Catholic Doctors Support Ariz. Bishop’s Rebuke of Nun over Abortion

By Kathleen Gilbert

PHOENIX, Arizona, May 19, 2010 ( - The Catholic Physicians Guild of Phoenix has come out in support of Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, who expressed outrage that a nun administrator at a Catholic hospital in his diocese permitted a direct abortion. The bishop had said that those who were formally involved in the abortion were automatically excommunicated from the Catholic Church.

"The Catholic Physicians Guild of Phoenix fully supports the Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted with respect to matters of life of a mother pregnant with a child in her womb," stated William H. Brophy, M.D., president of the Guild, as published in the Arizona Republic Wednesday. "The Guild stands by the church's teaching that is guided by the Holy Spirit in ordering life toward truth and love."

Brophy continued: "An action which is in and of itself wrong, in that it lacks goodness as discerned by the light of human reason, is never justified by circumstances or intended end. Such is the case of abortion. A medical procedure, where the direct intention is the termination of pregnancy, is an abortion."

Echoing the sentiments of the Phoenix Bishop, Brophy reaffirmed that "medical treatments are appropriate for the direct purpose of curing a proportionately pathological condition of a pregnant woman, when they cannot be safely postponed until the unborn child is viable. When an unborn child attains viability, labor may be induced."

Olmsted had rebuked a religious sister and Catholic hospital administrator, who condoned a 2009 abortion on an 11-week pregnant woman suffering from pulmonary hypertension. According to the diocese, Sr. Margaret McBride of St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix told the bishop that she believed the abortion "was a morally good and allowable act according to Church teaching."

However, Olmsted, in a statement provided to the Republic, said that, “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," he said.

Dr. Paul A. Byrne, Director of Neonatology and Pediatrics at St. Charles Mercy Hospital in Toledo, Ohio, told Monday that he knew of no situations when an abortion was necessary to save the life of the mother, and that "given just pulmonary hypertension, the answer is no” to abortion.

Sr. McBride has since been demoted from her position as vice president of mission integration.

See related coverage:

Bishop Says Nun is Automatically Excommunicated for Rubberstamping Hospital Abortion

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