Religious Clause provides a fine summary:
Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, Catholic Bishop of Phoenix, Arizona, is threatening to remove the Catholic affiliation of Phoenix's St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center this Friday in a dispute over the hospital's actions to save the life of a pregnant woman earlier this year.
The hospital's ethics committee, including Sister Margaret McBride, approved terminating the pregnancy of a young woman who was near death from pulmonary hypertension, a condition made worse by hormones produced by the uterus during pregnancy. The Bishop subsequently denounced the procedure as an impermissible abortion. In a Nov. 22 letter to the president of Catholic Healthcare West, St. Joseph's parent company, Olmsted demanded that Catholic Healthcare West acknowledge the hospital was wrong in its interpretation of the church's view on indirect abortions; that it submit to a diocesan review and certification; and that it agree to give its medical staff ongoing training on the U.S. Conference of of Catholic Bishop's Ethical and Religious Directives. The Diocese of Phoenix yesterday posted a release on its website indicating that the Bishop's letter was considered private and confidential, and indicating that it was continuing to work with the hospital and Catholic Healthcare West "to find the best way to provide authentic Catholic health care in accordance with the Church's teaching." Meanwhile astatement by St. Joseph's on its website stated they "continue to be in dialogue with Bishop Olmsted and we hope to achieve a resolution. We believe that all life is sacred. In this case we saved the only life we could save, which was the mother's." The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled Thursday that Ireland's constitutional ban on abortion violates the rights of pregnant women to receive proper medical care in life-threatening cases reports AP:Ireland has resisted taking that step despite a 1992 judgment from the Irish Supreme Court declaring that abortions should be considered legal in Ireland in all cases where the woman's life would be endangered by continued pregnancy — including through threats to commit suicide. The delay has left the abortion rights of thousands of women in legal limbo, obliging many to travel overseas for the procedure.
The Strasbourg judges said Ireland was wrong to keep the legal situation unclear for women who received a doctor's advice that their pregnancy could complicate their own medical problems.