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Meaning, if a woman is pregnant and she suffers a life-threatening complication, like pre-eclampsia, her health might depend on delivering that baby ASAP, even if it’s too young to survive outside the womb. Most Catholic hospitals would agree that, under these circumstances, she needs to be induced, even though delivery will inevitably result in the baby’s death.
Still, some hospitals follow a “no terminations ever” policy, leaving no options for women in a life threatening situation. Mothers should think about three things when delivering in Catholic hospitals:
1) The unlikely chance they’ll need to terminate their pregnancy for health reasons.
2) What they’ll do if they want to have their tubes tied.
3) How they feel about delivering at a hospital with a religious perspective that may or may not reflect their own values.
I recommend women talk to their doctors about these issues early on in their prenatal care. Example: “What do you do when a patient needs to terminate her pregnancy?” In most cases, the doctor would present the medical case to the hospitals’ ethics review board (it’s a fast process), and permission would be granted for a medically necessary procedure. If that board denies permission, then other arrangements must be made.