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From a legal standpoint, it appears there may be serious ramifications for at least a few different players in an event that unfolded in Phoenix earlier this year.  The Catholic Church makes no exceptions when it comes to abortion.  Catholicism teaches it is not a decision to be made by humans, but rather, it is what it is and it’s God’s will.  And now, a nun and a hospital administrator have been reassigned and disciplined by the Catholic hospital’s bishop.  This was due to a decision that the nun, Sister Margaret McBride, supported and that included aborting an eleven week old fetus because the mother’s health was in serious jeopardy. founder and attorney A. Harrison Barnes says that the church is now and has always been adamant on its stance regarding abortions.  In fact, in a statement released by the Phoenix Diocese states, in part, “An unborn child is not a disease…while medical professionals should try to save a mother’s life, the means can never be by directly killing her unborn child…the end does not justify the means”.

Perhaps what is most upsetting for many is the fact Sister McBride was automatically excommunicated due to her knowledge and support of the procedure.  It should also be noted the Phoenix diocese did not learn of the procedure until several months after it was performed.  This is an important case in that the legal repercussions could affect, to some degree, the entire debate over abortion.  A. Harrison Barnes says it’s likely it was a decision that was incredibly difficult not only for the mother, but for her family as well.  And too, says the founder, it’s clear there were no easy answers for anyone involved.

It’s not yet clear whether or not the hospital administrator who was reassigned or Sister McBride will seek legal representation in an effort to reclaim their positions.  The nun was a member on the hospitals Ethics Committee and she also lost her position as vice president of mission integration at the medical facility.  Interestingly, in the past, the Church has allowed voluntary terminations of pregnancies “as a secondary effect of other treatments, such as radiation of a cancerous uterus”.  The patient was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension, which damages the heart and lungs.  Pregnancy further complicates this diagnosis and sometimes leads to death of both the patient and her fetus.

For now, hospital attorneys are reviewing the case to ensure all procedures were followed and anticipating the next move.  The hospital supports both the administrator and the nun; however, it said its options were limited and ultimately, the diocese maintains the right to make the final decision. The diocese remains committed to its stance and the search is on for a replacement for the vacancy Sister McBride left.

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