- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union filed a suit in federal court against the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, arguing that the group’s aversion to abortion caused medical staff at one Roman Catholic hospital to provide a pregnant woman who went into early labor subpar care.

The woman’s baby died due to complications.

Basically, the ACLU said the group’s anti-abortion guidelines were to blame for the woman’s negligent care, and that the woman never should have been put in the position of seeing her child die during early labor, Newsmax reported. The woman was treated at the Catholic-affiliated Mercy Health Muskegon in Michigan.

“It’s not just about one woman,” said Kary Moss, an executive director of the Michigan ACLU, in the Newsmax report. “It’s about a nationwide policy created by nonmedical professionals putting patients in harm’s way.”

The ACLU faulted the bishops for not telling the woman, Tamesha Means, early in her pregnancy that her decision to continue to full term posed health risks for her and for her child.

The lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Michigan said Ms. Means was 18 weeks pregnant in 2010. Her water broke and she went to Muskegon, the closest hospital, for treatment. Over the course of several emergency room visits, no medical profession ever advised her “the safest treatment option was to induce labor and terminate the pregnancy,” based on her condition. Why? The ACLU alleges the hospital purposely avoided this advice, because of ethical directives from the bishops group.

A spokeswoman for the bishops’ conference in Washington declined to comment on the court filing, Newsmax said.