HEC Forum 25 (2):127-143 (2013)

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Abstract
In Roman Catholic Moral Theology, a direct abortion is never permitted. An indirect abortion, in which a life threatening pathology is treated, and the treatment inadvertently leads to the death of the fetus, may be permissible in proportionately grave situations. In situations in which a mother’s life is endangered by the pregnancy before the fetus is viable, there is some debate about whether the termination of the pregnancy is a direct or indirect abortion. In this essay a recent case from a Roman Catholic sponsored hospital in Phoenix is reviewed along with the justifications for and arguments against viewing the pregnancy termination as an indirect abortion. After review of several arguments on both sides of the debate, it is concluded that termination of the pregnancy itself as the means of saving the mother cannot be considered an indirect abortion and that the principle of “double effect” does not justify the termination. In addition, the importance of a breakdown in communication between the local bishop and the administration of the hospital is shown to have contributed to the ultimate loss of Catholic sponsorship of the hospital
Keywords Direct abortion  Indirect abortion  Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services  Roman Catholic hospital sponsorship  Principle of double effect
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DOI 10.1007/s10730-013-9211-7
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References found in this work BETA

Medico-Moral Problems.Gerald A. Kelly - 1955 - St. Louis, Catholic Hospital Association of the United States and Canada.
Double Effect, All Over Again: The Case of Sister Margaret McBride.Bernard G. Prusak - 2011 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 32 (4):271-283.
Abortion in a Case of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension.Nicanor Pier Giorgio Austriaco - 2011 - The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 11 (3):503-518.

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Citations of this work BETA

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