Napp Nazworth at The Christian Post reports that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is suing the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) for not allowing abortion in a Catholic hospital.
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, responded Friday to a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union alleging that Catholic health directives encourage poor treatment of pregnant women by not allowing abortion.
The ACLU is suing the USCCB on behalf of Tamesha Means, who suffered a miscarriage at a Catholic hospital in Michigan.
According to the ACLU, "Tamesha rushed to Mercy Health Partners in Muskegon, Michigan, when her water broke after only 18 weeks of pregnancy. Based on the bishops' religious directives, the hospital sent her home twice even though Tamesha was in excruciating pain; there was virtually no chance that her pregnancy could survive, and continuing the pregnancy posed significant risks to her health."
The USCCB is being sued because, according to the suit, its directives prevented Means from getting an abortion, and thus the bishops are responsible for "unnecessary trauma and harm."
"The directives prohibit a pre-viability pregnancy termination, even when there is little or no chance that the fetus will survive, and the life or health of a pregnant woman is at risk. They also direct health care providers not to inform patients about alternatives inconsistent with those directives even when those alternatives are the best option for the patient's health," the ACLU says.
I understand what Tamesha might be going through, to suffer through a miscarriage like that, and I also understand the Catholic bishops that don't want to perform an abortion on the baby despite this. As a libertarian, I support the pro-life position that holds that since the baby is a human being that did not aggress against any one's life, liberty, or property, I hold that abortion is a violation of the baby's rights. But as a libertarian, I also recognize that there are complexities involved, and even I need to learn more on this issue (for we all learn in some way or another). So I will say this; hospitals have no positive obligations to perform a duty for some one (meaning that they shouldn't be forced to do so, not that they shouldn't help those in need), just as individuals should not be forced to take positive action for someone. Doing so is totalitarian and antithetical to the principles of freedom. And whether or not one supports the right to abortion, no one should be sued since he refused to perform an abortion, and that applies to hospitals too.