I Fear For Our Daughters

Filed in National by on December 3, 2013

When incidents like this happen a chill runs up my spine.

A Michigan woman who suffered a dangerous, painful and prolonged miscarriage when she was 18 weeks pregnant is at the center of a lawsuit that claims she was denied appropriate treatment by a Catholic hospital guided by religious, not medical, concerns.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Michigan are suing the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on behalf of Tamesha Means, 30, of Muskegon, Mich., according to a lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. district court in eastern Michigan.

[...]

The lawsuit claims that Means, then the 27-year-old mother of two children, received negligent care at Mercy Health Partners hospital in Muskegon after her water broke in December 2010. She visited Mercy Health Partners, the only hospital in her county, three times.

Means says she was given medication and told to go home and wait for the pain to get better. On a third trip, as the hospital again prepared to send her home, she miscarried and the fetus was delivered feet-first in a painful and prolonged breech delivery, the lawsuit says.

[...]

Because of the Catholic-run hospital’s medical directives, which prohibit abortion, Means was not told that the child had “virtually no chance of surviving” and that continuing the pregnancy would endanger her health.

“Nor did MHP tell Ms. Means that the safest treatment option was to induce labor and terminate the pregnancy,” the complaint says. “MHP also did not tell Ms. Means that it would not terminate her pregnancy, even if necessary for her health, because it was prohibited from doing so by the Directives.”

Yeah, I know.  The new Pope is saying awesome stuff… perhaps he can back those words up with deeds?

What happened to this woman is 100% unacceptable.  They knew the pregnancy wasn’t viable.  They knew the safest treatment option.  They knew they were endangering her health.  And I’m sure they knew she had two children at home, because, as a mother, I can’t imagine not worrying (aloud) about my children when I’m in the emergency room.  But, I’m beginning to think that these Catholic bishops, and other “pro-lifers”, only consider pregnant women mothers because they seem a-okay with creating motherless children.

It’s as if losing a child is only okay if a woman suffers maximum pain and risks her health and life.  I can’t wrap my head around that, but these incidents keep happening so that’s the drill.  Luckily, Ms. Means lived – no thanks to the hospital since they rolled the dice and merely lucked out.  Others have not been so fortunate.  The motto seems to be… if you’re baby is going to die then you’ll die with it.

I can’t imagine another situation like this.  It would be like a doctor diagnosing appendicitis, but refusing to operate until the appendix burst… because, hey! Your appendix is part of you!  Or a doctor refusing to do bypass surgery until you have a heart attack… because, hey!  You should experience the pain of all those bacon burgers you ate.  The roar of outrage would be deafening.  But when it comes to pregnant women these things keep happening.  And, no.  There is no gray area here.  Not even a hint of gray.

As the mother of a 16 year old daughter these incidents alarm me.  The list of advice I mete out to her keeps growing.  Now I’ll have to tell her to avoid Catholic run hospitals; that they won’t place her health needs first – that her health and her life won’t matter if she’s pregnant.

I’m rooting for the ACLU in this lawsuit.  Religious based medical treatment for pregnant women is as effective as leeches.

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A stay-at-home mom with an obsession for National politics.

Comments (29)

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  1. anon says:

    Pandora the Catholic Church believes that when a woman dies in childbirth, she ascends directly to heaven. That is the bullshit reason why this happens IMHO.

  2. jason330 says:

    This is horrible. But if there is one good thing it is that Democrats are no longer wishy-washy on women’s healthcare issues.

    Like gay rights, it wasn’t very long ago when it was common for Democrats to hedge on reproductive healthcare. Those days are over.

  3. Dorian Gray says:

    Thomas Jefferson said that he didn’t care what his neighbor believed as long as it didn’t break his arm or pick his pocket. Hitchens simplified this in a debate I attended many years ago like this… Most atheists (yours truly included) don’t care what nonsense you believe, as long as you don’t try to make me believe it too.

    I’m completely confused by all of these lawsuits. This one as well as the corporations like the Hobby store who don’t want to comply with the ACA rule to ensure all health plans provide contraception.

    Your religious beliefs are yours and they don’t apply to everyone. If you are a doctor you need to treat people using the standard practices, not you particular brand of magic. If you employ someone you need to follow the legal standard and the standards of the culture. Does an American business owned by a Saudi Muslim get to discriminate against women?

    This is America. You can hold all manner of stupid ideas… but they don’t apply to the rest of us.

  4. Dana says:

    And if the ACLU wins this lawsuit, what happens? Every Catholic hospital closes; there are some rather large consequences to that.

  5. pandora says:

    If they aren’t capable of providing science-based medical treatment then close them. This isn’t really a threat, Dana.

  6. jason330 says:

    Thank you Dana. Your comment made me laugh.

  7. anon says:

    Geeze, Dana, hysterical much? How would the consequences possibly be that, “Every Catholic hospital closes…” if the ACLU wins this suit. Explain it to those of us who think you’re wildly over reacting.

  8. Dorian Gray says:

    Dana, please elaborate. This nugget deserves to be fleshed and I think we derserve to see this entire aurgment. Let me hear all the evidence and the logic you used to draw that conclusion… and as my math professor would say, please show all your work.

    Friends, prepare to be dazzled…

    Back on earth I noticed Dana has gotten away from the “Mr Gray said” comment construction. What a shame.

  9. cassandra_m says:

    Catholic Hospitals won’t close if the ACLU wins. The worst case is that they’ll sell those hospitals to secular non-profits who won’t have an issue with providing adequate health care to its female patients. Or maybe they should be clear that they’ll provide the treatments they believe in and leave Dana’s children to live with the half measures.

  10. Jason330 says:

    I was surprised that the SC even decided to get involved in the GOP’s war on sluts.

  11. Dana says:

    Mr Gray wrote:

    Back on earth I noticed Dana has gotten away from the “Mr Gray said” comment construction. What a shame.

    It isn’t that I have gotten away from it; it’s simply that I wasn’t quoting anyone. I used “Mr 330 wrote” in a comment earlier today.

    As for:

    Let me hear all the evidence and the logic you used to draw that conclusion… and as my math professor would say, please show all your work.

    I would note that Catholic adoption services have closed in Massachusetts and Illinois, due to state requirements that prohibited adoption services from placing children only with married heterosexual couples. Rather than agree to facilitate adoptions in violation of conscience, the bishops decided not to provide those services at all.

    Would they close Catholic hospitals? No one can say, but the precedent is certainly there, and the Catholic Church is the largest provider of non-profit hospitals in the country.

  12. Jason330 says:

    “Would they close Catholic hospitals? No one can say,…”

    So don’t.

    “Catholic Church is the largest provider of non-profit hospitals in the country.”

    You are frequently wrong and make stuff up. Based on precedent, I’m skeptical about this claim.

  13. Jason330 says:

    Here are the top 20 not for profit Hospital systems in the country:

    1. New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center (New York City) — 2,286 beds
    2. Florida Hospital Orlando — 2,067 beds
    3. University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Presbyterian — 1,601 beds
    4. Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital (Indianapolis) — 1,506 beds
    5. Baptist Medical Center (San Antonio) — 1,443 beds
    6. Montefiore Medical Center-Moses Division Hospital (Bronx, N.Y.) — 1,409 beds
    7. Orlando (Fla.) Regional Medical Center — 1,401 beds
    8. Methodist University Hospital (Memphis, Tenn.) — 1,296 beds
    9. Barnes-Jewish Hospital (Saint Louis) — 1,284 beds
    10. The Cleveland Clinic — 1,284 beds
    11. Norton Hospital (Louisville, Ky.) — 1,263 beds
    12. Buffalo (N.Y.) General Hospital — 1,241 beds
    13. The Mount Sinai Medical Center (New York City) — 1,221 beds
    14. North Shore University Hospital (Manhasset, N.Y.) — 1,080 beds
    15. Christiana Hospital (Newark, Del.) — 1,075 beds
    16. Beaumont Hospital-Royal Oak (Mich.) — 1,061 beds
    17. Albert Einstein Medical Center (Philadelphia) — 1,012 beds
    18. Jewish Hospital (Louisville, Ky.) — 1,012 beds
    19. Beth Israel Medical Center-Petrie Division (New York City) — 1,003 beds
    20. Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital (Grand Rapids, Mich.) — 978 beds

    Not a Saint to be found.

  14. anon says:

    I was surprised that the SC even decided to get involved in the GOP’s war on sluts.

    Jason I’m keeping count, now I owe you two kicks to the sack.

    Dana why would Catholic hospitals close over one small part of what they do?

    Wouldn’t their logical, typical, total dick reaction be that they stopped offering reproductive services to women, but they would continue to act like medical professionals when it came to heart attack victims, stroke patients, etc?

  15. Jason330 says:

    Let’s face it anon. This isn’t about religion. It is about conservatives thinking that pregnancy is God’s punishment for sex – and trying to get that belief enshrined into law.

  16. Dana says:

    Mr 330 should trust me:

    “Catholic Church is the largest provider of non-profit hospitals in the country.”

    You are frequently wrong and make stuff up. Based on precedent, I’m skeptical about this claim.

    About one-sixth of all patients were admitted to a Catholic hospital in 2010.

    Seton Healthcare Family in Texas, a unit of Ascension Health, is the nation’s largest Catholic system and largest nonprofit system. (Same source)

    Catholic hospital systems are the largest in the country and handle a large share of admissions in many states.

    And this:

    Catholic health care facilities form the largest not-for-profit health service sector in the United States, caring for nearly one-sixth of all U.S. hospital patients each year.

    The 620 Catholic hospitals across the country make up 12.4 percent of the nation’s 5,010 community hospitals.

    They provide 15 percent of the hospital beds and in 2008 accounted for more than 5.6 million — 15.8 percent — of the 35.8 million patients admitted to those hospitals that year.

    In addition to inpatient hospital stays, Catholic hospitals handled more than 98 million outpatient visits, 15.7 percent of the national total.

    They employ about 540,000 full-time workers and 240,000 part-time workers.

    I’d say that proves my statement.

  17. Dana says:

    In answering Mr 330′s question, my previous comment had three hyperlinks, which has sent it into the moderation queue.

  18. cassandra_m says:

    I would note that Catholic adoption services have closed in Massachusetts and Illinois, due to state requirements that prohibited adoption services from placing children only with married heterosexual couples.

    This is not why Catholic Charities shut down in these places. They shut down because they couldn’t continue to get state funding if they were going to be discriminatory in their adoption and foster placement policy. The *choose* to stop taking the money, and in both places, state funding was a substantial part of their operating budget.

  19. Dana says:

    Mr anon wrote:

    Dana why would Catholic hospitals close over one small part of what they do?

    Wouldn’t their logical, typical, total dick reaction be that they stopped offering reproductive services to women, but they would continue to act like medical professionals when it came to heart attack victims, stroke patients, etc?

    That’s the whole (unspoken) point of the lawsuit: to try to force Catholic institutions to stop being Catholic. The patient in question wasn’t seeking an abortion, but was planning a normal pregnancy; this case is pushing forcing Catholic hospitals to allow abortion services if medical reasons exist.

    A pregnant woman presents for a cardiac condition, and then claims that she needed an abortion because the pregnancy was causing additional stress on her heart, and, once again, the hospital gets sued.

    And, of course, the Administration already tried to force Catholic hospitals to provide contraception coverage for their employees.

  20. Jason330 says:

    “That’s the whole (unspoken) point of the lawsuit: to try to force Catholic institutions to stop being Catholic.”

    Hmm… And here I thought the Church renounced gnosticism in 1229.

  21. cassandra_m says:

    Well there’s nothing more Catholic than letting other people suffer for your own beliefs.

    OR…no one ever expects the Spanish Inquisition.

  22. pandora says:

    “this case is pushing forcing Catholic hospitals to allow abortion services if medical reasons exist.”

    Ya think? I realize you think this is a horrible statement, but most people think this is sane policy.

  23. anon says:

    No, Dana, the point of the lawsuit is to save women’s health and lives.

    It was abhorrent that the hospital failed to inform this woman that her baby wasn’t going to survive and that her health was in danger. She left the hospital believing her baby was viable and her health was not threatened.

    If this is how Catholic hospitals plan on treating women with dangerous pregnancies, maybe they should fucking close.

  24. anon says:

    OR…no one ever expects the Spanish Inquisition.

    Heh.

  25. Jason330 says:

    The point of this lawsuit is to close Catholic hospitals and turn them into gay marriage bathhouses and abortion on demand/miscegenation/welfare centers.

    I’m surprised Dana doesn’t remember that part of Obama’s ’08 campaign platform.

  26. anon says:

    Remember Dana, according to your conservative heroes, there is no separation of church and state in the US Constitution. Or does that only apply to when you all are whining about no prayer in public schools and no baby Jesus in front of City Hall for Christmas?

  27. Dana says:

    Mr anon wrote:

    Remember Dana, according to your conservative heroes, there is no separation of church and state in the US Constitution.

    The Constitution provides that everyone has the freedom to worship, or not worship as he chooses, and that the government may not establish an official state church, or favor one church over another, and I absolutely agree with those provisions. And the Church is trying to maintain its independence from the state, by resisting the attempts by the state to encroach on religious freedom and conscience.

  28. cassandra_m says:

    Any hospital has to operate in accordance with state rules — that is what hospital licencing and certifications are for. Those rules largely preserve some basic patient safety and rational medical ethics. If you are a church operating a hospital, you need to live with those rules. And there are no rules that let you mislead patients as to the condition of their fetus’ OR to that very same patient’s condition, when said fetus is failing and damaging that patient. None.

  29. Dorian Gray says:

    Mr Dana wrote

    ‘Would they close Catholic hospitals? No one can say..’

    Then he goes on the say… hilarious! And based on a specious comparison with gay adoption in two states…

    Again, a person’s religious freedom only applies to the person, not everyone else.

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