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Catholic hospital has abortion halt policy

Feb. 9, 2011 at 2:47 PM   |   Comments

CHICAGO, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- A Chicago hospital says it will adopt a policy of halting second-trimester abortions for women who change their minds after beginning the multi-day procedure.

Resurrection Medical Center, a Catholic hospital, says if a woman arrives in its emergency room seeking to stop a second-trimester abortion begun elsewhere, she should be treated immediately, the Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday.

An anti-abortion alliance made up of the hospital, the Pro-Life Action League and The Women's Center touts the practice as a model for all Catholic hospitals.

Resurrection's decision to work with activists to halt abortions is "part of who we are," said Sister Donna Marie Wolowicki, Resurrection's chief executive officer.

"Catholic healthcare is to reach out to people and help them in their need," she said. "Of course, it's vital to be true to the ethics we believe in. Holding life sacred is a big piece of what we believe."

In a second-trimester abortion, on the first day doctors insert a dilator, often bundles of dried seaweed called laminaria, to soften a woman's cervix. The woman returns a second day so physicians can either can insert more dilator material or remove the fetus and complete the abortion.

Some doctors say undoing abortions in a hospital forbidden to do them in the first place has them concerned that the hospital's desire to take the correct Catholic course of action conflicts with the proper way to conduct a medical procedure.

"It's much more complicated. It's changing the chemistry of the cervix," said Dr. Cassing Hammond, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University. "The interventions that might be required are unclear."

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