This was in yesterday's sun times, me thinks the doc has it correct
Abortion to 'save' mother's life almost never necessary
April 8, 2009
I write in response to your editorial of March 30 ["Women have a right to be told of abortion option"]. As a physician practicing in the field of neonatology, I was deeply troubled by your conclusions as well as by the medical misinformation you provided to the public.
You erroneously state that women are put at risk when they are not offered "emergency" or urgent abortion as an option for their pregnancy. You use the example of rupture of membranes early in pregnancy, and state that abortion is a "recommended option." In fact, surgical abortion, which mutilates the fetus and also poses some risk to the mother, is not the best medical option in this situation. Expectant management and use of antibiotics is. The majority of time the woman will miscarry -- a far more natural event than an abortion. Furthermore, approximately 10 percent of the time the hole in the membranes can seal up and the pregnancy can continue to viability. The protocol followed in Catholic hospitals in this scenario is a legitimate, valid and safe option for premature rupture of membranes, one that is best for both mother and child.
Abortion performed to "save" a mother's life almost never -- if ever -- is necessary. Are pregnant women dying in Catholic hospitals, unable to get access to an emergency abortion? Of course not. In fact, Ireland -- a country where the unborn child is constitutionally protected -- has the lowest maternal death rate in the world. More than a decade ago, a group of Ireland's top obstetricians concluded that "there are no medical circumstances justifying direct abortion, that is, no circumstances in which the life of a mother may only be saved by directly terminating the life of her unborn child."
The United Kingdom, on the other hand, where abortion is available practically on demand, has over five times Ireland's maternal death rate.
Catholic hospitals and physicians do not offer abortion as a "treatment option," because abortion always ends the life of what medical textbooks -- used in secular medical schools -- refer to as the "second patient," namely, the unborn child.
Why does the Sun-Times advocate forcing Catholic health-care workers to participate in such a practice they -- along with those of other faiths, or of no faith tradition whatsoever -- find so immoral? Should medical schools now post notices saying, "Catholics need not apply?" Would the Sun-Times be happier with Catholic hospitals -- a third of our nation's health care -- closing down instead?
This is still the United States of America, a country founded on the principle of freedom of religion. Catholic hospitals and Catholic physicians and nurses should be able to refuse to participate -- in any way -- in a practice they consider to be immoral, unsafe and inhumane.
Colleen Malloy, M.D.,