• Catholic Hospital Argues That Fetuses Are Not People

    The Catholic Church is ardently pro-life, this is simply due to the fact that they believe life begins at conception and personhood is established as soon as the egg is fertilised.  You will never see labels such as “embryo”, “blastocyst” or “fetus” in their pro-life literature. Instead you will find terms such as “unborn child” and “unborn baby”; in essence, the only distinction that is made between a blastocyst and an actual baby is the fact that one hasn’t been born yet; the unborn child should enjoy the same rights as the baby which has been born, regardless of what stage the pregnancy is at. However, this stance was quickly dropped when there was a risk of a law suit, as reported by the Colorado Independent.

    Lori Stodghill was 31-years old, seven-months pregnant with twin boys and feeling sick when she arrived at St. Thomas More hospital in Cañon City on New Year’s Day 2006. She was vomiting and short of breath and she passed out as she was being wheeled into an examination room. Medical staff tried to resuscitate her but, as became clear only later, a main artery feeding her lungs was clogged and the clog led to a massive heart attack. Stodghill’s obstetrician, Dr. Pelham Staples, who also happened to be the obstetrician on call for emergencies that night, never answered a page. His patient died at the hospital less than an hour after she arrived and her twins died in her womb.

    Her husband decided to file a lawsuit for wrongful death as Dr. Staples should have either made it to the hospital or relayed instructions to carry out a caesarian to save the twins. The defendant is Catholic Health Initiatives, an organisation which oversees 170 facilities across the US. The Catholic Health attorneys have decided to completely ignore Church doctrine and argue that the twins were merely fetuses so they are not covered in the Wrongful Death Act.

    Jason Langley, an attorney with Denver-based Kennedy Childs, argued in one of the briefs he filed for the defense, the court “should not overturn the long-standing rule in Colorado that the term ‘person,’ as is used in the Wrongful Death Act, encompasses only individuals born alive. Colorado state courts define ‘person’ under the Act to include only those born alive. Therefore Plaintiffs cannot maintain wrongful death claims based on two unborn fetuses.”

    The Church had an opportunity to stand by their convictions and be principled. Instead they decided to abandon a core belief simply because it was inconvenient and may cost them some money.

    Category: Uncategorized


    Article by: Humanisticus

    • Joe G

      Umm, it’s a legal matter and that means the LAW is relevant, not what people may think.
      That said this moron of a doctor should be sued as he should have answered the page- no excuses. Also it is very disturbing that the hospital did not have someone on hand that could have performed a c-section.
      THAT is just pathetic. Here we have a clearly pregnant woman who is obvioulsy in distress. Perhaps they thought that a c-section would have killed her. However once she passed on they still could have saved the babies if they acted in time.
      So definitely someone messed up big time. Lawyers are paid to protect their clients, pretty much at all costs- and these lawyers aren’t any different. And hopefully the judge or jury sees right through them.

      • SmilodonsRetreat

        And so the Catholic church throws it’s beliefs and moral arguments out the window in the name of getting out of trouble.

        How can the Catholic Church maintain its moral authority, when it so readily allows it’s representative to dismiss one of its primary principles?

        Yes, it’s a matter of LAW. And the law is actually pretty clear, especially in Colorado. The point of this post (and mine) has nothing to do with the law, but the Church’s wish to get out of trouble.

        • Joe G

          Your point is just to hurl crap at whoever you think doesn’t agree with you.

          Lawyers argue the LAW, period. They canNOT argue Catholic doctrine in a Court of Law. So we will add the law to the long list of things you are ignorant of.

          How do you know that the Church is even involved? How many of the hospital’s board members are high ranking Catholic members? How many of the board speak for the Church?

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            Yes, Joe. The law is the law. Again, it’s not about the law. You’re not thinking straight because you have to attack everything I say and do.

            As to the organization that’s being sued, maybe the NAME would help you: “Catholic Health Initiatives”.

            Perhaps the Mission Statement would help you: http://www.catholichealthinit.org/mission-and-vision

            Perhaps page 4 of the 2012 Financial Report would help. In which, I quote,

            “CHI’s mission is to nurture the
            healing ministry of the Catholic
            Church by bringing it new life,
            energy and viability in the 21st
            century. Fidelity to the Gospel
            urges CHI to emphasize human
            dignity and social justice as it
            moves toward the creation of
            healthier communities.”

            I don’t know. I think that a Catholic organization, that nurtures the healing ministry of the Catholic Church ought to man up and support what that church preaches and not, for the sake of not getting into trouble, ignore the tenets of the Catholic Faith (which are emphasized in their document here: Ethical and Religious Directives of the Catholic Church (http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/health-care/upload/Ethical-Religious-Directives-Catholic-Health-Care-Services-fifth-edition-2009.pdf).

            But that’s just me. I understand that a lot of groups don’t stand up for what they think and instead change what they say and think based on the audience. You should be familiar with that concept, having had your nose rubbed in it so often.

            • Joe G

              LoL! It is ALL about the Law, Kevin. It isn’t about anything else. Did the husband sue in the Vatican or a Court of Law?

              And yes Kevin, I have rubbed your nose in it because YOU have tried to change what the theory of evolution says and have been exposed.

              Oh, and thanks for ignoring my questions. that proves that you just don’t care about reality.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Sigh. Here we go again. Joe’s own special brand of reality, where direct links to the documents that answer his questions… even quotes from those documents are ‘ignoring’ the questions.

              Joe, let’s be clear because you aren’t actually reading what I’m writing. I TOTALLY agree that this is just about the LAW.

              However, as I’ve been saying three times now, the Catholic Church DOES NOT AGREE WITH THE LAW. The Catholic Church’s fundamental comments on the subject are that unborn fetuses ARE living things and require the respect and protection of the Church.

              This has been the Church’s doctrine for decades (perhaps 100s of years).

              This is true UNTIL they (a purely Catholic organization that as part of there mission statement embraces the tenets of the Catholic faith) are sued based on those tenets. When that happens, the organization ALLOWS their lawyer to use the rule of law that the Church has been trying for years to get changed to support their definitions.

              That is called hypocrisy… and that’s the entire point of my post on this subject (and I believe this post on the subject).

              I don’t know how to make this more clear for you. I suspect that it’s not possible given our history.

            • Joe G

              I know what the Catholic Church says. I also know that it is IRRELEVANT to the case. IOW you just don’t get it and it shows. It does not matter that the Church disagrees with the law. Until the law is changed the law is all that matters.

              The hypocrisy is people saying that the Church should listen to the Church’s ideals as opposed to the law in a case of law.

              That said, all people have to do is stop using that hospital and the message will be loud and clear- start a protest outside of it. But if you are going to try to use the LAW then you have to expect to get the LAW tossed right back at you.

              But anyway- I would love to see that in Court- “Your Honor, my client doesn’t agree with the Law so you have to set him free!”

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Can you read?

              Honestly? Did you not see where I agreed with you twice now? Do you hate me so much that you have to argue with me, even when I agree with you?

              Read the last paragraph of the post here. That’s what this is about.

            • Joe G

              You are agreeing with me that what the Church says is irrelevant in a Court of Law? Really? BTW that last paragraph doesn’t mean anything to me. I have yet to see any Church involvement. I have yet to see any Church members on the hospital’s board. I have yet to see that the Church said let the twins die with their mom.

              The twins died. It was a tragedy. The doctor should be held responsible, as I said above. I guess you didn’t read my first entry here. Oh well…

              Should the Church have to pay for every death that occurs in their hospitals? Why should Church-run hospitals be held to a different legal standard than other hospitals?

            • Who pays the lawyers? The Catholic Health Initiatives which is supported by the Church.

              This about principle and hypocrisy. For instance, it is akin to a pro-lifer having an abortion because it would cost her too much money to have it. Yes it is perfectly legal to do so, but in doing so it makes her a hypocrite. The same goes here, the Church is taking a stance which is antithetical to their doctrine to save money. If they were not being sued do you think they would promote a similar message? Of course not.

              Not to mention the Church really doesn’t care about what the law of the land is. 3 years ago a Nun was demoted because she performed a life saving abortion. Did the Church care about legalities then? No. The Nun went against their doctrine therefore she was punished, even though she acted within the constraints of the law. Now the lawyers are acting within the constraints of the law and going against the teachings of the Church, but are they being punished? No, because this action will save them money. Two different reactions for similar situations is hypocrisy.

              Here is link to the story about the Nun: http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2010/12/15/catholic-bishop-arizona-hospital-stop-providing-lifesaving-abortions

            • Joe G

              What you guys are forgetting is that the Catholic doctrine also says they are answerable to a Higher Authority.
              And if this is about money then just do as I said- don’t use their hospitals anymore.

            • Simple fact is that they are acting in a hypocritical manner, this obvious. So I don’t see what the issue is.

            • Ken Phelps

              Other than uninformed contrarianism, there isn’t one. Lawyers act at the direction of their clients. Period. If the church chose to act on principle, their attorneys would be obligated to act within the bounds of the client’s direction. The attorney has no obligation to use all the law and precedent at his disposal and is, in fact, required not to if so directed. It is entirely within ethical bounds for a client to choose a losing argument on principle as long as they are properly advised.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Yeah, I can see that you aren’t listening to me. Until the next time…

            • Joe G

              LoL! You aren’t saying anything Kevin. Huge difference.

            • MosesZD

              And has no bearing, whatsoever, on this legal issue. Which makes it a non-answer. It’s just a screaming emotional, and irrelevant, response in an eternal game of ‘gotcha.’

              An attorney, a licensed professional, must use the appropriate and legal means necessary to defend his client. Which includes the black-letter law, case law, precedent and the Constitutional protections available to his/her client’s defense.

              And while you may not like the law as written, the point stands that it is the law and the law was written for many purposes, not just to shelter the Catholic Church for this malpractice.

              So, regardless of what the Catholic Church says, the lawyers will do their job. They have no other moral choice as they’re operating in a different moral frame-of-reference than you. Their morality is based on duty to the client, not duty to the stupid shit the client says.

          • Actually joey, lawyers can argue catholic doctrine in a court of law if its found to be relevant to the case by the judge.

            Will you explain why you believe and assert that arguments for the teaching of the religious doctrine of ‘intelligent design’ in public schools should be allowed in court, even though the teaching of ID in public schools has been found to be unlawful? You even say that you’re going to file an ID based lawsuit against your childrens’ schools (and book publishers?). What are you waiting for, joey? Show everyone what you think you know about law.

            And will you explain why your fellow IDiot-creationists support and encourage the ID arguments Coppedge used in court in his lawsuit against NASA, even though those arguments were completely irrelevant to the case and decision? Coppedge’s irrelevant argument was based on being persecuted and fired because of his ID ‘doctrine’, yet the judge allowed his argument in court.

            • MosesZD

              Which is arguing Constitutional protections and how they apply to the case. It’s really kind of simple, how you failed to understand this…

        • MosesZD

          The law is the law. Change it if you must, but don’t pretend the lawyers, who are not bound by policy statements and beliefs of an organization, are bound to not use it to their full advantage whenever possible.
          Failing to do so is malpractice.

          • I don’t know how many times myself and Kevin have to repeat this but I’ll say it one more time. We are not discussing the law, we are talking about principle and hypocrisy.

            The Church prioritises their doctrine over the law constantly. See my example below where they demoted a nun for providing a life-saving abortion. Unless you can give me a logical reason for punishing a nun for acting antithetical to the Church’s dogma while allowing the lawyers to do the same, aside from the fact that it saves the Church money, then they are acting extremely hypocritically, which is what Kevin and I are saying.

    • SmilodonsRetreat

      Let’s ask it this way. What should the Catholic Church say about this? This is a Catholic organization and they should say something about the case. Obviously, they don’t have to and they won’t because when you look at the two possible statements, you can see the rampant hypocrisy.

      “We support our lawyers statements and agree that the case should be decided on the law.”


      “We disavow our lawyers statements of law because those statements do not reflect the beliefs and ethical position of the Church or this hospital.”

      Regardless of the law and of the outcome of the case, this is a public relations nightmare for the Church and that hospital.

    • Reganee

      Has there been an update on this story? I am sure that many would like to know if they defended this position in court.