Catholic Fetus-Death Suit Going To Colorado Supreme Court


Posted on 1st February 2013 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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Sometimes the Catholic Church doesn’t practice what it preaches.

The Church’s doctrine is that human life begins at conception, hence its stand against abortion. But when it comes to litigation, it’s a different story, apparently.

In a case that’s gotten lots of press, a Catholic health care company recently successfully fought a wrongful death suit — by arguing that a fetus is not legally a person until it is born. That argument flies in the face of what the Church teaches.

In this Colorado case, Jeremy Stodghill sued St. Thomas More Hospital in Canon City and its owner Catholic Health Initiatives over the death of his wife Lori and their unborn twin boys, according to CNN.

Lori, 28 weeks pregnant, was short of breath and vomiting when she went to the hospital’s emergency room on New Year’s Day 2006, CNN reported. She ended up going into cardiac arrest and died, as did her unborn twin boys. Stodghill became the sole caretaker of the couple’s then-2-year-old daughter, and filed suit against the hospital.

The litigation had already been in progress for two years when the hospital’s lawyers brought a new argument to court, according to CNN. They maintained that a fetus is legally not a person until it is born alive, the news network reported.

And since the Stodghills’ twins were dead when they were taken from 31-year-old Lori’s body, the hospital couldn’t be held liable over their demise. A court bought that argument, and it ended up that Stodghill lost his suit, even the claims regarding his wife’s death, according to CNN.

But that wasn’t the end of it all. The hospital went after Stodghill for more than $118,000 in legal fees, trying to get him to drop his appeal.

The bottom line is that Stodghill has now asked the Colorado Supreme Court to hear his case, CNN reported. In turn, Colorado bishops have told media outlets, including CNN, that they will look at the litigation and the hospital’s practices to be sure they are in faithful to the Church’s teachings.