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Insight Scoop | The Ignatius Press Blog: Nicholas Kristof is spouting Nasty Krap
Some calmer responses, less dripping with sarcasm, and so perhaps more persuasive to the unpersuaded, appear in the comments responding to Kristof's column. Like this one:
Your op-ed represents a gross misunderstanding of the situation at St. Joseph's and of the Catholic Church's teaching on the issue of troubled pregnancies.
To make a long story short, the Catholic Church does not forbid the death of an unborn child if the mother's life is in danger. The key standard for distinguishing what is permitted is whether actions taken by medical professionals are targeted towards saving the life of the mother or directly towards end the life of the unborn child. If medical treatments administered to the mother have the unfortunate effect of ending the unborn child's life, the Church does not condemn such actions - so, for example, if the mother has an illness that requires medication, and that medication is the only way to save the mother's life but is toxic to her unborn child, the Church would permit the medical professionals to administer the medicine.
In this case, however, the medical professionals performed a procedure with the express intent of killing the unborn child, despite the fact that the mother's life was not in imminent danger. Again, even if they had performed a different procedure that had the effect (but not the intent) of killing the unborn child, the Church would not have felt compelled to act they way it did. But, unfortunately, the medical staff (advised by the sister in question) chose the only morally impermissible course.
The medical professionals and religious staff at St. Joseph's are not nearly as deserving of sympathy as you make them out to be, nor is the Church nearly as strict or dogmatic as you make it out to be. Next time, try learning one iota about Catholic theology before making broad generalizations for political purposes, Mr. Kristof.