In 2006, Lori Stodghill, a woman pregnant with twins, was rushed into St. Thomas More Hospital in Cañon City, Colorado. She was suffering from a clogged artery which had starved her lungs and caused a massive heart attack, causing her death less than an hour after arriving in the hospital. As tragic as that is, it’s not really the story. Stodghill’s husband filed a lawsuit against the hospital, not alleging that they could have saved her life, but that, being seven months pregnant, the hospital had a duty to do an emergency c-section in an effort to save the lives of his unborn children.
The lawyers for the hospital argued that since 7-month old fetuses are not people, the hospital had no obligation to consider their welfare.
Let me explain. St. Thomas More Hospital is run by the Roman Catholic Church, specifically by the group called Catholic Health Initiatives. It runs approximately 170 hospitals in 17 states and it’s stated mission is to “nurture the healing ministry of the Church” and to be run their operation by a strict “fidelity to the Gospel.” It operates by following the Ethical and Religious Directives of the Catholic Church which were written by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. According to the Ethical and Religious Directives, “Catholic health care ministry witnesses to the sanctity of life ‘from the moment of conception until death, the Church’s defense of life encompasses the unborn.”
Well, not so much in this case.
See, for a very long time, the Catholic Church has fought nationwide to change health and medical laws to protect the unborn, to guarantee them the same rights and privileges that we grant to born children. Yet in the courtroom, attorney Jason Langley argued 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.”
I guess that means the Catholic Church, as with most other things, wants people to do as they say and not as they do. The court sided with the Catholic lawyers and rejected the claims of Mr. Stodghill, who has filed an appeal. Now on the one hand, I agree with the decision, a fetus does not have the same rights as a born individual and even though I think the hospital should have made an attempt to save the twins, in fact, I think most hospitals would have done so as a matter of course, I don’t think they ought to be punished because they didn’t do so. What I do have a massive problem with is the Catholic Church once again ignoring their own rhetoric when it gets in the way. They say they want to protect the unborn, yet when the opportunity presents itself to do just that, they fail in their stated mission statement, then pretend they were just going along with the same established laws that they’ve spent years fighting against and calling evil and immoral.
Yet again, we see the Catholic Church display their true stripes, as an opportunistic predatory cult, willing to throw principles and morals out the window the second they get in the way of profit. They’ve done it with pedophile priests, now they’ve done it with medicine. What’s next?