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Religious Men in Catholic Hospitals have No Business Making Decisions for Women

Take one case detailed to medical sociologist Lori Freedman by the doctor involved. A woman 16 weeks pregnant with twins was diagnosed with a molar pregnancy, which can lead to cancer, and “didn’t want to carry the pregnancy further.” She went to the hospital with vaginal bleeding, but unluckily for her, it was a Catholic one. There, the ethics committee decided that a uterine evacuation was tantamount to abortion, because there was a slim chance one of the fetuses would survive. According to another doctor who witnessed the situation, “The clergy who made the decision Googled molar pregnancy.” – That might seem obvious, but in many Catholic hospitals, “ethics committees” make the rules — and endanger women []

Graphic provided by reader ladywalker68.

Graphic provided by reader ladywalker68.

IS THERE anything that’s been more destructive to women than the ruling class of organized religion?

I say this as a rebel Episcopalian, who now prefers daily meditation, even if I remain a member of my church. At least Episcopalians have a wing who embrace women’s freedoms, respect gay rights, and are generally non-judgmental.

The Catholic Church is a scourge, as is all other fundamentalist religions who believe men have the right to make life and death decisions about women’s bodies.

When Lori Stodghill died at the hands of a Catholic Church, then was sued for wrongful death, their initial response was to make the argument that under state law an embryo wasn’t a person until it was born alive. They were exactly correct, but religious zealots raised such an uproar the Church reversed itself.

Religion doesn’t belong in any part of medicine, but they are allowed there, which is costing women their lives. Catholic healthcare is particularly dangerous to women, because religious men are overruling trained doctors. It’s morally wrong and we should fight this intrusion into reproductive health care where religion has no place, unless the women herself chooses it as her guide. If she’s about to die, does anyone think she would?

No religious institution should have a say in women’s self-determination.

Is this the 21st century or not?

“The country sort of slept through the ’90s, not realizing that Catholic healthcare massively expanded,” Freedman told Salon. According to the Catholic Healthcare association, they treat one in six U.S. patients. An NIH-funded national survey found last year that 52 percent of OB-GYNs at Catholic hospitals have clashed with those committees over the proper course of care, including the treatment of ectopic pregnancy and the provision of birth control. []

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3 Responses to Religious Men in Catholic Hospitals have No Business Making Decisions for Women

  1. Joyce Arnold February 7, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

    This kind of “decision making” is a form of abuse — emotional, mental, psychological, with close if not sometimes direct connections to physical.

  2. Cujo359 February 7, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

    Hospitals and universities are not churches, whether or not they’re owned by a religion. There’s no reason they shouldn’t be subject to the same laws and professional ethics everyone else is. If they don’t like those laws, they can sell their businesses.

    • secularhumanizinevoluter February 8, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

      The blizzard threatening Boston must be the result of Hell freezing over as I agree 1000%!!!

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