If a woman voluntarily gets an abortion, it’s murder, the Catholic church says. Because a fetus is an unborn person. If a woman uses hormonal birth control that might endanger a zygote, it’s murder, the Catholic church says. Because a zygote is an unimplanted person. If a slack-ass obstetrician can’t answer his damn pages and a woman and two potentially viable fetuses die, it’s a crying shame, says Catholic Health Initiatives, but there’s not much that can be done about it because fetuses aren’t people.
Lori Stodghill was 31-years old, seven-months pregnant with twin boys and feeling sick when she arrived at St. Thomas More hospital in Cañon City on New Year’s Day 2006. 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.
Stodghill’s husband, Jeremy, has filed a wrongful-death suit against Catholic Health Initiatives, which runs St. Thomas More, with an expert witness testifying that while Staples probably wouldn’t have been able to save Lori, he might have been able to save the twins, either by actually showing up or by directing the ER staff in performing an emergency C-section.
Catholic Health Initiatives — which adheres to the church’s Ethical and Religious Directives, committing to “witness to the sanctity of life ‘from the moment of conception until death'” — has responded that the short length of the time between conception and death for Lori Stodghill’s twins meant that they didn’t actually qualify as “people,” and thus Jeremy Stodghill’s suit is invalid under Colorado law.
Says attorney Jason Langley in a defense brief,
[T]he 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.”
Which would have been “unborn persons” under the laws proposed by the church over the past decades, but aren’t now, because they threaten Catholic Health’s $15 billion in assets.
If I don’t hear about pro-life protesters marching their bullhorns and their misleading fetus posters around the Catholic Health offices in Denver, I might start to believe they don’t actually care about women or the unborn. After all, say the Religious Directives of the Catholic Church, “The Church’s defense of life encompasses the unborn and the care of women and their children during and after pregnancy.” It doesn’t go on to say, “unless there’s a shit-ton of money at stake” — I know, I looked. There’s just more stuff about providing adequate health care to mothers and their children before and after birth and whatever. So step up, Church — I mean, you’ve already clearly established that women aren’t people, but are fetuses people or not?
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