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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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  •  NOT USEFUL GUIDANCE. We assume that (3+ / 0-)
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    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

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    •  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

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        •  The hospital is an asset. (3+ / 0-)
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          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-)
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            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

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

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

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        •  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

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      •  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-)
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          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.  

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