British cardinal insists on pro-life ethics at “celebrity” Catholic hospital

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor

.- A prominent Catholic hospital in London is debating whether to institute a pro-life code of ethics at the behest of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the Archbishop of Westminster, The Telegraph reports.

The new code of ethics for the north London hospital of St. John and St. Elizabeth's would bar doctors from referring abortions or providing contraceptives.  The code results from an investigation last year that found that medical staff was already violating Church teaching.  Though intended to be implemented at the start of the year, it has faced resistance from doctors and executives.

Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor has said “It is important to give a sign to society that here is a hospital which will adhere to this particular code.” 

National Health Service contracts require some hospital doctors to provide some family planning services.

The hospital, which was founded in 1856, was once run by the Sisters of Mercy.  At present, its maternity ward is popular among celebrities.  The actresses Cate Blanchett and Emma Thompson and the models Kate Moss and Heather Mills have given birth there.

If the hospital board fails to adopt the code of ethics, it could lose its status as a Catholic hospital, the cardinal said.  "If it came to crunch I would say this is no longer a Catholic hospital but I won’t want to do that. I want it to be a pro-life hospital."


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