Health

Tamesha Means, Who Suffered Miscarriage, Sues U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Over Care At Catholic Hospital

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A woman in Michigan suffered a miscarriage more than four months into her pregnancy and she claims that she wasn’t given appropriate treatment at a Catholic hospital over its religious views.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Michigan are suing the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on behalf of Michigan woman Tamesha Means. The lawsuit was filed Friday in U.S. district court in eastern Michigan, according to NBC News, which reports that the suit comes amid growing numbers of mergers between Catholic hospitals and non-religious systems in the country and it argues that the Bishops’ directives — particularly those that ban abortion — result in negligent treatment for certain patients.

USA Today reports that according to the lawsuit, the anti-abortion directive contributed to a painful miscarriage and offered the 30-year-old Means no options.

Means was reportedly rushed to Mercy Health Partners in Muskegon, Mich., in December of 2010, when her water broke after 18 weeks of pregnancy. The hospital sent her home twice, even though she was in “excruciating pain.” There was virtually no chance that her pregnancy could survive, and continuing the pregnancy posed a significant risk to the mother’s health, she alleged in the lawsuit.

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Means also alleges that the hospital said there was nothing it could do and did not tell her that abortion was an option.

“They never offered me any options,” Means said in a statement. “They didn’t tell me what was happening to my body. Whatever was going on with me, they discussed it amongst themselves. I was just left to wonder, ‘What’s going to happen to me?’”

The lawsuit aims to highlight what the ACLU calls the “trauma and harm that Tamesha and other pregnant women in similar situations have experienced at Catholic-sponsored hospitals.”

“They have an obligation to ensure that the directives do not increase harm to women’s health and that women have the information they need,” ACLU spokesperson Louise Melling said.

The suit reportedly seeks damages to be awarded at a jury trial.

Sources: USA Today, NBC News