The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly

Volume 14, Issue 3, Autumn 2014

Pages 477-489

Medical Intervention in Cases of Maternal–Fetal Vital Conflicts
A Statement of Consensus

This statement articulates a consensus of participants in a colloquium organized and sponsored by Ascension Health. The purpose was to consider what, if any, clinical interventions would be consistent with the Catholic moral tradition in the event that a woman’s life is threatened because her body is unable to adapt to the changes associated with pregnancy because of a preexisting pathology. An example is peripartum cardiomyopathy in pregnancy. The consensus is offered for evaluating the morality of medical interventions in such cases and as the basis for developing clinical guidelines consistent with Catholic teaching and the standard of care. The colloquium participants agree that induction before viability to eliminate a grave and present danger posed by a life-threatening condition resulting from the interaction of a normally functioning placenta with diseased organs of the mother can be consistent with Catholic Church teaching and the moral tradition. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 14.3 (Autumn 2014): 477–489.