Posts Tagged “abortion”
As if anyone needed further proof how reprehensible the Roman Catholic Church’s dogmatic approach toward women is, here’s one more sterling example. The Irish Times reports on a woman who died because a hospital’s allegiance to the R.C. Church was stronger than its desire to keep her alive (WebCite cached article):
Savita Halappanavar (31), a dentist, presented with back pain at the hospital on October 21st, was found to be miscarrying, and died of septicaemia a week later.
Her husband, Praveen Halappanavar (34), an engineer at Boston Scientific in Galway, says she asked several times over a three-day period that the pregnancy be terminated. He says that, having been told she was miscarrying, and after one day in severe pain, Ms Halappanavar asked for a medical termination.
This was refused, he says, because the foetal heartbeat was still present and they were told, “this is a Catholic country”.
She spent a further 2½ days “in agony” until the foetal heartbeat stopped.
Sadly, this proved to too late for Ms Halappanavar; she died of septicemia a few days later.
I’m not sure, but I don’t think University Hospital Galway is Catholic Church-owned or -operated. So this might not be a case where the Church directly and on its own orders caused Ms Halappanavar’s death. Nevertheless, even if it’s not, Catholicism taught the fiercely dogmatic medical philosophy which was applied here, so Church culpability is unavoidable.
I have to ask all of you supposedly “pro-life” Catholics out there who are proud to trumpet that “all life is sacred” and that’s why you militate against any and all kinds of abortion: Please explain how and why your Church’s policy, in this case, did anything to protect “life”? In the name of protecting a dying fetus — which you claim is a “life” than must be saved — you ended up losing both that fetus and the mother who carried it. So whose “life,” here, was protected? I want to know how that “pro-life” policy works, when by your own definitions of “life,” two lives were lost in this case, one inevitably, the other needlessly.
I dare you to explain this. Really. Honest. If you truly believe your Church’s doctrines have any veracity, and if you’re secure in your “pro-life” beliefs, then you should have no problem doing so. So go ahead. Do it. The comment box below is available for you, so get to work and explain this. If you dare.*
Note that this event puts the lie to (now lame-duck) Rep. Joe Walsh’s claim that medical advances have made it so that it’s never necessary to abort a fetus in order to save a woman’s life. We all knew he was talking out his misogynistic, religiofascist ass when he made that comment, but this example provides verifiable, incontrovertible — and horrific — evidence that he was absolutely wrong.
*Appeals to ignorance … such as the old & tired “it’s a mystery” or “God works in mysterious ways” … will not suffice, so don’t insult me by offering anything like that. Those clichés aren’t explanations of the benefits of Catholic doctrine. They’re just admissions of ignorance, and falling back on them betrays a lack of desire to provide an explanation.
Photo credit: Irish Times.
Hat tip: Unreasonable Faith & Friendly Atheist.
, catholic church
, needless death
, roman catholic
, roman catholic church
, savita halappanavar
, university hospital galway
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On a few occasions I’ve mentioned that the Religious Right tries to make their irrational, reflexive opposition to abortion appear to have a reasonable, even scientific veneer. Their problem is that it’s a lie; their real motivation is their religionistic hatred of women and a desire to control them. Rep Todd Akin, for example, revealed the disingenuity of this effort back in August, when he claimed that a woman cannot be impregnated during rape. Late last week, as the Los Angeles Times reports, Illinois Rep Joe Walsh stepped into the same trap himself (WebCite cached article):
Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), who is facing a tough race to retain his seat in Congress, told reporters Thursday that he was opposed to abortion under any circumstances — and that thanks to medical progress, “you can’t find one instance” when it might be necessary to perform an abortion to protect a woman’s health.
“There’s no such exception as life of the mother,” Walsh said, according to this report from Bloomberg News. “And as far as health of the mother, same thing, with advances in science and technology. Health of the mother has become a tool for abortions any time, under any reason.”
Walsh, you see, is among the most fiercely Puritanical of the anti-abortionists, who refuse to provide any exceptions in their anti-abortion legislation. His problem — aside from the fact that he has no medical training whatsoever and hasn’t the expertise to make this claim — is that this is simply not true:
Within hours, women’s heath advocates — and physicians — attacked his remarks.
“Joe Walsh’s ignorance about women’s health is alarming,” said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the advocacy arm of Planned Parenthood, in a statement.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) fired its own salvo, calling the congressman’s comments “inaccurate” in a widely distributed response.
“Abortions are necessary in a number of circumstances to save the life of a woman or to preserve her health,” the doctors’ organization said. The group reported that more than 600 women die every year from pregnancy and childbirth-related causes and that “many more would die each year if they did not have access to abortion.”
There are, in fact, any number of problems that might come along, which require an abortion to save a woman’s life. Walsh cannot simply declare they don’t exist. For him to do so, is fucking ridiculous.
I have news for Rep Walsh and others of his ilk: That you have certain metaphysics beliefs — e.g. that abortion is impermissible — does not entitle you to lie in support of that belief. You can’t just make scientific or medical claims that aren’t true, in order to make your beliefs apear valid. That he’d do this, places Rep Walsh in my “lying liars for Jesus” club, where he’s sure to enjoy the company.
Finally, that Rep Walsh thinks women must be allowed to die, merely because of a problem during their pregnancies, is a downright evil proposition. Even so, he’s not the only one who espouses this very philosophy; The Roman Catholic Church teaches it, too.
Photo credit: PsiCop original, based on proverb.
, christian right
, joe walsh
, pregnant women
, religious right
, rep joe walsh
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In various posts, I’ve tangentially mentioned the phenomenon of the non-apology apology. This is when someone who’s done something wrong, tries to take it back, but without really admitting wrongdoing, without really explaining what s/he did, and/or by cluttering the matter up with deflections. Senate candidate Todd Akin of Missouri, about whom I blogged yesterday, thoughtfully provides us with a sterling example of what a “non-apology apology” is. Talking Points Memo reports what he had to say (WebCite cached article). I will parse this “apology” out and demonstrate how, point by point, Akin actually failed to apologize:
As a member of Congress, I believe that working to protect the most vulnerable in our society is one of my most important responsibilities, and that includes protecting both the unborn and victims of sexual assault.
The trouble with this sentence is, his comments had nothing whatever to do with “protecting” any “victims of sexual assault.” By talking about “legitimate rape” (as opposed to “illegitimate rape,” I guess) he was suggesting that some rapes are not actually “rapes.” I don’t see how that could “protect” any woman at all.
In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it’s clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year.
This is failure point two: Akin did not “misspeak.” Rather, he blathered on about something in detail, even mentioning that doctors had told him women’s reproductive systems shut down and prevent pregnancy during rape. That’s not misuse of a word or phrase. That’s a specific, purposeful invention … and it’s likely a fiction (since I doubt any doctor ever told him such a thing).
Those who perpetrate these crimes are the lowest of the low in our society and their victims will have no stronger advocate in the Senate to help ensure they have the justice they deserve.
Failure point three: It’s all well and good that he can say rapists “are the lowest of the low in our society,” but when he gave away the fact that he thinks not all rapes are true “rapes,” what good is it for him to say this?
I recognize that abortion, and particularly in the case of rape, is a very emotionally charged issue.
This is perhaps the one honest statement Akin makes: Yes, indeed, abortion is emotionally-charged. It’s the emotionally-charged nature of the pro-life movement that Akin has latched onto and is trying to appeal to for votes. Emotion is indeed the main fuel of the pro-life movement.
But I believe deeply in the protection of all life and I do not believe that harming another innocent victim is the right course of action.
Failure point four: This is a deflection. Here he diverts attention from his asinine comments, and toward his pro-life stance. Repeating that he’s pro-life … which by now everyone already knows, anyway … does nothing to convey the slightest contrition over the comments he’s supposedly trying to apologize for.
I also recognize that there are those who, like my opponent, support abortion and I understand I may not have their support in this election.
Failure point five: Akin is playing the “martyr” card. Poor me, he’s saying, there are people whose votes I can never get, because <sniff> they hate me for being pro-life <sniff> and I can’t get them to <sniff> change their minds about me. All I can say to that is — Boo fucking hoo, Rep. Akin.
But I also believe that this election is about a wide range of very important issues, starting with the economy and the type of country we will be leaving our children and grandchildren.
This is failure point six, and another deflection. Akin is saying, Stop whining about me, let’s bellyache about the economy instead. Unfortunately his original comments had nothing to do with the economy, therefore his apology cannot have anything to do with the economy.
We’ve had 42 straight months of unacceptably high unemployment, trillion-dollar deficits, and Democratic leaders in Washington who are focused on growing government, instead of jobs.
Failure point seven, and yet another deflection. Once again, Akin brings up something that has absolutely nothing to do with the comments he’s ostensibly apologizing for.
That is my primary focus in this campaign and while there are those who want to distract from that, knowing they cannot defend the Democrats’ failed economic record of the last four years, that will continue to be my focus in the months ahead.
Failure point eight, and for the exact same reason.
Note what Rep. Akin did not include in his so-called “apology”: An explanation for how and why he thought women’s reproductive systems disable themselves during a rape. He specifically mentioned that doctors (plural!) had told him about it, but in his “apology” he doesn’t mention this at all. He doesn’t tell us which doctors told him this, nor does he say where else he might have gotten this idea from. It’s a significant component of the original remarks he claims to be apologizing for, yet he glosses them over as though he’d never said them.
Oh, and the icing on the cake of Akin’s putative “apology”? He put up a Web page on his site mentioning that he’s sorry (cached) … and right below it, a solicitation for campaign donations! How much more fucking mercenary could the man get!? He can’t even manage to apologize — if one can call it that (and as I’ve shown, one can’t) — without also putting his hand out for more money.
I close this by thanking Rep. Akin for offering this lesson in non-apology apologies. Public relations folks will no doubt look to this as an exemplar they can work from in the future.
Update: Politico reports Akin is doubling-down on his playing of the “martyr card” (cached). The “liberal media,” it seems, are out to get the poor little thing. Of course, he’s forgetting that a lot of his critics — including GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his VP choice Paul Ryan — can hardly be called part of “the liberal media.” There there, little Toddie, everything will be OK. Quick, someone give the little crybaby a pacifier … !
Photo credit: Courtesy of LOL Builder.
, christian right
, non-apology apology
, religious right
, rep todd akin
, todd akin
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For a number of years now the Religious Right has been casting about for ways to cloak their opposition to abortion behind a veneer of rationality and/or practicality. It’s very common, for example, for them to claim abortion must be outlawed because of its supposed adverse effect on women’s mental health. (As if the fact that an event can be stressful is a valid reason to outlaw it — lots of things are psychologically stressful, such as watching one’s child learn to drive for the first time, and I can’t see any reason to prohibit that.)
Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin from Missouri, attempted another such rationale, as reported by the New York Times, and the result was a colossal faceplant of the first order (WebCite cached article):
In an effort to explain his stance on abortion, Representative Todd Akin, the Republican Senate nominee from Missouri, provoked ire across the political spectrum on Sunday by saying that in instances of what he called “legitimate rape,” women’s bodies somehow blocked an unwanted pregnancy. …
“It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Mr. Akin said of pregnancies from rape. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”
If you’re like me, you may have a hard time believing a Senate candidate actually spoke these words. But I assure you, he did. He said them during an interview on KTVI-TV, and you can read about it on their own Web site (cached).
First, there’s no such thing as a “‘legitimate’ rape.” It’s a contradiction in terms. All rapes are criminal acts. There is never anything “legitimate” about any kind of criminal act. There’s literally no way that any “rape” can ever have any “legitimacy.”
Second, I’ve never heard that, during the course of a rape, a woman’s reproductive system turns itself off. Of course, I’m no doctor, and I can’t really know that for sure. If Akin cares to disclose which doctors told him this, I’d love to review their work. But until he substantiates this claim, I have to assume it’s just Religious Rightist bullshit.
Now, I’m sure folks in the R.R. will nonetheless defend these indefensible comments. They’ll say he meant to talk about “‘true’ rape” and not “‘legitimate’ rape.” There are some folks who believe — and I assume Akin is one of them? — that some rapes are not “really” rapes (e.g. “date” or “acquaintance rape”). But even this intended meaning is problematic, because in the end, there is no difference: A rape is a rape is a rape — period. End of discussion!
As for the part about women’s reproductive systems resisting pregnancy while they’re being raped, I can’t think of any way that might be defended … but that doesn’t mean some vehement Rightist won’t come up with some asinine, irrational justification for it.
As far as I can see, any Rightists who are upset over Akin’s comments are not upset over their content, but over the fact that they will be used against him in the election and they’re risking not acquiring a Senate seat.
At any rate, this is another post I’m tagging “You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me,” for obvious reasons.
Note: It turns out Akin’s outrageousness is, in fact, being actively defended by at least one influential Religious Rightist and his organization. Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council apparently approves of the idea that some rapes are “legitimate” and that women’s reproductive systems prevent pregnancies when they’re raped (cached). I knew I could count on at least one of these mindless goons to defend the indefensible. Let’s see how many more do so over the next couple days.
Update: As the Friendly Atheist points out, Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association is also defending Akin … in particular, the medical part of his asinine remarks.
Photo credit: Demotivators blog (defunct).
Tags: 2012 election
, christian right
, religious right
, rep todd akin
, todd akin
, us congress
, us senate
, you've gotta be fucking kidding me
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On the heels of proposed legislation in South Dakota that might place abortion providers in jeopardy, another proposed law, in Georgia, would outlaw abortion and make any miscarriage — even a spontaneous one — automatically a criminal matter. As with the S.D. bill, it’s Mother Jones reporting on state representative Bobby Franklin’s attempt to legislate Georgians’ obedience to his fierce religionism (WebCite cached article):
Georgia State Rep. Bobby Franklin [cached]—who last year proposed making [cached] rape and domestic violence “victims” into “accusers”—has introduced a 10-page bill [cached] that would criminalize miscarriages and make abortion in Georgia completely illegal. Both miscarriages and abortions would be potentially punishable by death: any “prenatal murder” in the words of the bill, including “human involvement” in a miscarriage, would be a felony and carry a penalty of life in prison or death.
Criminal investigations into all miscarriages in Georgia would be required, and this is problematic for any woman who happens to miscarry:
Under Rep. Franklin’s bill, HB 1, women who miscarry could become felons if they cannot prove that there was “no human involvement whatsoever in the causation” of their miscarriage. There is no clarification of what “human involvement” means, and this is hugely problematic as medical doctors do not know exactly [cached] what causes miscarriages.
In other words, a woman who miscarried carries the burdon of proving she did not cause the miscarriage … and if she cannot do this, she must be prosecuted.
Christians’ hatred for women is beyond belief. We have chaplains who think rapes are “God’s will”; a Religious Rightist who approves of a sexual assault on a woman because she works for the mass media; and the Roman Catholic Church thinks pregnant women are obliged to die if an abortion is needed to save their lives. What the fuck is wrong with Christianity in the US? Seriously!? Are you people so far gone that you have no conception of the evil you’re promoting in the name of your deity?
Here’s a warning to you Christians, which comes straight from the gospels you revere:
Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:21-23)
Hat tip: Mark at Skeptics & Heretics Forum at Delphi Forums.
, atlanta GA
, bobby franklin
, prenatal murder
, rep bobby franklin
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The vast armies of the Religious Right are on the march, and are working harder than ever before to turn the US into a Christofascist paradise. The 2010 elections have fired them up, and they’re taking no prisoners. The latest example of this trend comes from South Dakota, where a bill under consideration may make it legally permissible to kill abortion doctors. You read that right. Mother Jones reports on S.D. House Bill 1171 and its possible ramifications (WebCite cached article):
A law under consideration in South Dakota would expand the definition of “justifiable homicide” to include killings that are intended to prevent harm to a fetus—a move that could make it legal to kill doctors who perform abortions. The Republican-backed legislation, House Bill 1171 [cached], has passed out of committee on a nine-to-three party-line vote, and is expected to face a floor vote in the state’s GOP-dominated House of Representatives soon.
The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Phil Jensen, a committed foe of abortion rights [cached], alters the state’s legal definition of justifiable homicide by adding language stating that a homicide is permissible if committed by a person “while resisting an attempt to harm” that person’s unborn child or the unborn child of that person’s spouse, partner, parent, or child. If the bill passes, it could in theory allow a woman’s father, mother, son, daughter, or husband to kill anyone who tried to provide that woman an abortion—even if she wanted one.
In a follow-up story also offered by Mother Jones (cached), Jensen was defiant about it:
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Phil Jensen (R), spoke to Mother Jones on Tuesday morning, after the story was published. He disagreed with this interpretation of the bill, claiming that it is simply meant to “bring consistency to South Dakota statute as it relates to justifiable homicide.” This echoes the argument he made in the committee hearing on the bill last week. “If you look at the code, these codes are dealing with illegal acts. Now, abortion is a legal act. So this has got nothing to do with abortion.” Jensen also aggressively defended the bill [cached] in an interview with the Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent on Tuesday morning.
So, we have here a man who’s on the record as opposing abortion, and who sponsors a bill that has implications for abortion … yet somehow I’m supposed to believe him when he says it “has got nothing to do with abortion”? Really!? Sorry, Representative, I’m not stupid enough to buy that. Not for one moment.
Folks, the relentless onslaught of Christofascism is coming.
Hat tip: Mark at Skeptics & Heretics Forum on Delphi Forums, and Religion Dispatches.
Photo credit: Rockford Register Star.
, abortion doctors
, abortion rights
, hb 1171
, house bill 1171
, justifiable homicide
, phil jensen
, pierre SD
, religious right
, south dakota
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The blogosphere has raged over the past few days over the remarks of former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum’s comments about abortion. Naturally, he’s against it — even when the mother’s life is in danger — which follows his Catholic religion’s teaching that women’s lives are forfeit the moment they become pregnant. His remarks that have sparked controversy came in an interview with CNS News, where he said the following, as Huff reports (WebCite cached article):
A conservative Republican from Pennsylvania, Santorum has signaled he’s mulling a run for the White House in the next election cycle. During the interview, he voiced his staunchly pro-life stance, as well as his belief that when life begins “is not a debatable issue,” before going on to criticize the president.
“The question is, and this is what Barack Obama didn’t want to answer — is that human life a person under the constitution?” he said. “And Barack Obama says no. Well if that human life is not a person then I find it almost remarkable for a black man to say ‘now we are going to decide who are people and who are not people.’”
Video of his remarks is courtesy of Youtube:
The buzz that’s erupted around the Internet is that “Santorum is a racist!” Well, I’m no fan of Santorum. He’s a ferocious Christofascist who probably has not had an original thought in his head for the last 3 or 4 decades; he’s only capable of continuously spewing religious and ideological doctrine told to him by others. So don’t think I’m defending him … I’m not. But really, I’m not sure this is evidence he’s a “racist.”
His comments are actually an indirect, implied version of the fallacious reductio ad Hitlerum, a reprehensible propaganda device I’ve blogged about on many occasions already. Now, Dear Reader, if you’re the critical thinker I hope you are, you must be wondering where I got that from … and you’d be 100% right to ask how I could draw such an inference. So here goes.
Santorum’s remark suggests that abortion is used to control the population of “undesirables” or as a tool of discrimination. This is, basically, eugenics. As such, this alludes to the Third Reich and its various policies intended to eliminate “degenerates” and — supposedly — improve the “Aryan race.”
I concede that Santorum never mentioned Hitler or the Nazis, however, the Religious Right frequently states explicitly that abortion choice equates with eugenics, which equates with Hitler. Here is one example of what Santorum is alluding to, and here’s another, and here’s yet another.
There is no way that Santorum’s intended audience would have failed to recognize his reference.
Isn’t it time for this kind of baseless, fallacious, personal demonization of others to stop? It’s childish at best, and disingenuous at worst. I don’t care for the reductio ad Hitlerum when the Left uses it, and find it still less appropriate for the Right — which prides itself on having upstanding morals — to engage in it.
Here’s my personal rule when it comes to this propaganda device, paraphrased from a saying used by the character Salvor Hardin in Isaac Asimov’s Foundation: “The reductio ad Hitlerum is the last resort of the intellectually bankrupt.”
My final note is that people like Rick Santorum — who would like to turn the US into a Christianized fascist regime — are hypocritical to accuse their ideological opponents of being Nazis. Of course, no Religious Rightist ever fails to disobey Jesus’ own explicit, clear injunction against being hypocritical … but hey, what can you expect from irrational militant religionists like Santorum?
Photo credit: Austin Cline / Atheism/Agnosticism at About.Com.
, adolf hitler
, appeal to hitler
, appeal to nazis
, barack obama
, christian right
, cns news
, nazi party
, reductio ad hitlerum
, religious right
, rick santorum
, third reich
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… if their lives are threatened by pregnancy complications. That’s right: Roman Catholic doctrine holds that pregnant women’s lives are forfeit. Proof of this insane doctrine comes in the form of an Arizona hospital losing its affiliation with the Church because it chose to save the life of a mother. The Houston Chronicle reports on this travesty (WebCitation cached article):
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. …
“In the decision to abort, the equal dignity of mother and her baby were not both upheld,” [Phoenix bishop Thomas] Olmsted said at a news conference announcing the decision. “The mother had a disease that needed to be treated. But instead of treating the disease, St. Joseph’s medical staff and ethics committee decided that the healthy, 11-week-old baby should be directly killed.”
Unfortunately, the hospital staff didn’t really have this choice. They had no time. The mother was fading fast. For what it’s worth, the hospital is not apologetic about this, and even in spite of this institutional excommunication, they’re standing by what they did:
Linda Hunt, president of St. Joseph’s, said doctors performed a necessary procedure on a patient who was getting worse by the minute and was in imminent danger of death.
“If we are presented with a situation in which a pregnancy threatens a woman’s life, our first priority is to save both patients. If that is not possible, we will always save the life we can save, and that is what we did in this case,” Hunt said. “Morally, ethically, and legally, we simply cannot stand by and let someone die whose life we might be able to save.”
Hospital management considered the bishop’s demands extreme and would not give in:
Dr. Charles Alfano, chief medical officer at the hospital and an obstetrician there, said Olmsted was asking the impossible from the hospital.
“Specifically the fact that [Bishop Olmsted] requested we admit the procedure performed was an abortion and that it was a violation of the ethical and religious directives and that we would not perform such a procedure in the future,” he said. “We could not agree to that. We acted appropriately.”
The reason the bishop was so incensed about what St Joseph’s did? It was the “scandal” produced by it:
“They have not addressed in an adequate manner the scandal caused by the abortion,” [Olmsted] said.
That’s right, folks. The bishop didn’t cut off the hospital over the abortion per se, but over the “scandal” it produced.
Well, Bishop, may I suggest you’ve already got your hands full of one major multinational scandal already … you might consider resolving that in a candid, upright, and moral manner — before demanding any other scandal be dealt with.
And this is a lesson to any expecting mothers out there … beware of being treated in a Catholic hospital, should you have any problems before birth. Not all of them will be like St Joseph’s and fight the Church to save your life.
Photo credit: Demotivators.
, bishop thomas olmsted
, catholic church
, charles alfano
, diocese of phoenix
, health care
, linda hunt
, phoenix AZ
, roman catholic
, roman catholic church
, st joseph hospital
, st joseph hospital and medical center
, thomas olmsted
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