British Catholic Cardinal Dismisses Hospital Board Over Abortion Referrals

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 24, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 24
, 2008

London, England ( — A leading Catholic Church official in England has dismissed the board of directors of a hospital after they refused to bring the health center’s policies in line with the Church on abortion. Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor booted the entire board of St John and St Elizabeth Hospital over abortion referrals.

The Catholic Church had been going the rounds with hospital administrators for two years over the abortions and the distribution of the morning after pill.

The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith asked Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor to look into the hospital practices. The leader found the hospital was violating its own code of ethics, which forbids violating Catholic doctrine.

Following the analysis, Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor ordered the hospital to stop the objectionable practices, but two administrations resigned claiming he was putting Catholic moral values ahead of patient care.

In the wake of dismissing the board of directors, Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor has appointed Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank as the new chairman of the board.

In January 2006, Murphy-O’Connor spokesman Dr. Austen Ivereigh said the Catholic leader said, "There has been a moral awakening over the last few years about abortion."

"The Cardinal sees in this moral awakening a growing unease with, and erosion of, the idea of abortion as simply a woman’s right," he added.

About 200,000 women have abortions annually in Britain and about 1.5 percent of those occur after 20 weeks of pregnancy.