Sister Margaret McBride, former administrator at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona, has a conscience. She approved an abortion for a gravely ill pregnant woman who had "right heart failure." The woman was eleven weeks pregnant with her fifth child and doctors said if the woman continued with the pregnancy, the risk of mortality was "close to 100 percent."
Sister McBride did what any person with a conscience would do when confronted with the overwhelming probability that the life of a mother and her baby were both in jeopardy. She let the fetus die to save the life of the mother.
Unfortunately, her bishop, Thomas J. Olmstead, does not have a conscience. He has a rule. When he heard about the abortion, he declared that McBride was "automatically excommunicated."
The Rev. John Ehrich, the medical ethics director for the Diocese of Phoenix, explained Olmstead's decision:
She consented in the murder of an unborn child. There are some situations where the mother may in fact die along with her child. But — and this is the Catholic perspective — you can't do evil to bring about good. The end does not justify the means.I don't believe for an instant that anyone but Jesus will be standing beside Sister McBride when she meets her maker. She's individually, personally, and directly accountable to God for her actions. But, just in case the Catholics are right and earthly ministers will be present as witnesses for or against disciples of Christ, I readily affirm that I would stand with her.