Phoenix hospital stipped of “Catholic” after abortion controversy

PHOENIX, Arizona, December 21, 2010 ( – A Catholic hospital that performed a direct abortion last year has lost its official endorsement as a Catholic institution by the local bishop.

Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix, Az. announced in a news conference Tuesday morning that St. Joseph’s Hospital was no longer Catholic after it refused to comply with the bishop’s terms, which included renouncing the direct killing of an unborn baby of a woman suffering from pulmonary hypertension, at 11 weeks gestation.

Olmsted said that, “Communication with leadership at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Catholic Healthcare West has only eroded my confidence about their commitment to the church’s ethical and religious directives for health care,” according to local news reports.

“They have not addressed in an adequate manner the scandal caused by the abortion,” said the bishop. “Moreover, I have recently learned that many other violations of the ethical and religious directives have been taking place at Catholic Healthcare West facilities in Arizona throughout my seven years as bishop of Phoenix and far longer.” Catholic Healthcare West (CHW) is the parent company of St. Joseph’s hospital, and is based in California.

In a statement published Wedesday, Olmsted explained that he had “hoped and prayed that this day would not come,” but that it had been a losing battle since he first began discussing with CHW how to resolve its violation of the U.S. bishops’ Ethical and Religious Directives (ERD) seven years ago.

The bishop said that he learned, in only the last several weeks, that both the facility and CHW had administered contraceptives, performed sterilizations, and conducted other direct abortions “due to the mental or physical health of the mother” or after rape or incest.

“In all my seven years as Bishop of Phoenix, I have continued to insist that this scandalous situation needed to change; sadly, over the course of these years, CHW has chosen not to comply,” said Olmsted.

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