Recently, Sister Margaret McBride, a nun at a Catholic hospital in Phoenix, was excommunicated for suggesting that a woman receive an abortion. She sat on an ethics panel at the said hospital where she heard the case of a woman who was 11 weeks pregnant. The woman had pulmonary hypertension—an increase in blood pressure in the pulmonary artery, pulmonary vein, or pulmonary capillaries—and it was found that her pregnancy “carried a nearly certain risk of death,” probably because pulmonary hypertension is exacerbated by exertion (e.g. labor). The ethics panel than recommend an abortion because they could not find any other solution of saving the pregnancy while preventing the death of the mother. Sister Margaret McBride was automatically excommunicated from the Catholic Church. Bishop Thomas J. Olmstead, head of the Phoenix archdiocese, said this:
“I am gravely concerned by the fact that an abortion was performed several months ago in a Catholic hospital in this diocese. I am further concerned by the hospital’s statement that the termination of a human life was necessary to treat the mother’s underlying medical condition.
An unborn child is not a disease. While medical professionals should certainly try to save a pregnant mother’s life, the means by which they do it can never be by directly killing her unborn child. The end does not justify the means.”
What I fail to understand is why Sister Margaret McBride is suffering these consequences because she recommended a procedure that would save a woman’s life. Would the church have rather see the mother die instead of having an abortion that could save her life? Although the threat of death was a very real one, the Church would have supported the woman dying and having her fetus live. This just does not seem logical to me whatsoever. While an unborn child is not a disease—at statement that seems completely irrelevant to this argument—the pregnancy posed a significant and fatal risk to this woman’s life. Is that not enough of a reason to warrant an abortion, no matter what side you take in the pro-life, pro-choice discourse?
Do any of you have thoughts on this?