Several months ago, a child 11 weeks from conception was killed by abortion at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, a Catholic institution that operates under the auspices of the Diocese of Phoenix. The decision to abort the child — putatively because the mother’s life was in danger — had been approved by Sister Margaret McBride, a member of the hospital’s ethics committee.
Last week, Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmsted condemned the hospital’s decision to approve the abortion, stating, “The direct killing of an unborn child is always immoral, no matter the circumstances, and it cannot be permitted in any institution that claims to be authentically Catholic.”
In his statement, Bishop Olmsted also reiterated the Church’s teaching that a Catholic who formally cooperates in the procurement of an abortion is automatically excommunicated, and noted that in his role as Bishop of the diocese, he — and, implicitly, no other individual or hospital ethics board, etc. — is the “authoritative voice on faith and morals in the Diocese of Phoenix”.
My only observation about his statement is that it could have been somewhat more clear that from a medical standpoint, procured abortion is never necessary to save the life of the mother.
Nonetheless, Bishop Olmsted is to be commended for his strong statement in defense of the Catholic Church’s clear teaching that direct abortion can never be morally justified.