A woman was 11 weeks pregnant and had pulmonary hypertension. An ethics committee at a Catholic hospital -- which included a nun -- approved an abortion.
I'm googling "pulmonary hypertension in pregnancy". So far I've found:
So we have that extremely rare situation -- a case where pregnancy actually threatens the mother's life. (Typically, maternal deaths are flukey things that develop suddenly, and there's no real evidence that abortion improves outcome.)
I've written about these situations before:
From a Christian perspective, is abortion okay to save the mother's life? So asks a poster in the Pro Life Forum.
Here's where we get to the difference between simple social justice and imposing one's religion on others.
The law can require us to refrain from killing, but it can not deprive us of life without due process, which requiring a woman to continue a life-threatening pregnancy would do. Although one's own religious faith might require one to sacrifce one's life for another, the law can not force this.
The best way to handle it legally is to attempt to protect both mother and fetus from being deprived of life without due process. Because of the emergency nature of most life-threatening pregnancies, the doctor would have to make a call that ending the pregnancy (and therefore, if the fetus is too young to survive, the life of the fetus) is necessary, just as a policeman often must make the decion that a suspect has to be shot dead to protect the public.
The way to handle these emergencies isn't to grant broad judgment to doctors (or cops) to just kill people at their descretion; rather, it is to allow for the prosecutor to not pursue the case if it appears that the doctor (or cop) proceeded on good faith, believing that such a drastic measure as killing was necessary to protect the innocent life of the mother (or public).
A Christian mother would reflect on Biblical principles:
Jeremiah 7:6 - ... do not shed innocent blood in this place... Matthew 19:19 - ...love your neighor as yourself... Matthew 25:40 - ...whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me. Romans 12:1 - ...offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God... 1 Corinthians 10:24 - Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. James 2:26 - As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
A Christian mother would demonstrate love for God and trust in God by doing everything in her power to save her child. She would not use abortion to reduce her own risk. Likewise, she would not shed innocent blood -- have the child directly killed. If ending the pregnancy became the only way to prevent both mother and child from dying, she might then consent to have the unborn child removed from her body. But she would not sign the unborn baby's death warrant. But these are the requirements Christian faith puts upon a woman. These are not principles that can be forced on unbelievers, or people of other faiths, who can not be expected to put faith and trust in Christ.
To require that the woman risk her life for the unborn child is no more just than to require that a man risk his life to save his child from a burning building. We would hope that parents would love their children that much, but we can not legally require anybody to die for somebody else.
This means that we can not prosecute the mother or doctor if abortion is resorted to as a desperate measure to save the mother's life. But it also means that we can't write a "life of the mother" exception into abortion law, because then we would be legally requiring the fetus to die to save the mother -- again, depriving someone of life without due process.
The brave mother who puts her life on the line for her child should be supported and admired, as we admire those who rush into a burning building to rescue trapped children. But we can't legally require it.
Now, what do you do with a nun that okays an abortion?
Certainly it should deserve at least as much deliberation -- if not more so -- than a situation in which a police officer kills somebody in the line of duty. We don't just let cops say, "I thought there was a danger so I shot him" and let it go at that. They can't just let the nun say, "I thought the mother's life was in danger so I okayed the abortion" and let it go at that.
You'd have to look not just at this situation, but at the nun's history. Is she a rebellious nun who clearly has just been looking for a justification for an abortion because she wants to challenge the Church's pro-life stand? Or has she been faithful, and only cleared this abortion as an act of desperation? Did she consult with others in the Church? Did she consult with specialists who had brought women in similar circumstances safely through pregnancy before?
That rare instance -- an abortion decision that's not just black and white. Have at it, kids.