Kristof Weighs In

Here's Nicholas Kristof on the Olmsted affair.Money quote:

Yet in this battle, its fascinating how much support St. Josephs Hospital has had and how firmly it has pushed back in effect, pounding 95 theses on the bishops door. The hospital backed up Sister Margaret, and it rejected the bishops demand that it never again terminate a pregnancy to save the life of a mother.

Initially, this line set off my hyperbole alarm. But, as any Luther scholar can affirm, Luther's 95 theses wasn't a declaration of schism, but an outraged cry for reform, in his case largely over the indefensible abuses occasioned by the selling of indulgences. The split wasn't final until mutual intransigence forced it. (Then, it was Luther's insistence that he be proved wrong by use of scripture and reason alone, vs. the Church's insistence that he recognize their authority to define tradition as they wished.) The USCCB's Committee on Doctrine has come down squarely on Olmsted's side, interpreting the kind of action done in Phoenix as impermissible, a direct abortion. The report that Kristof links to includes a couple heart-rending vignettes of women's health being endangered by hospital adherence to the Olmsted-strict interpretation of the ERD. That report concludes with this statement by National Women's Law Center co-president Marcia D. Greenberger:

We call on the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate these serious lapses and order immediate corrective action where violations are found. We also call upon religious and nonsectarian hospitals alike to ensure that their practices comply with federal law and to serve the patients health needs.

So...the plot thickens...HT: Alan Revering

Lisa Fullam is professor of moral theology at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. She is the author of The Virtue of Humility: A Thomistic Apologetic (Edwin Mellen Press).

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