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View Diary: Pregnant woman dies in agony as doctors do nothing by command of the Irish Catholic Church (549 comments)

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  •  That's a really extreme position. Most Catholics (23+ / 0-)

    I know, when faced with a situation where there is nothing they can do to save the fetus, will allow doctors to take steps to save the mother's life.  That is the position of the American Catholic Bishops as well:

    The Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (ERD) Directive 45, states:

    Abortion (that is, the directly intended termination of pregnancy before viability or the directly intended destruction of a viable fetus) is never permitted. Every procedure whose sole immediate effect is the termination of pregnancy before viability is an abortion, which, in its moral context, includes the interval between conception and implantation of the embryo.

    The phrase "sole immediate effect" is further explained by Directive 47 which states:

    Operations, treatments, and medications that have as their direct purpose the cure of a proportionately serious pathological condition of a pregnant woman are permitted when they cannot be safely postponed until the unborn child is viable, even if they will result in the death of the unborn child.

    In other words, it is permitted to treat directly a pathology of the mother even when this has the unintended side-effect of causing the death of her child, if this pathology left untreated would have life-threatening effects on both mother and child, but it is not permitted to terminate or gravely risk the child's life as a means of treating or protecting the mother.

    •  You are right; this is the "official" version (37+ / 0-)

      but there are priests, especially older ones, who do not follow this. I had a friend who almost died from pre-eclampsia because her husband was told by their parish priest as a good Catholic he could not "kill" the baby to save his wife. Luckily the husband came to his senses and told the priest to go perform an unnatural act on himself. Both mother and baby were saved, fortunately.

      This same priest visited another friend in the hospital after having surgery SO SHE COULD GET PREGNANT. I want to emphasize that. He told her she had better not be getting sterilized or she was going to hell! This priest died recently and I couldn't even feel sad.

      Friends don't let friends vote Republican.

      by OhioNatureMom on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 07:51:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You haven't met my (5+ / 0-)

      Sister-In-Law.  

      Too bad they don't accept women in the clergy - the Pope would appoint her to Cardinal in no time.  Or maybe leave her at the parish level, to do his ugly work where the rubber meets the road.  

    •  Great,good to hear that (16+ / 0-)

      most Catholics you know will allow doctors to actually practice medicine.
      The CC needs to get out of the hospital business now. What happened in Ireland could happen here,too.

      "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

      by tardis10 on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 07:53:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Do you want all Catholic operated hospitals (4+ / 0-)

        and health facilities to close?  

        The CC needs to get out of the hospital business now.
        That would be a pretty big hit to our health care system.  According to some counts,
        There are more than 600 Catholic health care institutions in the United States, 12% of the total, 1and about one in six Americans is treated in a Catholic health care institution each year. 2 In 2003, there were more than 15.4 million emergency room visits and more than 86 million outpatient visits to Catholic hospitals. 3
         
        •  catholic blackmail, eh? (24+ / 0-)

          accept our rules or perish of disease, that's so ... catholic of them. As if those hospitals could not be sold off to less biased, partisan-hack interests. Maybe the church can write them off as charitable deductions. Oh wait.

          Moving forward, consider the Congressional Progressive Caucus' Deal for All as a solution to the lame-duck budget and sequestration crisis. Democrats won, now use that!

          by tytalus on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 08:07:00 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  If you think they could easily be sold off, then (5+ / 0-)

            it's not a problem, I think.

            I have doubts as to whether you could find buyers for 12% of the hospitals in this country in the next couple of years, for example.  

            And I don't see it as "blackmail."  If a government puts conditions on an activity that a religion finds unacceptable and contrary to its religious beliefs, the religion SHOULD cease that activity.  So, if government imposes an absolute requirement that any operating hospital must provide abortion services, then I think that it is incumbent upon the Catholic Church to stop operating hospitals.  (My belief in the First Amendment means I wouldn't call upon them to violate their most fundamental religious beliefs, any more than I would call upon any other religion to violate their most fundamental religious beliefs.)  I'm just saying that if that happened, and they shut down all their hospitals as they should do, that would not necessarily be a good thing for the country.  

            •  So if saving this woman's life (7+ / 0-)

              violates their fundamental principles, is it acceptable that they let her die like that?

              Can a hospital that refuses to treat or refer a woman because they think it is a moral imperative for them to make sure she dies from this condition be really considered a hospital? If that's the only hospital in the area, are you comfortable with lots of women dying from dead fetuses because surgeons feel that we can leave it up to God to decide whether she lives or dies?

              Why seek medical treatment at all? Isn't it going against God's will to see a doctor when we can leave it up to God to decide whether you live or die from whatever ails you?

              Why does a dead fetus have more rights than a living woman?

              •  Let me make a couple of points (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                VClib

                1.  First, I AM NOT DEFENDING THE POSITION TAKEN BY THE HOSPITAL IN THIS DIARY.  Instead, I said that it's far more extreme than even the mainstream Catholic position in the U.S., which is that, when you know you ultimately won't save the fetus, you can do what is necessary to save the life of the mother.  That's the easiest answer of everything you've asked.  There is no defending what that hospital in the diary did.

                Can a hospital that refuses to treat or refer a woman because they think it is a moral imperative for them to make sure she dies from this condition
                2.  Second, I'll address whether I think a hospital in the U.S. could legally take such a position.  Frankly, I can't imagine that a U.S. hospital can do this. I think the government can require every hospital to provide any patient that comes through its doors with whatever emergency treatment that prevents the immediate death of the patient (and I think that is required, frankly). And if the government requires Catholic hospitals to provide whatever treatment is necessary to prevent the immediate death of a pregnant woman, given the position of the Catholic Bishops that it is permissible to save the mother's life if you know you ultimately can't save the fetus, and even if the unfortunate, unintended consequence is ending the life of the fetus, the Catholic hospitals wouldn't complain and would abide by it.  There' might be a few extremists who take the position in the diary, but -- based on my years of living in ultra-Catholic New Orleans -- I can't imagine that the mainstream Catholic Church would object, and I think the vast, vast majority of Catholic hospitals would comply rather than shut down.  (As I've said, I've certainly seen a Catholic hospital in New Orleans do exactly that kind of thing).  I think there's a legitimate government interest in that kind of emergency treatment to save the life of a patient and I think it would be constitutional.  

                3.  Third, the really problematic situation is whether you can force a Catholic hospital to provide non-emergency abortion services in a situation that is not immediately life-threatening.  Depending on how it is done, there may well be First Amendment problems with that.  

                •  The question is not whether (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  StrayCat, tardis10

                  "you can force a Catholic hospital to provide non-emergency abortion services in a situation that is not life-threatening".

                  Well, unless you want to argue slippery slope, in which case my supposition is every bit as legitimate as yours.

                  You are supporting the status quo, which in this case (and in cases in this country even) means they can deny treatment to a dying woman carrying a doomed pregnancy.

                  You can claim it can't happen here, you can pretend it's some nebulous religious freedom of a religious hierarchy being infringed on in such a way that the rights of the woman are only theoretical. I'm having trouble understanding your support of this as anything but tacit agreement that women dying in this circumstance is gonna happen, and that's, whatever...

        •  Yep,I want them sold. (18+ / 0-)

          The ever rightward/backward drifting Catholic Church needs to get the hell out of this business.
          But for starters, they should advertise widely the fact that there exists a full range of medical services that Catholic hospitals will not provide. Even if it kills you.

          "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

          by tardis10 on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 08:15:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I absolutely agree that they should (4+ / 0-)

            be up front about which services they will, or will not, provide.  

            But I disagree with you on the "selling them off" point.  I understand that is what you WANT to happen.  I just don't see any possibility of that happening as a practical matter.  You are talking about a huge, huge amount of money to buy 12% of the hospitals in this country.  As a practical matter, I just don't see any entity around right now who's willing to step up and put out that kind of money to buy 12% of the hospitals in the country.  Especially since those hospitals are often non-profit, which means that you'd have to find a for-profit company willing to put out huge sums to buy a business that doesn't make a profit.  

            •  The rubber will be meeting (7+ / 0-)

              the road on this issue sooner rather than later,I'd say. The US will probably have to have women (most likely) die needlessly in Catholic hospitals to wake up to the 21st Century. Then,either secular buyers or the government (or,a partnership of the two) will step in. It would be a far more moral position for the CC to divest themselves now.But they won't.

              (The  non-profit status of Catholic & other hospitals is a whole other can of worms. As I am sure you know)

              "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

              by tardis10 on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 08:44:48 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  eminent domain (nt) (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              tardis10
              •  You still have to pay for them. (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Ice Blue, VClib, Wednesday Bizzare

                Under eminent domain (I'm a lawyer) the government taking the property has to pay fair market value for that property.   So, the community would have to pay full fair market value for that hospital, just as if it were sold to a private owner.  All eminent domain means is that the owner has to sell to you at fair market value even if he didn't want to sell it in the first place.  It doesn't allow a government simply to seize property without "just compensation."  Taking property without "just compensation" is a violation of the Fifth Amendment.

                And most states do not have eminent domain laws that allow them to take private businesses (even paying fair market value) for the purpose of operating that business themselves.  It has to be for a "public purpose," and government operating the business itself would not qualify as a public purpose under most state laws.  

              •  Wed B - the owner is entitled to fair market value (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                tardis10, Wednesday Bizzare

                "let's talk about that"

                by VClib on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 07:47:19 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  True, true, but (0+ / 0-)

                  I can fantasize about what's "just" financially or otherwise for these people

                  Now, getting a little bit more practical, if the IRS were to give these guys a massive tax hit for their electioneering could the properties then be seized as a lien?

                  •  WB - I don't think so (0+ / 0-)

                    The IRS would never levy a tax lien on a major, legitimate church. The remedy would be to not allow donations to be tax-deductible so the tax would fall on the church members. As a church they can't be required to pay income tax.

                    However, there is no President of either party that would ever allow it's DoJ or the IRS to even start the process to investigate the tax status of the American Roman Catholic Church. The political risk is much too great.

                    "let's talk about that"

                    by VClib on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 10:29:46 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

            •  They don't want to be up front (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              tytalus, Siri, tardis10, Neon Mama, StrayCat

              More than once they have said they need the right not to refer a woman in case of an ectopic pregnancy. And what of women who live in areas that have no other hospital?

            •  They make a profit! (0+ / 0-)

              It just goes back to the Church as a "donation," or is plowed back into some other local Church charity, and is not distributed to an owner or shareholders.

              Non-profit does not mean "does not make money," it just means the amount of money they take in over and above expenses is not treated as taxable "profit" to anyone because it is not maintained or distributed to private persons as investment income or additions to their private wealth.

        •  Those hospitals are going away. They would just (10+ / 0-)

          get new owners and administrators - ones that would make medical decisions on the basis of medicine.

        •  Yes (11+ / 0-)

          Yes I do want all Catholic operated hospitals to close.

          I'm sure if it's the only hospital in the area it will be bought up by a private foundation that would love to get into an open market.  Fuck your "charity" blackmail.  This is no different from the Catholic orphanages who cried that they would have to close down if the state forces them to adopt to gay parents.  Fine. Good fucking riddance.

        •  they bought a tone of perfectly good hospitals (5+ / 0-)

          for the sole purpose of making people like you make that argument.

        •  Do you want all Catholic hospitals to close? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tardis10

          If they cannot provide the full array of health services, yes, they must be phased out of participating in the health care delivery system of this country.

          We could probably do it in about 10-15 years time. Replace them all, bit by bit. Build a hospital next door to a Catholic hospital and then withdraw the Medicare/Medicaid accreditation from the Catholic hospital. BUH-BYE.

          And as they see their role being reduced little by little, perhaps THEY would feel a bit "blackmailed" themselves and even be prompted to...uh...let's say...moderate their policies.

          Never happen, you say?

          Okay. Let's get them ALL replaced, quick as we can, with facilities that will actually provide every medical service that the American public expects.

          Stat.

          •  If this is the test, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            VClib

            most hospitals would have to close.  

            If they cannot provide the full array of health services, yes, they must be phased out of participating in the health care delivery system of this country.
            Most hospitals DON'T offer "the full array of health services.'  Just as one example, many hospitals don't offer an NICU. Many hospitals do not do cosmetic surgery.  Not all hospitals do heart transplants (nor should they).  Almost no hospital offers "the full array of health services." While there are laws that apply to what emergency services they must provide, when it comes to non-emergency services, hospitals make decisions as o which services they will, or will not, provide every day.  It may be too expensive to have a particular area, or they may choose not to do it in order to focus elsewhere, or they choose not to contract with doctors in that area, or whatever.  

            There's never been a requirement that a particular hospital provide "the full array of health services, and many do not.  Hospitals even advertise when the provide services that many other hospitals do not.  

          •  Julia - no corporation, city, county, state (0+ / 0-)

            or federal government would spend the billions that would be required to duplicate the Catholic hospital system for the sole purpose of putting them out of business. Politicians and taxpayers would never allow it. I don't know what it is like in your community but our county hospital is held together with bubble gum. Where would this flood of new money come from?

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 07:52:46 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  So, per Catholic Bishops, 'pathology' -- (13+ / 0-)

      -- can be treated, even if risky to both mother and child, if withholding treatment risks the life of both mother and child.  But --

      it is not permitted to terminate or gravely risk the child's life as a means of treating or protecting the mother.
      if treating (saving) the mother 'gravely risks' the child's life, the American Bishops say: Do not treat or protect the mother.  Let the mother die.
      •  I think they make a distinction (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib

        between things necessary to save the mother's life, and things used to "treat" or "protect" the mother.  They allow the first if the death of the fetus is not the purpose of the treatment.  If the mother's life is not directly at risk, they don't allow a doctor to intentionally terminate the life of the fetus so as to protect or treat a mother's health.

        That's logically consistent with their religious view that a fetus is a human life of equal dignity and worth with the mother's.  If -- and THAT'S A BIG IF -- you accept that premise, then it makes logical sense that, when you can only save one life, you are allowed to save the mother's life.  (Under that teaching, it's sort of a "two people are drowning and you can only save one"view).  But under their teaching, you are not allowed to sacrifice one "human life" (the fetus) so as to protect the health of another.  It's sort of "destroying one life is only acceptable when it's an absolute and immediate, but unfortunate, necessity for you to save another life."  

        So this is not exactly their position:

        if treating (saving) the mother 'gravely risks' the child's life, the American Bishops say: Do not treat or protect the mother.  Let the mother die.
        You conflated "treating" the mother with "saving" the mother's life.  The Bishops make a clear distinction between the two, I think.  
        •  They APPEAR to make a distinction (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tardis10, orlbucfan, Siri, StrayCat

           Here's the larger quote I based my comment on:

          Operations, treatments, and medications that have as their direct purpose the cure of a proportionately serious pathological condition of a pregnant woman are permitted when they cannot be safely postponed until the unborn child is viable, even if they will result in the death of the unborn child.

          In other words, it is permitted to treat directly a pathology of the mother even when this has the unintended side-effect of causing the death of her child, if this pathology left untreated would have life-threatening effects on both mother and child, but it is not permitted to terminate or gravely risk the child's life as a means of treating or protecting the mother.

          Two points here.  

          1. (italics above) I wrote that "pathology can be treated, even if risky to both mother and child, if withholding treatment risks the life of both mother and child."  In this, fetal death as an " unintended side-effect" of treatment is permissible.

          Contrast 1 with the condition slipped in after the 'but':

          2. (bold above) I wrote "if treating (saving) the mother 'gravely risks' the child's life, the American Bishops say: Do not treat or protect the mother.  Let the mother die."

           

          but it is not permitted to terminate or gravely risk the child's life as a means of treating or protecting the mother.
          The Bishop's statement says quite clearly:  Do not treat or protect the mother if treating or protecting with '"terminate or gravely risk the child's life."  I stand by my statement.
          •  We just read it differently. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            VClib

            I'm in New Orleans -- a very very very Catholic city -- and the Catholics here interpret it the way I do.  There's a very strong Catholic school system here, and what they teach is no secret.  The Catholics here certainly believe they can't terminate a fetus' life to "treat" the mother or "protect" the mother's health.  But they certainly believe that you can do what is absolutely necessary to keep the mother from dying, especially if (in a situation like that in the diary) there is no way to save the fetus no matter what you do.  While there may be some hard core types who believe that, even if you can't do anything to save the fetus, you can't act to save a mother's life as long as there is a heartbeat, I don't read the Bishop's statement that way and the vast majority of Catholics here in New Orleans don't.

        •  That's where you're wrong (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tardis10, orlbucfan, StrayCat

          Again

          it is not permitted to terminate or gravely risk the child's life as a means of treating or protecting the mother.
          They are allowed to treat an unrelated pathology e.g. cancer, even if the surgery/chemo/radiation threatens the fetus. The treatment must be meant to cure something that is otherwise fatal and can't be postponed past viability. The treatment cannot be the termination of the pregnancy. They are not allowed to intercede when there is a fetal heartbeat present. They simply will not terminate no matter what the consequences to the mother.

          "Compassion is the radicalism of our time." ~ Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama -7.88, -6.21

          by Siri on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 09:05:29 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  We are talking about two different things (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            VClib

            I agree that your statement appears to reflect the views expressed in this hospital in Ireland.

            On the other hand, I quoted (in a comment above) the statement of the Catholic Bishops as to how they apply principles in the United States.  And their position is not as extreme as the hospital in Ireland.  

            •  This is not something I wanted to discuss (22+ / 0-)

              but I'm SO angry right now that I feel I must.You are SO wrong. It happened to me at Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen Park Illinois. I was 8 weeks pregnant and bleeding with severe abdominal pain. They did an ultrasound, they showed me the ultrasound and the fetal heartbeat and said they could not intercede as long as it was present. I remember my sister yelling at the doctor in the hallway that they would let me hemorrhage to death. They told her they would not interceded as long as there was a heartbeat. I left that hospital. I did get my termination and by the time they did the D&C I had lost 75% of the pregnancy.

              That hospital could have killed me. I am grateful I was able to leave and save my own life. Catholics should not be in the OB/GYN business at all. Let them run all other aspects of hospitals but they have absolutely no respect for women.

              Just stop trying to defend the indefensible.

              "Compassion is the radicalism of our time." ~ Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama -7.88, -6.21

              by Siri on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 09:31:47 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  That's a horrible story (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                VClib

                and I'm sorry it happened to you. Yes, I agree (and I said) that there are some "hard core" types that do take this position.  All I pointed out is that this position that you described is an extreme position -- more extreme than the position taken by the Catholic Bishops and more extreme taken by all the Catholics in my experience here in very very very Catholic New Orleans.  The more "mainstream position" both in the statement of the Bishops and in my experience, most Catholics (and as it is taught in the Catholic schools that are ubiquitous here)  is that if it was necessary to save your life, they should have done what was necessary to stop the bleeding. I've had a relative in a Catholic hospital here where that is, in fact, what happened.  

                I am certainly not defending the position of those who dealt with you.  There certainly are some people like that out there, and I am pointing out how extreme they are -- more extreme than the "mainstream" Catholic teaching as I understand it.  

        •  Actually, there was the case of a nun (6+ / 0-)

          who was excommunicated a few years ago for  being on the ethics board of a hospital and voting to allow an abortion where the woman had extreme high blood pressure and was likely to die eventually (though not immediately) without an abortion.  It wasn't even a Catholic hospital,  but the nun was excommunicated anyway because they didn't view the situation as close enough to death to justify the abortion.

          I also suspect they wouldn't permit an abortion if a pregnant woman were diagnosed with cancer, and either needed an abortion to begin chemo. I am not even sure they'd permit her to begin chemo without the abortion since the fetus would certainly die from the chemo.

          WOmen simply don't matter to the Catholic Church's hierarchy--except as incubators on feet.  There have been encyclicals  pushing for a decent wage for men--not because they deserve it but because it would allow more women to stay home as soley Mommies. It never occurs to these celibate old men that a woman might WAT to work as well as be a mother. They  see women as solely mothers.

          The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

          by irishwitch on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 11:46:21 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  NOT USEFUL GUIDANCE. We assume that (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      erush1345, Hyuga, happymisanthropy

      doctors really don't give a shit about abortions and would use the weasel words to do what they wanted to do anyway, giving both the doctors AND the bishiops an easy way out.

      .   We can't assume that's the case.  Vague directives are just as likely to lead to a wrong call the other way and causing a theologically unsupportable death, too.

      Besides, in Ireland it's the law supported by the Church, not the Church, that calls the shots.  

      One piece of free advice to the GOP: Drop the culture wars, explicitly.

      by Inland on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 08:11:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think the alternative is for all (4+ / 0-)

        Catholic hospitals in the U.S. to shut down.  If you want to impose a a requirement that all hospitals -- including Catholic hospitals -- must provide services that violate the fundamental teachings of that religion, it would be incumbent on those Catholic hospitals to shut down.  (If you believe in the First Amendment, you cannot credibly argue that they somehow are required to keep operating hospitals in a way that violates their religion.)  

        As I said above, while forcing all Catholic hospitals to shut down would make a point, that would certainly mean a pretty devastating hit to our health care system in the short term.  

        •  Catholic hospitals are largely indistinguishable (13+ / 0-)

          in any good way.   Aside from being owned by orders, there's no discernable difference except when the crap about abortion hits the fan.   I don't even know that they take more charity.  They aren't REQUIRED to.

          A catholic hospital could be transferred to community hospital status without missing a beat.  You wouldn't even have to change management.  

          One piece of free advice to the GOP: Drop the culture wars, explicitly.

          by Inland on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 08:25:59 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The hospital is an asset. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            erush1345, SpamNunn, VClib

            Someone would have to pay for it.  That's the issue.  Most communities can't afford to buy the hospital.  It's not a matter of the Catholic Church just handing it over and saying, "it's yours."  There's often substantial debt tied to that asset, debt that is serviced by the operational revenue.  The community would have to not only take the asset but assume the debt and pay for any equity that has accrued.  Most communities aren't in a position to do that, especially when the business is not a money-maker.  

            If that could happen, great.  I just don't see a lot of evidence that communities have the resources and desires to buy and operate hospitals on that scale. I think that for most communities, that's just not practical.  Most of them are so cash strapped I just don't see it happening.

            •  If abortion services are mandated as a condition (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Neon Mama, StrayCat

              to receiving federal moneys in medicare or medicaid and whatever, and the orders decide to divest themselves, someone will buy it.  Nobody is going to make LESS money than an institution that is NOT treating women like the one mentioned in the diary.

              One piece of free advice to the GOP: Drop the culture wars, explicitly.

              by Inland on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 10:24:59 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well, you couldn't mandate it for medicare (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                VClib

                because being on Medicare is pretty inconsistent with needing an abortion - -most women in the 60's can no longer conceive.  

                If you mandated that any hospital that receives Medicaid money must offer abortion services, there would be two issues, one constitutional and one practical.  Constitutionally, to make a requirement like that, the government would have to show why it has a legitimate interest in having every hospital that accepts Medicaid offer abortion services -- it would have to have solid evidence that many women on Medicaid need abortions and want to obtain abortions, but cannot find facilities that offer abortion services.  In addition to showing the problem, because it would probably be seen as infringing on a religious belief, you'd probably have to show that requiring every hospital that accepts Medicaid to perform abortions is the least restrictive way to fix that problem.  Second, you would ALSO have to show that the rule was not intended to target Catholic hospitals.  That might be more difficult.  But the First Amendment means that government cannot make those kinds of decisions because it wants to target a particular religious point of view  (That's why I said you probably couldn't link it to Medicare -- there's no legitimate government reason why any hospital that accepts Medicare has to have abortion services, and that would pretty clearly be an attempt to target Catholic hospitals, thus unconstitutional.)  

                The practical consequence is that if it's Medicaid, many Catholic hospitals would stop accepting Medicaid patients.  

                •  That is incorrect (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Neon Mama, Julia Grey, OrdinaryIowan

                  There are a number of serious conditions that can qualify a much younger woman for medicare. And in fact, for a woman with those conditions to get pregnant could indeed be life-threatening. But yeah. Let them die to maintain ideological purity. It is a fundamental right of religious hierarchy to enforce practice of its beliefs on non-members. Just ask Torquemada.

                  •  You are misstating what I said. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    VClib

                    In order to mandate that every institution that accepts Medicare perform a certain kind of service, you'd have to show a legitimate government interest -- like there are a lot of women on Medicare who want/need abortion services and who can't find any provider who offers them.  I don't think that's something you can show.  That's why I said you can't tie it to Medicare.  There are not huge numbers of Women on Medicare who want/need abortions and can't find them.    

                    Even if you could, because there's a First Amendment issue in there, you'd have to show that making every hospital that accepts Medicare also perform abortions is the least restrictive way to solve that problem.

                    Finally, to satisfy the First Amendment issue, you'd have to show that this isn't just a pretext for making Catholic hospitals provide abortions that they won't perform on religious grounds.  You might be able to do that with Medicaid, but almost any judge who looks at a rule that says, "any hospital that accepts Medicare must provide abortion services" is going to conclude that the reason for that rule is to make Catholic hospitals perform a service that they have a religious objection to.  That would be clearly, clearly unconstitutional.  

                    •  Again, you are twisting the facts (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Julia Grey, tardis10

                      to make it sound like letting women die is a morally legitimate position, as though there is no no space between "no abortions, even to save a woman's life" and "all abortions under any circumstance". You don't want to admit it, but there's actually an option to save the mother's life, as in not standing by, doing nothing, and letting her to die.

                      All these hospitals do D&Cs. That's a fact. Stone cold fact. They just do, and it's an operation that elderly women do in fact have. It's the exact same operation that would have saved her life.

                      Isn't it in Georgia they tried to pass a law saying that a Catholic hospital could not only refuse to provide abortions to women who were definitely going to be killed by the pregnancy with no chance of a live birth, they could refuse to refer her or tell her that she could get the operation elsewhere, but they could lie to her about her prognosis to keep her from seeking help that might save her life.  How does that work for you? How many women dying from doomed pregnancies is the right number?

                      This isn't a theoretical infringement on the right of the male hierarchy of the Catholic Church to decide for morally inferior women how they need to live their lives. It's a death sentence that you are supporting, one they would enforce on all women if they were able. There's your slippery slope.

                      Tell me again how long you've been practicing medicine.

                      •  Catholics have no religious objection to (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        VClib

                        a D&C if a woman is not pregnant.  So if an elderly woman for medical reasons needs a D&C, no Catholic hospital I know has a problem with that. Catholics generally have no religious opposition, for example, to a D&C after a miscarriage, because the miscarriage has terminated the pregnancy.   See for example, here.  

                        It is the intentional termination of a pregnancy that Catholics find objectionable. It is only when the D&C is used to intentionally terminate a pregnancy that Catholics find it objectionable.  

                        And I don't know how many times I have to say that Catholic hospitals must be required to provide necessary medical treatment in an emergency, life-threatening situation.  You simply continue to deliberately misrepresent what I say.  

                        And I can say this, too, and you probably will ignore it as well because it doesn't fit your narrative:  I am not talking about whether a woman is entitled to get specific medical care. The fact that I, as a woman, have a right to a particular service does not mean I have a right to make a specific person provide that service to me.  I am a lawyer.  If you are arrested for a crime, you have a right to a lawyer.  You don't have a right to force ME to provide that service to you.  If you are arrested for check fraud, and you come to see me to represent you, even though you have a constitutional right to a lawyer, I can refuse to represent you - because it violates my religion, or because you won't pay me enough, or because I don't like the color of your car, or because of whatever reason I want.  Even if it's a small town and you don't have other options.  Even though you have a constitutional right to a lawyer, you don't have a constitutional right to have ME provide that constitutionally-guaranteed service to you.  

                          I am talking about whether a specific health care provider constitutionally, in a non-emergency, non-life threatening situation can be forced to provide medical care that directly contradicts his/her religious beliefs, or whether constitutionally he/she should be able to say, "we don't provide that particular service here," the same way a medical provider can say, in many other non-emergency, non-life threatening situations, "we don't provide that service here." The same way I, as a lawyer, can say, "I don't do criminal defense work."  The question that I think is constitutionally problematic is whether a hospital, or a health care provider, can decide which services for non-emergency, non-life-threatening situations it will, or will not, provide, or whether government can say, "you can decide that if it's based on business considerations, but you can't decide that if you are going to make the decision on religious grounds.   "

                        •  Catholic hospitals are buying up non-Catholic (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          OrdinaryIowan, tardis10

                          hospitals and gradually shrinking the number of places where full services are available to women.

                          If the Catholic hospital is the only hospital within, say, 100 miles, why shouldn't they be required to fulfill all the medical needs in their area of service to retain their federal accreditation?

                          I think it's time we started trying to squeeze out the partial-service Catholic hospitals the same way they're trying to squeeze out the secular ones.

                          This government is not supposed to support specific religions or beliefs, especially at the expense of its citizens' lives and health. So it should stop supporting religious hospitals which DO NOT DO THEIR JOBS.

                          •  Almost no hospital provides "full services" (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            VClib

                            They all generally provide emergency services, but other than that, they all make some decisions as to what kinds of services they will, or won't, provide.  Few, if any, hospital offers every kind of medical care that anyone could possibly want, as I said in another response to you.  

                          •  While you are right that no (0+ / 0-)

                            hospital provides every service,the idea that Catholic hospitals are denying quite basic services,services that every hospital in this country would agree are medically routine, is a travesty.

                            Under the ACA,the government will have coverage guidelines that must be met for an insurer to be part of the network. Similarly,we should demand the same be done for hospital accreditation. Certain medical procedures must be provided by a hospital if it wants to be able to bill the government at all.  We also have the recent example of states making clinics that provide 1st trimester abortion comply with rules/regs designed for much more complex medical procedures. So obviously,such laws can be written.
                            Your blind faith that Catholic hospitals generally provide needed services isn't enough.

                            "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

                            by tardis10 on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 07:53:53 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  Right. People can go on Medicare for DISABILITY (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    tardis10

                    as well as age, and can get pregnant.

                    In fact, many bedridden young women on Medicare have been raped and impregnated by their caretakers, and I do not doubt that one or two of those pregnancies have been life-threatening to a seriously disabled woman.

              •  Inland - isn't Medicaid prohibited from paying (0+ / 0-)

                for abortion services? Doesn't the Hyde Amendment only allow any federal government program to pay for abortions on a extremely limited basis? It would seem surprising to require hospitals that serve Medicare and Medicare patients to perform abortions, when the federal government has a policy that they won't pay for them.

                "let's talk about that"

                by VClib on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 07:40:46 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  Inland - who would pay for it? (0+ / 0-)

            Catholic hospitals are operating businesses worth millions.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 07:42:57 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  How far would you really go? (0+ / 0-)

          Should women be permitted any health care, if it's up to God to make the decisions whether they live or die?

          •  Wow, how disingenous. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            StrayCat

            Nobody is talking about whether women should "be permitted" certain health care.  Certainly not me.  

            And I've made clear to you over and over that I think that Catholic hospitals can, and should, be made to provide necessary medical care in the case of an emergency, life-threatening situation.  

    •  The key words here are "will allow... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      StrayCat

      ...doctors to take steps to save the mother's life".  They're not allowed to "allow" jack shit.  It's none of their fucking business to begin with one way or the other.

      •  If it's in their hospital, then yes, it is (0+ / 0-)

        "their business."   A hospital is responsible (legally and ethically) for what goes in that hospital.  That's why, if a doctor in a hospital makes a mistake, you can not only sue the doctor, you can also sue the hospital.  So, yes, what goes on in the hospital is the business of the hospital and its owners.  

        A hospital can, for example, not to allow certain kinds of procedures to be performed in that hospital because they don't want to buy the equipment necessary, or they don't want to keep a doctor on staff with the necessary expertise, or whatever.  A hospital can even decide that it won't, for example, do Lasik surgery because, given their overhead, it's a money loser.  Or because it gets sued too often from people who had the surgery.  Or whatever.  

        •  You're citing thie position of Catholic Bishops (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mathGuyNTulsa, orlbucfan, StrayCat

          And that's what I'm responding to.  They have no right to make proclamations about what they'll "allow" when it comes to medical procedures.  And if some procedures squick them out they shouldn't be running medical centers in the first place.  So no, it is absolutely not their business and you better stop apologizing for them because you look like an ass doing so.

          •  Of course it's their business (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nextstep

            Hospital owners make decisions all the time about what procedures will, or will not, be performed at their hospitals -- and for all kinds of reasons.  No hospital is equipped to provide every kind of possible medical treatment out there, and no hospital offers every kind of conceivable medical service.  For example, many hospitals do not have NICU's.  Some hospitals focus on certain types of treatments (M.D. Anderson?) and have facilities others don't, but that may limit the range of services they provide.  The owners of hospitals make decisions all the time not to provide certain medical services.  In the U.S., they must all provide emergency life-saving treatment (like when someone comes in the emergency room about to die), but they can all make decisions about what procedures they will, or will not, make available at their hospital.  As a general matter, what happens in the hospital absolutely is the business of the owners of that hospital.  

            What I think you are saying is that, while it's ok for hospitals to make decisions not to provide certain services based on some business reason (like it's too expensive to provide the equipment or it's not profitable or they get sued too much), you don't want them to be able to make that  same kind of decision based on a religious reason.  That, of course, would be unconstitutional under the First Amendment.  You probably could, constitutionally, require that all hospitals provide certain services (like emergency room treatment) without violating the constitution.  But in order to require all hospitals to provide some non-emergency service (suppose government said, for example, that every hospital had to provide Lasik surgery), you'd have to show some legitimate government reason in requiring that this particular service was available at every single hospital in the country (easy to do for emergency services, not so much for others) AND that the government directive was not specifically designed to target religious beliefs.  If, for example, a particular religion opposed Lasik surgery on religious grounds, and government didn't like that and passed a rule that every single hospital in the country had to provide Lasik surgery, that rule would have to (1) be based on a legitimate government interest in having that particular service available at every single hospital in the country (why that service, when many other services are not available at every hospital) and (2) that the rule wasn't directed toward targeting a particular religious belief (First Amendment).  

          •  And coffeetalk is of the opinion that (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            StrayCat

            Catholic hospitals have the right to deny life-saving procedures to women.

            •  You are being deliberately disingenuous. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              buddabelly

              I just provided a very long response to you above saying exactly the opposite -- that Catholic hospitals cannot deny life-saving procedures to women.  

              I was very very clear -- I think Catholic hospitals have to provide emergency, life-saving procedures to women.  And I said that in my experience, the Catholic hospitals here in New Orleans will do that.  

              What I said was problematic was whether the government can constitutionally force them to provide a non-emergency service to treat a situation that is not immediately life threatening, when that service violates their religion.  

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