeit the pregnancy is exacerbating the problem. "So should you shoot the large person in the head so he will let go of the small person?" would be more apt.

The crux of the issue for Olmstead (I assume) is whether the ends justify the means.

The reference to slavery was not to compare either side to the slaveholder but to illustrate the chasm between the two positions.

The abolitionist could not comprehend the slaveholders contention that he should be able to own another person. He saw it as an unmitigated evil. While, the slaveholder was incensed that the abolitionist would try to abrogate his rights to his own property and (in most cases) did not recognize the humanity of the slave.

The abolitionist saw his position as the morally correct position that transcended legal rights. The slaveholder saw his position as legally and economically correct and that his rights could not be superseded by another persons beliefs. Neither could accept the other's point of view and the war came.
I'm late to the party, but Lutheran is good choice for Catholics who are pro-choice. The ELCA, the largest Lutheran body in the U.S., covers elective abortions in its clergy health insurance.

And this story nauseated me when I first read it. My friends who are still a part of the Holy Mother Church (tm) still wonder why I left...