Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

January-25-13

Catholic Hospital Claims Fetuses Aren't People in Malpractice Defense

A Colorado Catholic hospital defended itself against a wrongful death suit by claiming that the hospital failed to perform an emergency c-section to save the lives of twin fetuses in court by arguing that fetuses are not people.

In 2006, Lori Stodghill was seven months pregnant with twins when she arrived at St. Thomas More Hospital in Canon City, Colorado, with what was later determined to be a heart attack. Emergency Room staff were unable to resuscitate Lori, and the obstetrician on call, who was also her primary obstetrician, did not answer their pages. The twin fetuses died in the womb. Jeremy Stoghill, Lori's husband, filed a wrongful death suit arguing the while a c-section might not have saved Lori, it could have saved the twin fetuses.

Catholic Health Initiatives, which manages the St. Thomas More Hospital, filed a brief that "Under Colorado law, a fetus is not a 'person' and plaintiff's claims for wrongful death must therefore be dismissed." The defense attorney for Catholic Health Initiatives Jason Langely, wrote in the brief that 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 Catholic Church is currently investigating whether the brief filed on behalf of Catholic Health Initiatives violates Catholic Doctrine. The Catholic Bishops of Colorado released a statement saying "Catholics and Catholic institutions have the duty to protect and foster human life, and to witness to the dignity of the human person - particularly to the dignity of the unborn. No Catholic institution may legitimately work to undermine fundamental human dignity. ... The Catholic bishops of Colorado are not able to comment on ongoing legal disputes. However, we will undertake a full review of this litigation, and of the policies and practices of Catholic Health Initiatives to ensure fidelity and faithful witness to the teachings of the Catholic Church."

Media Resources: Huffington Post 1/25/2013; USA Today 1/24/2013; Raw Story 1/24/2013; Colorado Independent 1/23/2013


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

12/19/2014 Woman on Life Support Revives Ireland Abortion Debate - Debate surrounding Ireland's ban on abortion has come up again following a current case involving a woman who is being kept on life support because she is pregnant. The woman's family wants her to be taken off life support, but doctors refuse because Irish law says they must do what they can to protect the 16-week-old fetus. . . .
 
12/19/2014 DC City Council Unanimously Approves Reproductive Health Anti Discrimination Bill - Wednesday, the Washington, DC City Council unanimously passed a bill that will prohibit employer interference in the reproductive health decisions of their employees. The Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2014 was first introduced by DC Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large), just ahead of the Supreme Court's ruling in favor of for-profit retail chain Hobby Lobby this summer. . . .
 
12/19/2014 Incremental Gains for Women in Congress - When the 114th Congress is sworn into office on January 3rd, 2015, there will be exactly the same number of women in Senate as the year before, 20, and a record-high number of women in the US House, 84. . . .