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Catholic hospital argues fetus isn't a Person

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by KingCheetah, Jan 27, 2013.

  1. KingCheetah

    KingCheetah Contributing Member

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    Fetuses not people, Catholic hospital says in court

    A Catholic hospital in Colorado has argued in court documents that it is not liable for the deaths of two 7-month-old fetuses because those fetuses are not people.

    So far, courts have side with the hospital.

    But that defense contradicts church teaching that human life is sacred from the moment of conception. At least one prominent abortion foe called the hospital's claims morally untenable.

    The issue of whether a fetus is a person was raised in a lawsuit filed by Jeremy Stodghill, whose 31-year-old wife, Lori, died in 2006 at St. Thomas More Hospital in Canon City, Colo.

    Lori Stodghill was 7 months pregnant with twins at the time. The suit claims the hospital failed to perform an emergency cesarean section to save the fetuses.

    According to published reports, a brief filed by the hospital, owned by Englewood, Colo.-based Catholic Health Initiatives, said that the fetuses are not covered by state's Wrongful Death Act.

    "Under Colorado law, a fetus is not a 'person' and plaintiff's claims for wrongful death must therefore be dismissed," the hospital argued.

    A state district court and an appeals court agreed with the hospital. The case, originally filed in 2007, is currently on appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court.

    full article
     
  2. Dairy Ashford

    Dairy Ashford Member

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    If you're pro-choice, why would you want the courts to grant personhood to a fetus? You know right to privacy came from a birth control case years earlier than Roe, I don't think you want to criminalize abortion just to stick it to Catholics.
     
  3. justtxyank

    justtxyank Contributing Member

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    No, the Catholic hospital isn't arguing that the fetus isn't a person. They argued that in a state where the fetus isn't recognized as a person they can't be held liable.

    They win either way in this argument. Rule against them that they are liable and you've just established personhood for a fetus. Rule with them and nothing has changed.
     
  4. KingCheetah

    KingCheetah Contributing Member

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    That's exactly what they did.
     
  5. Major

    Major Member

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    I think the potential problem just comes within the Catholic Church and how they will view this:

    The bishops said they could not comment on ongoing legal disputes. But they said they will review the litigation and policies of Catholic Health Initiatives to ensure they conform with Catholic teaching.

    "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," the bishops said. "No Catholic institution may legitimately work to undermine fundamental human dignity."


    One could argue that, regardless of law, if the hospital is trying to claim they are not responsible for a wrongful death because it was a fetus, that works against the above.
     
  6. justtxyank

    justtxyank Contributing Member

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    No they didn't.

    "Under Colorado law, a fetus is not a 'person' and plaintiff's claims for wrongful death must therefore be dismissed"

    They are arguing that you can't bring a claim against them based on the law, not based on "the truth."
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. justtxyank

    justtxyank Contributing Member

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    Sure I can see that. But really it's more nuanced.

    If a state doesn't recognize a fetus as a life for purposes of abortion, how can it then compel a hospital to pay damages for killing this thing that isn't a life?

    Should a church let a court award damages in a lawsuit for something that the law doesn't protect?

    Now if the church's stated position to the people was "The fetus isn't a life" that would be a different thing.
     
  8. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member
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    I also noted this in the linked article:
    [rquoter]In 2010, St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix lost its standing as a Catholic hospital after doctors there performed an abortion they believed was needed to save a mother's life. Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Roman Catholic diocese of Phoenix said that the hospital should have followed Catholic teaching, which bans any abortion.[/rquoter]
     
  9. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member
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    The state can't compel the hospital to pay damages which is why the courts so far have sided with the hospital. The point of this issue isn't legal but hypocrisy on the side of the Catholic Institution. It sticks to Catholic doctrine that life begins at conception except when they are legal trouble.
     
  10. justtxyank

    justtxyank Contributing Member

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    Except we don't know what they are sticking to in reality. They may be willing to compensate the family privately.

    I really don't think it's hypocritical at all in this case and I usually find the Catholic church to be quite so. They are being brought before the court on wrongful death. Their position is the court has no standing to rule on that because they don't recognize a fetus as a life. Not that the CHURCH doesn't recognize it, but that the state doesn't. Seems like a perfectly reasonable legal argument and quite common for the type of arguments made before a court.
     
  11. rockbox

    rockbox Around before clutchcity.com

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    I'm pro-choice and I think this is screwed up. A 7 month fetus can survive out of the womb with very little intervention. My son was less than 7 months when he was born.
     
  12. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member
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    I would still say that is somewhat hypocritical if they aren't willing to publicly acknowledge that they considered the fetus in this case a life. To me it would be like a corporation making a private payment to someone who got injured by one of their products as long as they didn't have to publicly admit that their was any problem with their products.
    Except according to the article they aren't just saying they believe life believes in conception but the state doesn't they are making the argument that the fetus isn't a person.
    [rquoter]A Catholic hospital in Colorado has argued in court documents that it is not liable for the deaths of two 7-month-old fetuses because those fetuses are not people.[/rquoter]

    Anyway the definition of hypocrisy is to hold one belief in one situation and then act against that belief in another. As I said this is legal but it is hypocritical even if those arguments are common.
     
    #12 rocketsjudoka, Jan 27, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2013
  13. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member
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    Without knowing more of the details I think it is hard to judge the medical situation. Since the mother died we don't really know what circumstances were involved. It is possible that a C-Section might've saved the fetuses but killed the mother and they were trying to save the mother or it's possible that the doctors didn't think the fetuses could be saved so they didn't perform a C-section.
     
  14. ipaman

    ipaman Contributing Member

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    Thread title is incorrect. Should read, "Catholic hospital in Colorado argues they cannot be held liable and sued due to Colorado law."

    Your thread is pointless because they are arguing that an unborn fetus cannot bring suit. They said nothing of an unborn fetus being a person or not.

    This is like Far Right or Far Left BS :rolleyes:
     
  15. CometsWin

    CometsWin Breaker Breaker One Nine

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    They're citing a law that they vehemently disagree with. It's complete hypocrisy.
     
  16. ipaman

    ipaman Contributing Member

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    that's not what his thread title and post discuss.
     
  17. CometsWin

    CometsWin Breaker Breaker One Nine

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    They're making a legal argument that is against everything they believe. You can't have it both ways just because its convenient for you.
     
  18. justtxyank

    justtxyank Contributing Member

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    Except, again, the church and the hospital aren't publicly saying the fetus isn't a life. That's what people are saying they are saying. The only thing they've done is file a legal brief and nowhere in there does it state their opinion.


    Except that isn't a quote, it's a paraphrase of their legal argument that changes the meaning. The actual quote from the brief doesn't say a fetus isn't a person according to the church/hospital. It cites Colorado a law as a reason you can't bring suit against them.

    They aren't holding different beliefs here necessarily. If you have to go to court you have to make an argument. One of he most common arguments is to challenge the standing to bring the case under the law.

    Hypothetical: Someone who has a moral objection to drinking alcohol has a son who gets arrested for drunk driving. It turns out that his blood alcohol level was actually 1 point below the legal limit. The father's lawyers argue that the son can't be charged under the law because according to the law he didn't do anything wrong.

    Did the father just do something hypocritical?

    That's actually what they are arguing to the state of Colorado. You can't have it both ways.
     
  19. giddyup

    giddyup Contributing Member

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    Well, not quite: they don't wish to enter into the expense of a lawsuit which has no basis in current law.
     
  20. Harrisment

    Harrisment Member

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    Have to agree with justtxyank. The title of the article seems to be misleading after reading the contents of it. They're simply stating that the law doesn't recognize a fetus as a person; not that they don't recognize it as a person.
     

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