Loyola Hospital is trying to color the stark black-and-white news that it commits late-term, live-birth abortions.
Following revelations it is one of at least two Catholic health systems involved in the “early labor induction” procedure, as it calls it, Loyola attempted to justify its position in a statement on Sept. 23.
Eleven months ago, the National Catholic Register reported that Chicago’s Loyola and the West Coast and Alaska’s Providence Health System “stated they perform this procedure at or after 24 weeks of pregnancy, the time when a baby is usually considered to be viable.”
I don’t know what I found more incredible – that Catholic hospitals commit LBA, or that they wait until babies were viable to do it.
But Loyola e-mailed me its policy. Sure enough, it said:
Early induction is performed at LUHS only if the fetus has reached 24 weeks of gestation – currently accepted as the stage of viability – which is consistent with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Health Care Services. In addition, early induction for fetuses with anomalies is only performed at Loyola if the fetus has anencephaly or Potter’s disease (underdevelopment of the brain and kidneys, respectively). Both of these conditions are fatal to the fetus.
Saying it does not make it so. Loyola’s LBA policy is not consistent with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ ERDs.
The USCCB sent me two documents last week. One is, “Moral Principles Concerning Infants With Anencephaly.” It states, in part:
Some have attempted to argue that anencephalic children may be prematurely delivered, even when this would be inappropriate for other children. This argument is based on the opinion that because of their apparent lack of cognitive function and in view of the probable brevity of their lives, these infants are not the subject of human rights or at least have lives of less meaning or purpose than others. Doubts about the human dignity of the anencephalic infant, however, have no solid ground, and the benefit of any doubt must be in the child’s favor …
The other, “NCBC Statement on Early Induction of Labor,” states, in part:
… [E]arly induction of an anencephalic child when there is no serious pathology of the mother which is being directly treated is not morally licit, emotional distress notwithstanding. Early induction of labor before term (37 weeks) to relieve emotional distress hastens the death of the child as a means of achieving this presumed good effect and unjustifiably deprives the child of the good of gestation …
[I]nduction of labor before term performed simply for the reason that the child has a lethal anomaly is direct abortion.
Loyola’s clarification statement did all but that for me.
It indicated, “Loyola has performed five early inductions in the past 10 years out of approximately 16,000 births.”
Just a few abortions are OK?
And, “[I]n all cases, the fetuses had lethal anomalies and the mothers had life-threatening extenuating medical conditions, such as preeclampsia and toxemia.”
Never mind preeclampsia and toxemia are one and the same, like saying, “The patient was blind and couldn’t see either.” Loyola now infers it commits LBA only on expiring mothers who coincidentally happen to be carrying expiring children, although the double-dying stipulation isn’t in its policy.
Does Loyola, therefore, divert dying mothers carrying healthy babies – or babies with any condition other than anencephaly or Potter’s syndrome – to other hospitals to save their lives?
The statement goes on: “The intention of inducing labor is to protect the mother and/or child.”
I don’t think the children would agree.
And, “[T]he essential fact is that both a responsible Catholic hospital and good parents under great stress have carefully timed a procedure to coincide with viability and thus insure that this is not ‘abortion.'”
Let me tell you as a labor & delivery nurse, Loyola’s aforementioned “life-threatening extenuating medical conditions” are not simply “great stress[es]” that can be “carefully timed” so it can commit LBA “to coincide with viability.”
And what does “great stress” mean?
Which is it, Loyola? Are you adding an additional clause that mothers carrying babies with two very specific illnesses can only have their lives saved or “stress” relieved at your hospital if they are over 24 weeks gestation?
If moms are dying, but at 23 weeks’ gestation, either hang on a week or go somewhere else? It’s morally problematic for you to “induce early labor” at 23-6/7 weeks, but not 24?
Finally, Loyola states, “The children die because they do not possess what they need to live …”
No, Loyola, the children die because you prompt them to die. A fish in water will eventually die, but if you catch that fish and throw it on the bank to suffocate, you caused that fish’s death – not nature, not God. The analogy is identical.
Caught red-handed, pun intended, Loyola attempted to spin.
But this is the abortion no-spin zone.