U.S. Bishops Agree With Bishop Olmsted’s Excommunication of “Abortion Nun.”

“Pulmonary Hypertension Is Not A Condition Where Abortion Would Be Curative.”

“Successful Inventions Performed In the Past Have Enabled Mother and Child To Survive.”

LifeSiteNews-The Doctrinal Committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) published a document this week to clarify misunderstandings about the case of an abortion that took place in a Catholic hospital in Phoenix.

A media frenzy erupted in May after Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmsted announced the automatic excommunication of a nun who contributed to the decision to go ahead with the procedure. The nun in question, Sister Margaret McBride, had claimed that the abortion was necessary to save the life of the mother, who was suffering from pulmonary hypertension.

However, while various media gave the impression that pulmonary hypertension is a condition where abortion would be curative, Catholic medical experts pointed out that this is not the case.

In fact, neonatologist Dr. Paul Byrne explained to LifeSiteNews that with pulmonary hypertension, an abortion, although it may relieve some of the stress on the heart, may also make the situation worse due to the stress of the abortion procedure. Dr. Byrne also explained that the literature on the condition indicates that there have been successful interventions for pregnant women with pulmonary hypertension that have enabled both mother and child to survive.

In its statement, the USCCB Committee presents two scenarios that distinguish “between medical procedures that cause direct abortions,” which it says are “never morally permissible,” and those “that may indirectly result in the death of an unborn child,” which in certain extreme situations can be permissible.

The first scenario – that involving an illicit direct abortion – approximates the situation at the Phoenix Catholic hospital.

“In the first scenario, a pregnant woman is experiencing problems with one or more of her organs, apparently as a result of the added burden of pregnancy. The doctor recommends an abortion to protect the health of the woman.”  The abortion, according to the example, “is likely to improve the functioning of the organ or organs, but only in an indirect way, i.e., by lessening the overall demands placed upon the organ or organs, since the burden posed by the pregnancy will be removed.”

Although the bishops admit that in the scenario “the abortion is the means by which a reduced strain upon the organ or organs is achieved,” they nevertheless explain that this amounts to “direct abortion” and is “never permissible because a good end cannot justify an evil means.”

“The surgery directly targets the life of the unborn child. It is the surgical instrument in the hands of the doctor that causes the child’s death. The surgery does not directly address the health problem of the woman, for example, by repairing the organ that is malfunctioning,” they explain.

In the second scenario they present a case where a surgery to save the life of the mother can be legitimate even if it causes the death of an unborn child.

“In the second scenario, a pregnant woman develops cancer in her uterus. The doctor recommends surgery to remove the cancerous uterus as the only way to prevent the spread of the cancer. Removing the uterus will also lead to the death of the unborn child, who cannot survive at this point outside the uterus,” explains the document.

“The second scenario describes a situation in which an urgently-needed medical procedure indirectly and unintentionally (although foreseeably) results in the death of an unborn child. In this case the surgery directly addresses the health problem of the woman, i.e., the organ that is malfunctioning (the cancerous uterus). The woman’s health benefits directly from the surgery, because of the removal of the cancerous organ. The surgery does not directly target the life of the unborn child.”

While the Bishops Committee document does not discuss excommunication, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches: “Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life.”

Nun, “The Abortion Was a Morally Good Act”

Sister Margaret McBride Could Be
Dismissed From Religious Order

  • Bishop Thomas Olmsted is helping St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center to realize what a Catholic Hospital really is.

(CNA/EWTN News) Phoenix –  A religious sister who was on a Catholic hospital panel that approved a direct abortion has excommunicated herself, the Diocese of Phoenix said on Tuesday. According to the diocese, Sr. Margaret McBride told Bishop Olmsted that she believed performing an abortion in a specific case from 2009 “was a morally good and allowable act according to Church teaching.”

Sr. Margaret McBride, RSM

The abortion took place late last year at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix. The mother was 11 weeks pregnant and was seriously ill with pulmonary hypertension, a condition worsened and possibly made fatal by pregnancy, according to the Washington Post.

An ethics committee which included doctors and hospital administrator Sr. Margaret McBride ruled that the abortion was necessary. Sr. McBride has been reassigned from her job as vice president of mission integration at the hospital.

In a Tuesday “Questions & Answers” document, the Diocese of Phoenix’s Office of Communications explained that Sr. McBride “held a position of authority at the hospital and was frequently consulted on ethical matters.”

The diocese stated that she was excommunicated because “she gave her consent that the abortion was a morally good and allowable act according to Church teaching. Furthermore, she admitted this directly to Bishop Olmsted. Since she gave her consent and encouraged an abortion she automatically excommunicated herself from the Church.”

The diocese added that canon law requires an excommunicated member of a religious community be dismissed from religious life unless his or her superior decides that dismissal is not completely necessary and that correction, restitution of justice and reparation of scandal can be sufficiently resolved in another way.

In addition, the diocese said that in this situation it was “clear” that St. Joseph’s Hospital was “not faithful to Catholic moral teaching” as outlined in the Ethical and Religious Directives (ERDs). Catholic Healthcare West, the hospital system of which St. Joseph’s is a part, has not followed the ERDs in at least one of their institutions, Chandler Regional Hospital.

According to the diocese, Bishop of Phoenix Thomas Olmsted is attempting to work with the hospital to help them fulfill requirements of self-identified Catholic institutions.

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted Says Nun Was “Automatically Excommunicated”

Shockingly, A Mother Has An Abortion
In A Catholic Hospital Because Of
The Advice Of A  Catholic Nun

  • Sister Margaret McBride Resigns
  • St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center Defends Their Actions


PHOENIX — A nun and administrator at a Catholic hospital in Phoenix has been reassigned and rebuked by the local bishop for agreeing that a severely ill woman needed an abortion to survive.

Sister Margaret McBride was on an ethics committee that included doctors that consulted with a young woman who was 11 weeks pregnant late last year, The Arizona Republic newspaper reported on its website Saturday. The woman was suffering from a life-threatening condition that likely would have caused her death if she hadn’t had the abortion at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center.

Hospital officials defended McBride’s actions but confirmed that she has been reassigned from her job as vice president of mission integration at the hospital. They said in a statement that saving the mother required that the fetus be aborted.

“In this tragic case, the treatment necessary to save the mother’s life required the termination of an 11-week pregnancy,” hospital vice president Susan Pfister said in an e-mail to the newspaper. She said the facility owned by Catholic Healthcare West adheres to the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services but that the directives do not answer all questions.

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, head of the Phoenix Diocese, indicated in a statement that the Roman Catholic involved was “automatically excommunicated” because of the action. The Catholic Church allows the termination of a pregnancy only as a secondary effect of other treatments, such as radiation of a cancerous uterus.

I am gravely concerned by the fact that an abortion was performed several months ago in a Catholic hospital in this diocese,” Olmsted said in a statement sent to The Arizona Republic. “I am further concerned by the hospital’s statement that the termination of a human life was necessary to treat the mother’s underlying medical condition.

An unborn child is not a disease. While medical professionals should certainly try to save a pregnant mother’s life, the means by which they do it can never be by directly killing her unborn child. The end does not justify the means.”

Olmsted added that if a Catholic “formally cooperates” in an abortion, he or she is automatically excommunicated.

Neither the hospital nor the bishop’s office would say if Olmsted had a direct role in her demotion. He does not have control of the hospital as a business but is the voice of moral authority over any Catholic institution operating in the diocese.

The patient, who hasn’t been identified, was seriously ill with pulmonary hypertension. The condition limits the ability of the heart and lungs to function and is made worse, possibly even fatal, by pregnancy.

“This decision was made after consultation with the patient, her family, her physicians, and in consultation with the Ethics Committee, of which Sr. Margaret McBride is a member,” the hospital said in a statement issued Friday.

A letter sent to Olmsted Monday by the board chairwoman and the president and CEO of CHW asks Olmsted to provide further clarification about the directives. The pregnancy, the letter says, carried a nearly certain risk of death for the mother.

“If there had been a way to save the pregnancy and still prevent the death of the mother, we would have done it,” the letter says. “We are convinced there was not.”

McBride declined to comment.