To quote my mother: "It's like they're trying to make Lutherans of us all."
Sister Margaret was a senior administrator of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix. A 27-year-old mother of four arrived late last year, in her third month of pregnancy. According to local news reports and accounts from the hospital and some of its staff members, the mother suffered from a serious complication called pulmonary hypertension. That created a high probability that the strain of continuing pregnancy would kill her.
“In this tragic case, the treatment necessary to save the mother’s life required the termination of an 11-week pregnancy,” the hospital said in a statement. “This decision was made after consultation with the patient, her family, her physicians, and in consultation with the Ethics Committee.”
Sister Margaret was a member of that committee. She declined to discuss the episode with me, but the bishop of Phoenix, Thomas Olmstead, ruled that Sister Margaret was “automatically excommunicated” because she assented to an abortion.
“The mother’s life cannot be preferred over the child’s,” the bishop’s communication office elaborated in a statement.
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!