The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Catholic Hospitals’ Ban on Abortion Endangers Women’s Lives

Feb 29, 2016

Five pregnant women suffered from a rupture and infection of the membrane surrounding the fetus, a condition that leads to natural miscarriage. This life-threatening condition can cause several dangerous problems including sepsis–indicating severe, widespread infection and retention of the placenta–a leading cause of maternal bleeding and death. The treatment for this condition is to immediately deliver the fetus and terminate the pregnancy. This was not done for any of these women.

These women went to Mercy Health Partners–a Catholic hospital. In the U.S. Catholic hospitals follow a set of medical directives written by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops–not by doctors, but by Bishops. None of whom, by the way, are women. All doctors working in Catholic hospitals must follow church teachings. Performing or even facilitating an abortion is prohibited. “Abortion is never permitted,” the directives read. A hospital executive told county health officials that at Mercy Health Partners, “as long as there is a heartbeat, induction of labor is not an option in a Catholic institution unless the mother’s life is in jeopardy.”

These women’s lives were “in jeopardy” and they showed signs of infection–fever, rapid heart rate. But Mercy Health forced them to endure long, and dangerous and totally unnecessary miscarriages. The women were not even informed that anything could be done or that the fetuses had no chance for survival.

There has been an increase in the number of Catholic hospitals and a string of Catholic takeovers of secular hospitals all across the U.S. One out of every nine hospital beds in the U.S. are located in facilities that follow Catholic teachings and in 30 communities, the only local hospital is a Catholic one.

If the Catholic Church would stop being preoccupied with women’s bodies, it would be healthier for everyone, including children.