Reported by MSNBC on December 3, 2013 the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is being sued by the ACLU after denying a woman reproductive healthcare, a common and growing issue in not only the United States, but around the world.
This case is unique in the fact that the ACLU is not suing the doctors or the hospital directly; rather they are suing the Bishops for issuing doctrines that bar such life saving procedures.
According to NPR:
Directly at issue are the bishops' "Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services," which among other things forbid Catholic hospitals to perform abortions, even if the pregnant woman's life or health is at risk.
"It's about rules that tie the hands of doctors at Catholic facilities," says ACLU Deputy National Legal Director Louise Melling.
The exact case details according to MSNBC:
The suit is on behalf of Tamesha Means, a mother of three who was 18 weeks pregnant when her water broke. At Mercy Health Partners (MHP), the Catholic hospital where she sought care (the only hospital within miles), no one told her her fetus had almost no chance of survival under the circumstances, or that she was at risk for serious infection if labor was not induced to terminate the pregnancy. Instead, she was sent home and told to come back a week later.
Sadly is does not stop here as Means did contract two serious infection during this whole ordeal. Thankfully they did not take her life.
According to the complaint, her condition worsened as repeat visits to the Catholic hospital failed to result in adequate treatment. "As she waited to be sent home for the third time, the feet of the fetus breached her cervix and she began to deliver. The baby died shortly after birth. MHP then told Ms. Means she needed to make funeral arrangements."
This is unacceptable medical care. The very second Means walked into the emergency room and it was clear to doctors that this pregnancy was no longer viable and the mothers health and life were at risk they should have induced labor.
Instead, the doctors were forced to make their decision based on a religious doctrine that ignored the well being of the mother and put her life at risk unnecessarily.
Catholic run hospitals must not be allowed to run their own doctrines that allow women to suffer when there is life saving procedures readily available. No religious institution should have the ability to tie a doctor’s hands through any directive based solely on religious beliefs.
This also highlights a problem with the concept of private hospitals who do not have to adhere, or at the very least, do not believe they have to adhere to the laws that govern all public hospitals, put patience lives at risk, either for religious beliefs as in this case or in cases of turning maximum profit and denying extended care for the uninsured.
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