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US bishops face abortion negligence lawsuit

Abortion never necessary to save life of mother, claims bishops' medical expert

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  • Adelaide Mena and Kevin Jones for Catholic News Agency
  • United States
  • December 5, 2013
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A lawsuit charging that the U.S. bishops’ ethical standards for hospitals caused negligent care of a pregnant woman wrongly claims that abortion was medically necessary, a doctor and professor of medicine has said.

“Abortion is never necessary to save the life of the mother,” said Dr. Brian C. Calhoun, a professor and vice-chair in the obstetrics and gynecology department at West Virginia University-Charleston.

Calhoun, who specializes in high-risk pregnancies, rejected the deliberate killing of an unborn patient in a medical emergency.

“Abortion is not medicine. It is something else entirely,” he told CNA Dec. 2.

The American Civil Liberties Union on Nov. 29 filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on behalf of a Michigan woman named Tamesha Means.

Means was 18 weeks pregnant in 2010 when her water broke and she went to Mercy Health Muskegon, a Catholic hospital in Michigan. She made three emergency visits. On the third visit, she delivered the baby, who died less than three hours after birth.

The ACLU claims that hospital was negligent because it did not tell Means “that terminating her pregnancy was an option and the safest course for her condition.”

The legal group said the woman was in “excruciating pain” and the pregnancy posed “significant risks to her health.” She also suffered “extreme distress” and an infection that can cause infertility, the organization said.

While babies have not been known to survive outside of the womb before 21 weeks of pregnancy, an unborn baby at 18 weeks is significantly developed, about 5.5 inches long and seven ounces in weight, with a small human profile. The baby can make sucking motions with his or her mouth and can begin to hear, the Mayo Clinic website says. The mother can often feel the baby’s motions.

Full Story: Lawsuit against US bishops wrong on abortion, doctor says

Source: Catholic News Agency

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