Saturday, January 26, 2013

Catholic Hospital Wrongful Death Defense: Fetuses Are Not People

The disingenuousness of the Roman Catholic Church and its controlled institutions seems to know few bounds.  For instance, the Catholic Church vehemently opposes abortion claiming that life begins at conception and that nothing justifies an abortion that would end that unborn life.  From the moment of conception, an embryo and fetus are "people" - except apparently when that argument is inconvenient and might lead to a monetary pay out.  Faced with a wrongful death lawsuit involving a woman and her unborn twins, St. Thomas More Hospital's legal defense to the portion of the lawsuit involving the death of the twins - which has been successful so far - is that the twins were fetuses and not people, and that, therefore, this can't legally be viewed as a wrongful-death situation.  Maddow Blog looks at this amazing case of hypocrisy.  Here are highlights:

First up from the God Machine this week is a terribly sad story about a woman named Lori Stodghill, who's brought a lawsuit against a Catholic hospital, which has taken an unexpected legal/political turn.

On New Year's Day 2006, Stodghill, aged 31, was seven-months pregnant with twins, when she started to feel ill. She went to the emergency room at St. Thomas More hospital in Canon City, Colorado, and suffered a massive heart attack. Stodghill's obstetrician, Dr. Pelham Staples, who was on call for emergencies that night at the hospital, never answered a page, and an hour after arriving, Stodghill died and the twins did not survive.

Jeremy Stodghill, Lori's husband, filed a wrongful-death lawsuit, arguing that the doctor should have answered the page, should have instructed hospital staff to perform an emergency C-section, and could have tried to save the twins. And as Amanda Marcotte noted, that's where the story takes a politically charged turn.
The hospital's defense, so far successful, is to claim that because the twins were fetuses and not people, this can't legally be viewed as a wrongful-death situation.

Of course, the problem is that the hospital is run by Catholic Health Initiatives—Catholic, as in that religion whose leadership routinely claims that not only are fetuses people, but so are embryos, zygotes, and fertilized eggs. That claim is used to turn women into sacrificial lambs for the faith, denying them not just elective abortions but telling them that it's not OK to terminate pregnancies where there's no chance of producing a live baby. Women who go to Catholic hospitals in these situations have been denied procedures to save their fertility or even their lives. But, as this lawsuit shows, the passionate belief that anything post-fertilization is a "person" evaporates the second it stops being useful as a way to oppress women (and the second it starts possibly costing the Catholic hospital money).
St. Thomas More hospital is now facing criticism from the right for maintaining malleable principles. "There's a difference between being legal and being right," Southern Baptist ethicist Richard Land said. "Either a fetus is a person or it's not." Local Roman Catholic Bishops have promised to review the case.

In this meantime, the Catholic hospital and its lawyers maintain that the twins were not yet people, and so far, courts have agreed -- a state district court and an appeals court have sided with the hospital. The case is currently pending at the Colorado Supreme Court.

This blog seeks to expose hypocrisy and few institutions provide such a never ending stream of hypocrisy as does the Roman Catholic Church and the bitter old men in dresses in the Vatican and bishopric around the world.  And as we all know all too well, ruthless control over the lives of others and money are the only true God of the Catholic Church hierarchy. 

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