Nun punished for approving life-saving abortion

A nun at the St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix was excommunicated for approving an abortion on a woman who may have otherwise died.


  1. The catechism of the Roman Catholic Church allows abortions to save the life of the mother.

    The statement at feministing “The position of the Phoenix archdiocese is clear: a fetus is more valuable than the life of a woman” is speculative, and goes against the written doctrine of the Catholic Church.

    Also, Catholic doctrine notes two kinds of excommunications – formal procedural excommunications, and “automatic” (“latae sententiae “) which means that a person has violated doctrine in a way to put themselves in opposition to the church. It’s a bit like saying “anyone who drives 60 in a school zone has violated the law” – it doesn’t mean that a bishop or a judge has passed judgement or delivered a verdict.

    Pregnancy while having pulmonary hypertension is a grave danger to the mother, but it’s not the same thing as an automatic death sentence.

    I’d like to hear more about this case – the bishop may very well be in the wrong for reassigning the nun (NOT for “excommunicating her”, which he did not do), but feministing’s version is just a drive by.

  2. Man, I wish I were infallible so I could be a complete dick and not get called on it.

  3. The only thing worse than being in Magical Invisible Friend Club is getting kicked out of Magical Invisible Friend Club

  4. It was a close place. I took it up, and held it in my hand. I was a-trembling, because I’d got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself:

    “All right, then, I’ll go to Hell” — and tore it up.

    It was awful thoughts and awful words, but they was said. And I let them stay said; and never thought no more about reforming. … And for a starter I would go to work and steal Jim out of slavery again; and if I could think up anything worse, I would do that, too; because as long as I was in, and in for good, I might as well go the whole hog.

  5. Ruining the lives of countless children due to sexual abuse: a stern warning and relocation to an unknowing new parish.

    Saving a life: ex-communion.

    Well, maybe it’s better for her. Maybe now she’s been freed from anachronistic shackles to do real good on her community.

  6. The church people responsible for that decision just got their human being card revoked.

  7. Too bad she didn’t sexually abuse the fetus–she probably would’ve just been transferred to another diocese.

    1. Three point shot, mister!

      This is disgusting. (that is, the excommunication, not grimc’s spot on commentary)

    2. oh sweet jesus, you just gave me cerebral LOLsy in the middle of a class. that’s the funniest thing i’ve heard in at least a week.

  8. The vast majority of American nuns are pro-choice, just like the majority of American women.

  9. A church that would kick you out for making a lifesaving medical decision isn’t a church any sane person would want to belong to. I hope that the excommunication gave her a chance to think things over and choose a faith that is actually worthy of her.

  10. Re: pro-choice nuns, I was at a talk by a well-known, anti-death penalty nun. A “pro-life” student asked her a question, basically asking her to talk about how abortion is super evil. This nun smacked him down, telling everyone about how banning abortion just leads to more dead mothers and how someone who is *really* pro-life would help create support systems for mothers. It was really inspiring.

    1. +1 @insert – My wife has a number of friends who are nuns and almost became a nun herself (until she met me! (yes, seriously :-P)) and while she personally is against abortion, she also says that the majority of people who are anti-abortion are idiots, because they think if they ban this one thing, all will be right in the world.

      It’s just not true – what we really, really need is strong support for families, and even stronger support for single mothers, and just plain care for marginalized members of society. If you really care about peoples’ souls, you won’t ban abortion, you’ll dump all the money possible into programs that help people deal with their problems.

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