Pro-abortion activist Jessica Valenti tweeted out a photo of a pro-life sign she found at a Catholic hospital, attempting to sound the alarm and drum up opposition. Valenti quickly found herself confronted with pro-life and Catholic supporters of the healthcare facility.
“St. Joseph’s Medical Center promotes the dignity of human life from the moment of conception until death. Therefore, abortion is not performed here,” read the sign displayed at the entrance to the Labor & Delivery Unit of Dignity Health’s St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Stockton, CA.
Valenti, whose following numbers 316,900, tore into the hospital on Twitter:
She speculated, “Or maybe, just maybe, this sign is simply meant to be a nasty, condescending shaming tactic that targets patients in their most vulnerable moments.”
While Valenti quickly followed up with a claim that she was not engaging in a simply anti-Catholic campaign against the pro-life sentiment on the sign, others pointed out that the prohibition of abortion is indeed an integral part of Catholic teaching.
St. Joseph’s Employee Policy Manual states, “St. Joseph’s Center adheres to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and the values of the Christian tradition. This includes the acknowledgement that all life is sacred and a gift from God.”
@Shimmersoft, who lives in “a world of pure imagination,” remarked:
Eugene Nier responded, “Um, who do you think created our healthcare system in the first place?”
Valenti has repeatedly used her platform, “Abortion Every Day,” to accuse Catholic healthcare systems of denying life-saving care to pregnant women.
The overwhelming majority of responses voiced support for the Catholic medical center and its right to free speech. Peter Neve tweeted:
Emily Rarick commented:
“Really and truly, how dare they,” Valenti’s thread scolded. “Imagine going in to deliver your baby and seeing this sign as a person who has had an abortion.”
As a woman who had an abortion I would be relieved to see this sign. My abortion resulted in PTSD and over a decade of depression. I’m in my 30s now. I want a doctor who will care for both of us even though I’m at a higher risk for complications.
Many pro-abortion activists accused the Catholic medical facility of denying lifesaving care to women undergoing miscarriage:
The ACLU, which defines elective tubal ligation as an “essential health service,” has recently accused Catholic hospitals of refusing “appropriate care” to women such as voluntary sterilization.
In general abortion promoters incorrectly use the term “abortion” to refer to basic treatments for miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies. St. Joseph’s, however, does not define “abortion” in the same way.
St. Joseph’s operates under the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (ERD) published by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), which defines abortion as “the directly intended termination of pregnancy before viability or the directly intended destruction of a viable fetus.”
In the rare cases in which it is medically impossible to save both the unborn child and the mother, Catholic moral teachings hold that doctors may make the tragic – but morally upright – choice to save the mother even if the procedure used indirectly lead to the death of the child.
St. Joseph’s staff is subject to the moral principle of “double effect,” which allows them to save the life of the mother in cases where her life is threatened during pregnancy. The ERD states:
Operations, treatments, and medications that have as their direct purpose the cure of a proportionately serious pathological condition of a pregnant woman are permitted when they cannot be safely postponed until the unborn child is viable, even if they will result in the death of the unborn child.
The clearest example of such a case is that of an ectopic pregnancy, in which the child implants in the mother’s fallopian tube and will certainly die if left there. In addition, the tube could rupture and kill the mother. In such a case, Catholic physicians must remove the fallopian tube to save the life of the only person in the situation who can live, knowing that as a result the child will die.
St. Joseph’s Medical Center did not respond immediately to requests for comment.