Catholic Hospital Conveniently Claims Fetuses Aren’t People in Malpractice Lawsuit


The Catholic Church has long been the Nadia Comaneci of mental gymnastics, but a new lawsuit where a Catholic-run hospital claims that fetuses aren’t people with any legal rights sets a new standard for a triple twisting double-WTF logical dismount. Even Elfie Schlegel would be forced to abandon her perpetual stinkface and applaud.

The story of How Pre-Humans Are Both People And Not People to the Church begins with a New Year’s Day emergency room tragedy involving 31-year-old expectant mother of twins Lori Stoghill. John Tomasic at the Colorado Independent explains,

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.

After Stoghill’s death, Lori’s husband Jerry filed a wrongful death suit against St. Thomas Moore Hospital in Cañon City, claiming that Dr. Staples should have at least instructed ER personnel to perform an emergency C-section. Jerry’s suit states that the hospital’s negligence resulted the deaths of three individuals — his wife, and his two unborn but post-viability sons. In response, Catholic Health Initiatives, the nonprofit that runs St. Thomas Moore and 170 other healthcare facilities, claimed that Jerry Stoghill has no grounds to sue them for the loss of three lives, as unborn people aren’t technically “persons” under Colorado law.

(This is the part of the story where my brain — totally on its own — made the record scratch sound.)

Not to get all smug Bond villain here but: Well, well, well, Catholic Health Initiatives. Well, well, well. Looks like someone is trying to have things both ways. In recent years, Catholic run health care systems have, in their brave, brave crusade to defend “life,” lobbied for the right to deny rape victims Emergency Contraception, advocated laws that would allow health care facilities to let women die rather than receive abortions, and fought Obamacare’s inclusion of emergency contraception in its birth control mandate on the farcical grounds that EC causes abortions. But now that the idea that fetuses are people just like me or you or Vin Diesel might cost a religious run facility a metric fuckton of money, time to run and hide behind a law that is in direct opposition to the Church’s endlessly regurgitated worldview.

Sure, you could argue that CHI is just using the law in the way that best benefits them, but at the very least, CHI’s refusal to acknowledge the deceased Stodghill twins as “persons” is a massive cop out — as Tomasic notes in the Independent, accepting Jerry Stoghill’s claim that three lives were lost that New Year’s Day in 2006 would make a powerful — but expensive — statement. But isn’t your eternal soul worth it, Catholic Health Initiatives? Unless “protecting life” is just dog whistle talk for keeping women pregnant and Catholic Churches full. Perish the thought.

In malpractice case, Catholic hospital argues fetuses aren’t people [Colorado Independent]

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