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

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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.

CO mom fights for law protecting fetuses

Case fuels debate over when life begins

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

Proposal would give way out of birth-control coverage

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
Replies (31-40):
NWP
by guerrilla girl on Feb. 5, 2013 at 7:39 PM

By doing this, the hospital is attempting to have it both ways.

Quoting unspecified42:

Probably because its legally true. The husband had no case legally and was likely counting on the hospitals religious beliefs to put them between a rock and a hard place.

Quoting LucyMom08:

 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?




North West Passage

NWP
by guerrilla girl on Feb. 5, 2013 at 7:43 PM

LOL....

Quoting LindaClement:

Catholic hospital can TALK!?!

Why isn't that on the news?


North West Passage

motherslove82
by Silver Member on Feb. 5, 2013 at 8:43 PM
Legally, they are not. This was a courtroom, not a church.
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SRUsarahSC
by Bronze Member on Feb. 5, 2013 at 8:45 PM


they haven't offered to drop the legal fees at all to date---if the case is won by the hospital, that is the only way the man would have to pay--what the offered was to forgive his medical fees from the hospital.  Did you read the article in full?  If the hospital feels they are not guilty, again, why shouldn't they be allowed to defend themselves?   We don't know all the circumstances around this case and unless it goes to trial we won't. The only thing we know is that she went to the hospital, went into cardiac arrest, and the on call OBGYN did not respond in time. We have no why, were the circumstances that delayed him? What were the other medical staff in the hospital doing? How soon after the woman arrived did she pass--how soon after that did the babies pass?  There is too much missing information here for people to be burning the hospital at the stake just yet. It's a tragedy, but people including babies do die at hospitals at time. I am only pointing out that everyone is rushing to judgement based on very little information.

Quoting NWP:

Offering to drop their legal costs for the lawyers who claimed the fetus's weren't actually people as a
"settlement" for not pursuing the case does nothing for this man and is hypocritical and pathetic IMO.

If their whol argument were that the fetus's were not legally people and they are now backtracking on that, and they actually believe the fetus's were people, wouldn't they offer to pay the man a full settle out of court on wrongful death because it is the moral and right thing to do?

Quoting SRUsarahSC:




From what I understand, they used this argument to win the case and are now going after the man for their legal fees. Now that the case has been ruled in their favor, they are back tracking about the moral issues after the fact...

Isn't that what you call having your cake and eating it too?

If they truly believe what they are saying now, wouldn't they not be going after this man for their legal fees AND be offering him a settlement payment for wrongful death of his babies instead of trying to blackmail him into dropping the appeal by offering to forgo their legal fees they won with this "immoral" legal argument?

IMO this is MORE hypocritical than if they had stood their ground on the legal case as argued.

Quoting SRUsarahSC:

so, when this first came out, all the anti Catholics on this site went nuts over the hypocrisy (which it was hypocritical, wrong, and immoral to use that argument, but we have to hear whether or not the religious clergy in charge of the hospital were even aware prior to the lawyers filing their paperwork that this would be the defense used)....now they offer a public apology and state that that will not be used as their legal argument on the case, and still, people  are condemning them.  Who's the hypocrite now?  Are they not allowed to defend themselves at all?



This has not gone to court to date.  Again, they have a right to defend themselves in court. Asking for legal fees is standard procedure when being sued.  Offering to drop the judgement is essentially offering a settlement. The man is under no obligation to accept it, but the hospital can make offers to settle to save everyone from having to go to court.  Most often in situations like this, the cases are settled out of court....but the organization being sued has to offer the settlement, don't they?




unspecified42
by Bronze Member on Feb. 5, 2013 at 9:12 PM
I'm fine with that. They can have whatever moral beliefs they want, but they shouldn't be held to a different legal standard.


Quoting NWP:

By doing this, the hospital is attempting to have it both ways.

Quoting unspecified42:

Probably because its legally true. The husband had no case legally and was likely counting on the hospitals religious beliefs to put them between a rock and a hard place.


Quoting LucyMom08:

 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?






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Raintree
by Ruby Member on Feb. 5, 2013 at 9:40 PM
1 mom liked this

1- Having been a patient at St. Thomas, I can tell you they are Sloooowwww...

2- I can also tell you they are the only choice. People in an emergency situation will be going there, whether they planned to birth elsewhere or not.

3- CHI has very strict policy in how patient care is handled around the entire perinatal area.

4- They argued against that policy during the original case.

5- Doctors should answer their pages.

6- There was a communication break-down, which doesn't wholly surprise me.

7- Rather than accept some of the blame (and they were somewhat at fault for the death of the twins), the hospital used the anti-their-own-policy defense and then counter-sued.

8- None of it is "what Jesus would do"

Quoting unspecified42:

I'm fine with that. They can have whatever moral beliefs they want, but they shouldn't be held to a different legal standard.


Quoting NWP:

By doing this, the hospital is attempting to have it both ways.

Quoting unspecified42:

Probably because its legally true. The husband had no case legally and was likely counting on the hospitals religious beliefs to put them between a rock and a hard place.


Quoting LucyMom08:

 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?







unspecified42
by Bronze Member on Feb. 5, 2013 at 9:42 PM
I'm saying that if the fetuses were not born and not legally considered humans with rights, the hospital shouldn't be responsible as if they were just because of their religious beliefs.


Quoting Raintree:

1- Having been a patient at St. Thomas, I can tell you they are Sloooowwww...

2- I can also tell you they are the only choice. People in an emergency situation will be going there, whether they planned to birth elsewhere or not.

3- CHI has very strict policy in how patient care is handled around the entire perinatal area.

4- They argued against that policy during the original case.

5- Doctors should answer their pages.

6- There was a communication break-down, which doesn't wholly surprise me.

7- Rather than accept some of the blame (and they were somewhat at fault for the death of the twins), the hospital used the anti-their-own-policy defense and then counter-sued.

8- None of it is "what Jesus would do"

Quoting unspecified42:

I'm fine with that. They can have whatever moral beliefs they want, but they shouldn't be held to a different legal standard.





Quoting NWP:

By doing this, the hospital is attempting to have it both ways.

Quoting unspecified42:

Probably because its legally true. The husband had no case legally and was likely counting on the hospitals religious beliefs to put them between a rock and a hard place.



Quoting LucyMom08:

 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?










Posted on CafeMom Mobile
NWP
by guerrilla girl on Feb. 5, 2013 at 9:58 PM
I wish those who espouse to be pro life would respect others and their views instead of trying to game the system when it suites them in this case

Quoting unspecified42:

I'm saying that if the fetuses were not born and not legally considered humans with rights, the hospital shouldn't be responsible as if they were just because of their religious beliefs.




Quoting Raintree:

1- Having been a patient at St. Thomas, I can tell you they are Sloooowwww...

2- I can also tell you they are the only choice. People in an emergency situation will be going there, whether they planned to birth elsewhere or not.

3- CHI has very strict policy in how patient care is handled around the entire perinatal area.

4- They argued against that policy during the original case.

5- Doctors should answer their pages.

6- There was a communication break-down, which doesn't wholly surprise me.

7- Rather than accept some of the blame (and they were somewhat at fault for the death of the twins), the hospital used the anti-their-own-policy defense and then counter-sued.

8- None of it is "what Jesus would do"

Quoting unspecified42:

I'm fine with that. They can have whatever moral beliefs they want, but they shouldn't be held to a different legal standard.








Quoting NWP:

By doing this, the hospital is attempting to have it both ways.

Quoting unspecified42:

Probably because its legally true. The husband had no case legally and was likely counting on the hospitals religious beliefs to put them between a rock and a hard place.




Quoting LucyMom08:

 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?












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JP-StrongForTwo
by on Feb. 5, 2013 at 10:00 PM

I honestly dont see a back track/flipflop/backpedal,  unless i missed it. they didnt deny that they said it. they just said it was wrong to say it and shouldnt have. 


Morals (imo) are just opinions, with a fine distinction to set them apart. they are only slightly different. 

lizzielouaf
by Gold Member on Feb. 5, 2013 at 10:08 PM
This has gone to trial and Stodghill did lose. The hospital then turned around and filed suit against Stodghill for fees. The hospital offered a deal to dismiss the suit for fees IF Stodghill dropped his appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court. Stodghill declined to drop his appeal.


Quoting SRUsarahSC:


they haven't offered to drop the legal fees at all to date---if the case is won by the hospital, that is the only way the man would have to pay--what the offered was to forgive his medical fees from the hospital.  Did you read the article in full?  If the hospital feels they are not guilty, again, why shouldn't they be allowed to defend themselves?   We don't know all the circumstances around this case and unless it goes to trial we won't. The only thing we know is that she went to the hospital, went into cardiac arrest, and the on call OBGYN did not respond in time. We have no why, were the circumstances that delayed him? What were the other medical staff in the hospital doing? How soon after the woman arrived did she pass--how soon after that did the babies pass?  There is too much missing information here for people to be burning the hospital at the stake just yet. It's a tragedy, but people including babies do die at hospitals at time. I am only pointing out that everyone is rushing to judgement based on very little information.


Quoting NWP:

Offering to drop their legal costs for the lawyers who claimed the fetus's weren't actually people as a
"settlement" for not pursuing the case does nothing for this man and is hypocritical and pathetic IMO.

If their whol argument were that the fetus's were not legally people and they are now backtracking on that, and they actually believe the fetus's were people, wouldn't they offer to pay the man a full settle out of court on wrongful death because it is the moral and right thing to do?

Quoting SRUsarahSC:




From what I understand, they used this argument to win the case and are now going after the man for their legal fees. Now that the case has been ruled in their favor, they are back tracking about the moral issues after the fact...

Isn't that what you call having your cake and eating it too?

If they truly believe what they are saying now, wouldn't they not be going after this man for their legal fees AND be offering him a settlement payment for wrongful death of his babies instead of trying to blackmail him into dropping the appeal by offering to forgo their legal fees they won with this "immoral" legal argument?

IMO this is MORE hypocritical than if they had stood their ground on the legal case as argued.

Quoting SRUsarahSC:

so, when this first came out, all the anti Catholics on this site went nuts over the hypocrisy (which it was hypocritical, wrong, and immoral to use that argument, but we have to hear whether or not the religious clergy in charge of the hospital were even aware prior to the lawyers filing their paperwork that this would be the defense used)....now they offer a public apology and state that that will not be used as their legal argument on the case, and still, people  are condemning them.  Who's the hypocrite now?  Are they not allowed to defend themselves at all?




This has not gone to court to date.  Again, they have a right to defend themselves in court. Asking for legal fees is standard procedure when being sued.  Offering to drop the judgement is essentially offering a settlement. The man is under no obligation to accept it, but the hospital can make offers to settle to save everyone from having to go to court.  Most often in situations like this, the cases are settled out of court....but the organization being sued has to offer the settlement, don't they?






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