Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

January-25-13

Catholic Hospital Claims Fetuses Aren't People in Malpractice Defense

A Colorado Catholic hospital defended itself against a wrongful death suit by claiming that the hospital failed to perform an emergency c-section to save the lives of twin fetuses in court by arguing that fetuses are not people.

In 2006, Lori Stodghill was seven months pregnant with twins when she arrived at St. Thomas More Hospital in Canon City, Colorado, with what was later determined to be a heart attack. Emergency Room staff were unable to resuscitate Lori, and the obstetrician on call, who was also her primary obstetrician, did not answer their pages. The twin fetuses died in the womb. Jeremy Stoghill, Lori's husband, filed a wrongful death suit arguing the while a c-section might not have saved Lori, it could have saved the twin fetuses.

Catholic Health Initiatives, which manages the St. Thomas More Hospital, filed a brief that "Under Colorado law, a fetus is not a 'person' and plaintiff's claims for wrongful death must therefore be dismissed." The defense attorney for Catholic Health Initiatives Jason Langely, wrote in the brief 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."

The Catholic Church is currently investigating whether the brief filed on behalf of Catholic Health Initiatives violates Catholic Doctrine. The Catholic Bishops of Colorado released a statement saying "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. No Catholic institution may legitimately work to undermine fundamental human dignity. ... The Catholic bishops of Colorado are not able to comment on ongoing legal disputes. However, we will undertake a full review of this litigation, and of the policies and practices of Catholic Health Initiatives to ensure fidelity and faithful witness to the teachings of the Catholic Church."

Media Resources: Huffington Post 1/25/2013; USA Today 1/24/2013; Raw Story 1/24/2013; Colorado Independent 1/23/2013


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

8/31/2015 Afghan Women Awarded for Women's Rights Advocacy - Ten Afghan women activists were awarded a prestigious prize and honor last week for their courageous fight for women's rights. . . .
 
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago. Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
 
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska. The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services. The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge. Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska. "By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read. "We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .