The ACLU sues the bishops; A priest's open letter to Cardinal Timothy Dolan

Matt C. Abbott
December 5, 2013
© Matt C. Abbott
Reproduced with Permission
Renew America

Wonders never cease: The pro-abortion American Civil Liberties Union is suing the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops "alleging that the USCCB's directives prohibiting abortions in Catholic hospitals are equal to medical negligence."


The lawsuit focuses on the case of Tamesha Means, who in 2010 was brought to Mercy Health Partners, a Catholic-affiliated hospital in Muskegon County, Michigan after her water broke at 18 weeks.

In the lawsuit, Means claims she visited Mercy three times after her water broke, and that by the third visit she had an infection, but the hospital tried to discharge her anyway. During the discharge she began to give birth, at which point she was treated. The baby died shortly after birth.

The ACLU claims that the appropriate care in the case would have been to induce labor to avoid the chance of infection, since the baby had a slim chance of survival. But because of the USCCB's Ethical & Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, it claims, the hospital was prevented from treating Means in the proper way. Because Means' baby was pre-term, inducing labor would have virtually ensured the death of the child....

Click here to read the LSN article in its entirety.

I asked Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, to comment on the aforementioned story.

Father Pavone responded as follows:

First of all, it would be a better business decision for the ACLU to start suing all the abortion clinics that continue to maim and kill women thanks not only to the dangers of the procedure itself, but to the shoddy, Gosnell-like conditions that are prevalent across this country. Politically, this suit against the USCCB is another tool for abortion supporters to use to distract from the far greater numbers of women harmed and killed by abortion.

Secondly, abortion is not medicine. There is no medical benefit to the procedure, and no disease that abortion cures. Moreover, there is never a reason to kill a baby to save a mother's health or life. Priests for Life works not only with its own expert medical advisory board, but also with groups like the Pro-life Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine. These experts handle every complication of pregnancy in a way that acknowledges the commonsense reality that we are dealing with two patients, the mom and the baby.

Good morals is good medicine, and vice-versa. Catholic teaching is based on the fact that you always treat both patients, and the fact that to fail to save one or another, despite one's best efforts, is quite different from killing one or another deliberately.

Finally, many doctors advise abortion not for medical reasons but in order to avoid liability. They don't want the risk involved in helping two patients through a complicated situation. It's easy to eliminate a risk or a problem by eliminating a person altogether. God bless Catholic institutions for being willing to take risks to save lives rather than eliminate risk by sacrificing lives!

Father William J. Kuchinsky, a diocesan priest and a member of the board of directors of American Life League, has written an open letter to Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York regarding comments the cardinal made during a recent television interview.

Father Kuchinsky writes:

Dear Cardinal, if I were asked to survey the Catholic Church in America, and make a report to you, I would tell you that people are confused.

For example, it does not seem helpful that we ministers have equivocated on (or neglected to pronounce) central moral truths all the while giving rigidly dogmatic support for things about which reasonable people can legitimately differ.

In addition, regarding Obamacare: I myself do not understand how, if it lacked abortion and contraceptive coverage, the U.S. bishops could say they are the president's 'greatest supporters' and 'cheerleaders' on this issue. This is especially so considering the serious difficulties which are becoming apparent.

People of goodwill forewarned us of the many problems we are starting to see with this comprehensive plan. Many of these people, from all walks of life and differing political views, want the same good things for the sick which the U.S. bishops desire. They understand that there is a moral duty to take care of the sick. It certainly is within the competency of bishops to lay out the moral obligations we have to those in need....

Click here to read the open letter in its entirety.