ACLU Sues, Claiming Catholic Hospitals Put Women At Risk

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Listen to the story at the link below

The American Civil Liberties Union has decided to go directly to the source of its unhappiness with the way women are treated in Catholic hospitals. It's suing the nation's Catholic bishops.

The ACLU and the ACLU of Michigan have filed suit in federal court in Michigan charging that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops forces hospitals to deliver what amounts to substandard medical care.

Directly at issue are the bishops' "Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services," which among other things forbid Catholic hospitals to perform abortions, even if the pregnant woman's life or health is at risk.

"It's about rules that tie the hands of doctors at Catholic facilities," says ACLU Deputy National Legal Director Louise Melling.

The case involves a mother of three from Muskego, Mich., named Tamesha Means. In December 2010, when she was 18 weeks pregnant, her water broke. A friend drove her to the nearest hospital, Mercy Health Partners, where she was told she was likely to lose the baby. But she was not told that the hospital would not do the therapeutic abortion she would get in a non-Catholic facility. She was given medication to stop contractions and sent home. She returned to the hospital later, bleeding, running a fever and in pain, and begged them to help her.

 

"And they proceeded on with, 'Well, you know, Tamesha, there's nothing that we can do to help you,' " she says. Means said she was unaware that it was a Catholic facility.

Eventually, as the hospital was preparing to discharge her again, she delivered the very premature infant, who died after a few hours.

Written By: Julie Rovner
continue to source article at npr.org

21 COMMENTS

  1. barbaric

    and proof that they are serial liars. you can’t claim to allow terminations in life-threatening situations then excommunicate anyone who tries it.

    suing is the way forward. all that wealth must be embarrassing to any organisation that harps on about helping the poor. I like the idea of suing indivdual bishops as well, the vatican will ultimately pay but less likely to use politics to worm its way out

  2. This is just the tip of the iceberg. If the ACLU wants to have job security for the next century, it could sue the RCC for a myriad of transgressions, criminal actions, and out and out prejudicial treatment of everyone, even catholics.

    Then after dressing down this elitist group of thugs, the ACLU could turn its power and eyes towards all religions that propagate hate.
    Wouldn’t it be nice?

    • In reply to #2 by crookedshoes:
      >

      Then after dressing down this elitist group of thugs, the ACLU could turn its power and eyes towards all religions that propagate hate. Wouldn’t it be nice?

      Unfortunately the RCC probably has more funding, more inclination to spend it on lawyers, and negligible interest in the welfare of the patients or the better use of money, when defending dogma is involved.

      • Sadly, you are correct. But, the church has been saying “fuck you” to so many people over the years, it is actually nice to see a group with some authority say back “NO, fuck you”.

        This has been a long time coming and I’d like to look back some years from now and have it be the first in a long line of suits against the tyranny and destructive nature of these giant “churches”.

        In reply to #3 by Alan4discussion:

        In reply to #2 by crookedshoes:

        Then after dressing down this elitist group of thugs, the ACLU could turn its power and eyes towards all religions that propagate hate. Wouldn’t it be nice?

        Unfortunately the RCC probably has more funding, more inclination to spend it on lawyers, and negligible inte…

  3. We never have to wait long before these fekwits astonish us once again. While I like having the scum dragged through the courts do the bishops actually have any assets to sue for? Wasn’t it so long ago the RCC was trying to say that priests aren’t employed? In a blatant attempt to wriggle out of vicarious liability on the actions of their employees? Liars and Imbeciles.

  4. Doesn’t Roman Catholicism harm everyone whether they’re in hospital or not?

    Suing them won’t make any difference, they’ll simply jack up the defence funds and carry on as usual.

    No, they just need to learn how to live natural lives.

  5. So what happens when Jehovahs Witnesses decide to start buying up hospitals, and offer no blood transfusions?

    It should be a basic principle of medical ethics that doctors will in all cases always ignore any religious strictures whatsoever; otherwise they are not fit to practice.

    Doctors should not be allowed opt-outs of any sort on “matters of conscience”. If that’s the way they feel, they should not be doctors. And they should not be allowed to graduate from medical schools.

    And bishops who instruct hospitals what procedures they may or may not carry out should be prosecuted for practicing medicine without a license.

    • In reply to #7 by Stevehill:

      Doctors should not be allowed opt-outs of any sort on “matters of conscience”. If that’s the way they feel, they should not be doctors. And they should not be allowed to graduate from medical schools.

      Gonna have to disagree slightly with your wording there – conscience is the final check against doing things because it’s what everyone else is doing (or not doing). I agree that religious dogma should have no place in healthcare but this case is awful (and IMO gives the legal case for negligence some weight) because the hospital rules encourage bad medicine. The whole hospital may not have contained a single doctor willing to evacuate the fetus, but they damn well should have spelled out the need and referred her on to somewhere that might.

      • In reply to #19 by Docjitters:

        In reply to #7 by Stevehill:

        Doctors should not be allowed opt-outs of any sort on “matters of conscience”. If that’s the way they feel, they should not be doctors. And they should not be allowed to graduate from medical schools.

        Gonna have to disagree slightly with your wording there – conscience is the final check against doing things because it’s what everyone else is doing (or not doing). I agree that religious dogma should have no place in healthcare but this case is awful (and IMO gives the legal case for negligence some weight) because the hospital rules encourage bad medicine. The whole hospital may not have contained a single doctor willing to evacuate the fetus, but they damn well should have spelled out the need and referred her on to somewhere that might.

        Surely, this is the argument for an independent professional body, having an obligatory code of conduct which is independent of management and personal opinions.
        Dr. Andrew Wakefield was stuck off the UK medical register for disreputable anti-vax conduct – but has gone to the land of the “free to abuse”!

        On 28 January 2010, a five-member statutory tribunal of the GMC found three dozen charges proved, including four counts of dishonesty and 12 counts involving the abuse of developmentally challenged children.[9] The panel ruled that Wakefield had “failed in his duties as a responsible consultant”, acted both against the interests of his patients, and “dishonestly and irresponsibly” in his published research.[10][11][12] The Lancet immediately and fully retracted his 1998 publication on the basis of the GMC’s findings, noting that elements of the manuscript had been falsified.[13] Wakefield was struck off the Medical Register in May 2010, with a statement identifying dishonest falsification in The Lancet research,[14] and is barred from practising medicine in the UK.

  6. Religions shouldn’t be allowed into the area of public health in the first place. I suppose it has come to the stage whereby the whole system would collapse if you were to remove religious investment, as with schools? To my mind a series of very expensive lawsuits should cause them to reconsider these primitive practices, though they may have enough funds to ride it out.

  7. According to the facts presented in the story, this was clearly a case where an abortion was the right thing to do. Generally I am against abortion, but in a case like this I would definitely side with the mother’s right to be properly informed, and to receive the appropriate treatment. The fact is the phoetus died anyway, and the mother was lucky not to die.

    Meanwhile light years away in some theological Dreamland, Catholic Bishops and theologians pontificate about health care issues including contraception, abortion, stem cell research, and of course how to cover up the abuse carried out on innocent children by their clergy.

    Bastards !

  8. The woman in this case was not aware that she was in a Catholic hospital. That the hospital did not make its peculiar philosophical identity known to all its patients means that it was posing as a normal public hospital where whatever legal medical advice and treatment possible would be available. Just such deception, even if not consciously carried out as such by the staff at the time, seems to be grounds for suing the hospital. Obviously any nonstandard limitations on medical practice offered at a hospital are matters that every patient entering the hospital needs to know. But it may be more effective and straightforward simply to forbid Catholic hospitals to deal with anything to do with obstetrics.

  9. Garnett, law professor at Notre` Dame: I wonder if the ACLU’s real motive…a strange notion…that is a stretch

    Could you have downplayed the lawsuit any further?? Nice try – fail.

    Listen bub, have you heard the expression “don’t bring a knife to a gunfight” – if it weren’t for the ‘holier than thou’ regulations, the lawsuit would be moot. You forced us into an offensive position.

  10. As an addenum, to the risk aimed at women over this case,… Given the recent trend of requiring abortion facilities to have admitting priviledges at hospitals in order to serve the public, then all hospitals should also be required to admit a licensed doctor from those facilities at the same cost as they charge any other doctor that has admitting priviledges. The law should apply to all medical services if it’s that important for the health and welfare of the public and not just abortion providers. That would really show how committed the politicians are to the health of its electorate and not just trying to side-step Roe V. Wade in the name of protecting innocent women.

  11. Some medical facilities don’t have an Accident and Emergency department. I have seen one that has large signs saying so, and directions on where to go to find the nearest one that does. These Catholic Hospitals need, at the very least, a big sign explaining that they don’t offer the full range of emergency services for those who are pregnant, and directions on where to go instead.

    Not a full solution, but part of one. Meanwhile the lawsuit is a good start, I hope it succeeds, and reaps huge amounts in punitive damages, enough perhaps to fund a fully functional A&E unit adjacent to but not controlled by each Catholic Hospital.

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