Catholic Church Cuts Ties With Hospital Over Abortion Phoenix facility performed one to save the mother's life By John Johnson, Newser Staff Posted Dec 22, 2010 4:08 PM CST 48 comments Comments A cross stands as a monument to the late Polish Pope John Paul II, in Warsaw, Poland. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski) (Newser) – When a Catholic hospital in Phoenix performed an abortion to save the life of the mother, the Catholic Church excommunicated the nun who gave the go-ahead. Now it's severed ties with the hospital itself, reports the Los Angeles Times. The city's bishop stripped St. Joseph's Hospital of its Catholic affiliation yesterday. "The faithful of the diocese have a right to know whether institutions of this importance are indeed Catholic in identity and practice," he said. The procedure took place in 2009 when doctors determined that the woman, already the mother of four, had such severe pulmonary hypertension that she needed the abortion to survive. At 11 weeks, the fetus was too young to save. Says a Gonzaga professor who specializes in religious ethics: "How is that better for anybody (if) both the woman and the fetus die, and then you have four orphans and a widower left at home?"