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Catholic hospital says it was 'morally wrong' to argue fetus is not a person

Posted by on Feb. 4, 2013 at 11:19 PM
  • 40 Replies

Catholic hospital says it was 'morally wrong' to argue fetus is not a person

By CNN Staff
updated 8:51 PM EST, Mon February 4, 2013
Watch this video

Catholic hospital flips on fetus death

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Catholic hospital reverses stance in case of Lori Stodghill, who died there
  • Her husband sued the hospital on behalf of his wife and their unborn twins
  • Attorneys for the hospital argued in court that a fetus is not a person

(CNN) -- A Catholic hospital in hot water for claiming in a Colorado court that a fetus is not a person backtracked on Monday, saying it was "morally wrong" to make the argument while defending itself in a wrongful death lawsuit.

The flip-flop concerns the case of Lori Stodghill. She was 28 weeks pregnant with twins when she went to the emergency room of St. Thomas More Hospital in Canon City, Colorado, vomiting and short of breath.

She went into cardiac arrest in the lobby and died. That was New Year's Day 2006.

Her husband, Jeremy Stodghill, sued the hospital and its owner, Catholic Health Initiatives, for the wrongful deaths of his wife and their unborn sons.

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Given the Catholic Church's belief that life begins at conception, defense attorneys for the hospital and doctors then entered an unusual argument.

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They said that under state law, an embryo is not person until it is born alive.

The claim attracted widespread attention and criticism, which apparently forced the about-face.

"In the discussion with the Church leaders, CHI representatives acknowledged that it was morally wrong for attorneys representing St. Thomas More Hospital to cite the state's Wrongful Death Act in defense of this lawsuit. That law does not consider fetuses to be persons, which directly contradicts the moral teachings of the Church," Catholic Health Initiatives said in a statement.

It promised that attorneys for the hospital would not cite the Wrongful Death Act in any future hearings.

Stodghill has petitioned the Colorado Supreme Court to hear his case.

The state's bishops similarly released a statement, expressing support for CHI and for the Stodghill family.

"We join CHI in affirming the fundamental truth that human life, human dignity and human rights begin at conception. No law can ever mitigate God-given human rights," they said. "Each human life is a sacred gift, created as a unique and unrepeatable expression of God's love. Life is given by God, and the right to life is a fundamental good, without which no other rights can be enjoyed."

North West Passage

by on Feb. 4, 2013 at 11:19 PM
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Replies (1-10):
NWP
by guerrilla girl on Feb. 4, 2013 at 11:21 PM

"It promised that attorneys for the hospital would not cite the Wrongful Death Act in any future hearings."

So what arguments are the hospital attorneys going to use now to avoid claiming any responsibility?

North West Passage

TattoodMommy19
by Member on Feb. 4, 2013 at 11:48 PM
4 moms liked this
Lol. Pro life selective backpedaling
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Momniscient
by Ruby Member on Feb. 4, 2013 at 11:49 PM
How pro life of them
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jllcali
by LoyalAndCute on Feb. 5, 2013 at 12:02 AM
I suspect this decision was made not out of any soul searching, but mire likely because they didn't like the way the egg on their face tasted.
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Debmomto2girls
by Debbie on Feb. 5, 2013 at 12:04 AM
Why is he suing in the first place? She went in to cardiac arrest in the ER waiting room but how long was she waiting or was it sudden?
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LucyMom08
by Gold Member on Feb. 5, 2013 at 12:15 AM

 Her OB, who was the on call, never answered his page...

Quoting Debmomto2girls:

Why is he suing in the first place? She went in to cardiac arrest in the ER waiting room but how long was she waiting or was it sudden?

 

LucyMom08
by Gold Member on Feb. 5, 2013 at 12:17 AM

 I guess they didn't like the public backlash...their hypocrisy was a bit ridiculous...now the backpedaling is just a wee bit too obvious...if it was so 'morally wrong', why did they use the defense in the first place?

taniamorse85
by Bronze Member on Feb. 5, 2013 at 12:21 AM

I can't remember exactly how far along she was, but she was far enough that they could have done a c-section and the babies could have been saved.  The doctors did not even attempt to do so, and the father sued based on this.


Quoting Debmomto2girls:

Why is he suing in the first place? She went in to cardiac arrest in the ER waiting room but how long was she waiting or was it sudden?



AlekD
by Gold Member on Feb. 5, 2013 at 12:26 AM
1 mom liked this

I'm glad. Unfortunately, even "Catholic" hospitals don't always follow Catholic teaching, but it looks like, in this case at least, the hospital has been listening to their bishop and their concience.

FrogSalad
by Sooze on Feb. 5, 2013 at 6:56 AM
1 mom liked this

How convenient.

I wonder if they're still going to expect the husband to pay their legal fees.


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