Catholic Church: Double Effect is wrong

Well, they didn’t really say that. But they effectively stated as much when they stripped an Arizona hospital of its affiliation with the church.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix stripped a major hospital of its affiliation with the church Tuesday because of a surgery that ended a woman’s pregnancy to save her life.

Bishop Thomas Olmsted called the 2009 procedure an abortion and said St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center — recognized internationally for its neurology and neurosurgery practices — violated ethical and religious directives of the national Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In fact, the woman was virtually guaranteed to die if she continued to carry the 11 week old fetus much longer. Now keep that in mind:

Double effect is the ethical principle which says something is ethical so long as it conforms to these four conditions:

1. The nature-of-the-act condition. The action must be either morally good or indifferent.
2. The means-end condition. The bad effect must not be the means by which one achieves the good effect.
3. The right-intention condition. The intention must be the achieving of only the good effect, with the bad effect being only an unintended side effect.
4. The proportionality condition. The good effect must be at least equivalent in importance to the bad effect.

This case in Arizona is textbook. The first condition is satisfied because the act was to save the mother’s life. The second condition is satisfied because the means is the removal of a physical condition, not the explicit murder of another person. The third condition is satisfied because the doctors only want to save the mother’s life, not destroy the fetus. The fourth condition is satisfied because even if the fetus is a human, the mother’s life must be equally considered.

In fact, double effect isn’t really important here because the fetus is not a human being, but I digress.

The church stripped the hospital of its status (and, really, that’s a good thing anyway) because it thinks the woman should have risked certain death (which isn’t really a risk, now is it?). We know the end result would be the death of her and her fetus. How that is considered good is a mystery.

And that raises another point, doesn’t it? What methodology, what guidelines, what anything does the Bible (or any holy book) offer in this situation? One person unfamiliar with basic, classic philosophical examples couldn’t come up with an answer. (In fact, he might say the problem here was just logistics.) It doesn’t look like the Catholic Church has an answer either.

It’s unfortunate that the hospital says it will still follow Catholic Church guidelines (not Biblical guidelines…since they do not exist), but this is an overall good incident. While I hate to see the sort of irrational arguments that say the saving of one life is really just abortion of another, it’s fantastic that the Church has severed its formal ties with an institution committed to actually helping people. I hope that whenever necessary the hospital will not hesitate to continue saving living humans.

Hurray! Internalization. Again.

Asshat Trooper Michael Galluccio risked the health of a soon-to-be-born baby and its mother for the sake of giving someone a ticket. That ticket was overturned because it was given improperly. The trooper got off without a real scratch. He should have been suspended without pay for at least a day for his stupidity and rule internalization. He wasn’t. No huge injustice. Now take this incident. If the officer is not fired, he should at least be suspended, given a pay cut, and put on some sort of administrative probation. He clearly can not do his job correctly.

Officer Robert Powell pulled over Houston Texans running back Ryan Moats’ sport utility vehicle outside Baylor Regional Medical Center in Plano as he and his relatives were hurrying to see his dying mother-in-law on March 18.

Callers are tying up 911 lines to complain about the stop.

Police are asking people to stop calling 911 to sound off about the incident, because the calls are keeping dispatchers from responding to emergencies.

People are also calling the police department directly — some from as far away as Lansdale, Pa., Washington, D.C., and New York City.

Dallas police estimated Thursday night they are getting about 150 calls per hour.

Moats spoke with Kevin Scott and Greg Hill on 105.3 The Fan KRLD-FM on Thursday about the incident.

Video from a dashboard camera inside the officer’s vehicle revealed an intense exchange in which the officer threatened to jail Moats.

He ordered Moats’ wife, Tamishia Moats, to get back in the SUV, but she ignored him and rushed inside the hospital.

She was by the side of Jonetta Collinsworth, 45, when her mother died a short time later.

Collinsworth had breast cancer.

“Get in there,” said Powell, yelling at 27-year-old Tamishia Moats, as she exited the car. “Let me see your hands!”

“Excuse me, my mom is dying,” Tamishia Moats said. “Do you understand?”

Moats explained that he waited until there was no traffic before proceeding through the red light and that his mother-in-law was dying, right then.

Moats couldn’t find his insurance paperwork and was desperate to leave.

“Listen, if I can’t verify you have insurance…,” Powell said.

“My mother-in-law is dying,” Moats interrupted.

As they argued, the officer got irritated.

“Shut your mouth,” Powell said. “You can either settle down and cooperate, or I can just take you to jail for running a red light.”

It is quite irrelevant what the result is with the dying mother-in-law. This is awful, irresponsible, dumb, unthinking, robotic rule internalization. It deserves punishment whether she lives or dies. Unfortunately…

At one point during the stop, a nurse walked out from the hospital and talked to a guard.

The guard walked up to Powell and can be heard saying, “Hey, that’s the nurse, she said that the mom is dying right now. And she’s the one saying get him up there right now before she passes.”

On the video, Powell can be heard saying, “All right. OK, I’m almost done.”

Powell can be seen walking toward Moats and handing him the ticket.

“Attitude is everything, OK?” he is heard saying. “All you had to do was stop and tell me what was going on, more than likely, I would have let you go.”

By the time the 26-year-old NFL player received a ticket and a lecture from Powell, at least 13 minutes had passed.

When he and Collinsworth’s father entered the hospital, they learned she was dead, the Dallas Morning News reported in Thursday’s editions.

Let’s recap: Man is rushing to hospital. He sees a red light and slows down to be sure no traffic is coming. Thus, he has accomplished the point of the law concerning red lights: to prevent collisions. Note, this is after 1:30 a.m. After being sure of everyone’s safety, he runs the red light. An officer sees this and attempts to pull the man over. The man puts on his hazard lights, pulls into the parking lot of the hospital, and everyone explains, in plain language, what the situation is. At least two people ignore the police officer and run inside. The police officer does not chase these people, call for backup, or taken any action that indicates he believes anyone is trying to run from the police. A security officer and a nurse both explain to the officer why he is being such a fucking retard. He still finishes up his ticket. He then tells the man how he should behave. Woman dies while this happens.

At what point is this okay? Sure, give the guy the traffic ticket. A good case can be made that he achieved a high enough level of safety to run the light, but people aren’t infallible. So maybe he gets a ticket. But detaining him? The officer clearly did not think the other people in the vehicle were trying to escape. He didn’t even really try and make them stay. What good reason could he have for detaining the driver? Ah, right. “Attitude is everything.” The officer determined that it was in everyone’s best interest if he treated people like 3rd graders and taught them how to behave. Awesome.

Fuck this guy.

Let’s not forget this name: Officer Robert Powell.

Update: Oh, and he pulled a gun on the family.