Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Is a fetus a person?

The Catholic Church in Colorado and a long-standing rule in Colorado say no, a fetus is NOT a person.

What to make of this?


"Lori Stodghill was 31-one years old, seven-months pregnant with twin boys and feeling sick when she arrived at St. Thomas More hospital in CaƱon 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.

 In the aftermath of the tragedy, Stodghill’s husband Jeremy, a prison guard, filed a wrongful-death lawsuit on behalf of himself and the couple’s then-two-year-old daughter Elizabeth. Staples should have made it to the hospital, his lawyers argued, or at least instructed the frantic emergency room staff to perform a caesarian-section. The procedure likely would not have saved the mother, a testifying expert said, but it may have saved the twins."

Here's where it gets strange:


"Catholic organizations have for decades fought to change federal and state laws that fail to protect “unborn persons,” and Catholic Health’s lawyers in this case had the chance to set precedent bolstering anti-abortion legal arguments. Instead, they are arguing state law protects doctors from liability concerning unborn fetuses on grounds that those fetuses are not persons with legal rights. 

 As Jason Langley, an attorney with Denver-based Kennedy Childs, argued in one of the briefs he filed for the defense, 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.”

So here we have one of the most outspoken organizations on the "right to life" continuum saying that, in fact, in a long-standing rule in Colorado, a 'person' in a Wrongful Death Act is only an individual who is born alive."

If I read that correctly, a fetus is NOT a person--and the Catholic Church and the long-standing rule in Colorado do not recognize a fetus as a person.


 Reproductive Rights in Colorado:

 If you are a woman seeking reproductive health care in Colorado . . . It is your right to have a safe, legal abortion. Unfortunately, 87% of Colorado counties do not have an abortion provider.

So one of the most strident religious organization on the planet that is against ANY abortion for ANY reason is now saying that a fetus is not a person?  Well, then how can it be murder? 

Where is that loud-mouthed spokesman for the Catholic Church, Bill Donohue on this complete reversal of everything the Catholic Church has stood for on abortion?

Charlie Pierce nails it in this beautiful take-down of the galloping hypocrisy of the organization that is the Catholic Church on this issue.

Here.

21 comments:

Silverfiddle said...

"If I read that correctly, a fetus is NOT a person--and the Catholic Church and the long-standing rule in Colorado do not recognize a fetus as a person."

Yup. You read it correctly. Congratulations. That is how the law reads, but you've drawn the wrong conclusion:

"So one of the most strident religious organization on the planet that is against ANY abortion for ANY reason is now saying that a fetus is not a person?"

No. The Catholic Church says a fetus is a person. It is the law that says a fetus is not a person, and this case is to be decided under US law, not canon law, as it should be in America.

The Catholic Church is also against adultery and blasphemy, but you don't see them seeking to punish adulterers and blasphemers in a court of law either.

So tell us again where is this *Shock and Horror!* hypocrisy?

Shaw Kenawe said...

Here it is:

The Catholic Church had an opportunity to challenge the Colorado law in this law suit, didn't it?

It isn't doing so.

Doesn't the church that believes god's law is above civil law have a duty to defend it?

Why does it not do so in this case?

Remember. This is the same organization that protected the church's reputation over protecting children from rapists. It IGNORED the law that would procescute child rapists. The scandal in the LA archdiocese is rife with evidence of Cardinal Mahoney instructing his underlings on how to hide the felons from the law in that horrid case.

I find this case fascinating and full of hypocrisy on the church's part.

It appears that the church is very careful to follow "the law" in this case; but in the case of child rapists, it worked to cover up those crimes.

Very curious.

Rational Nation USA said...

Indeed Shaw, indeed.

skudrunner said...

The catholic church is almost as corrupt as our elite congress. They are against abortion but ignore or cover up pedophilia. The want to help the poor but not with their money.

"It is your right to have a safe, legal abortion. Unfortunately, 87% of Colorado counties do not have an abortion provider."
Abortion is an individual decision but there are other forms of birth control. If there is no abortion provider how do suggest one is provided? Maybe obamacare will will require all surgeons perform abortions, that would solve the problem.

Silverfiddle said...

No one is denying the corruption that has happened in the church, so that is a canard.

The church has no standing to challenge the law because they are not being charged with it; it is a civil case, so overturning the law is not even an issue. If you don't understand this, please ask an attorney.

In other words, if you do something not punishable by law, I can't go sue you in a court of law and argue that it confect a law so that it can then find you liable.

You can challenge a law when you are charged under it. You then have standing. That is not the case here.

Did you know there were "Personhood" initiatives on our Colorado ballots in 2010 and 2012? Did you also know that the Catholic bishops here were against both measures because they turned anyone even remotely connected to an abortion or even accidental death of a fetus into a capital criminal?

So when the church approaches the law, they are a little more nuanced that you give them credit for.

Shaw Kenawe said...

"So when the church approaches the law, they are a little more nuanced that you give them credit for."

Except for when it comes to pedophilia.

That's the point.

"Did you know there were "Personhood" initiatives on our Colorado ballots in 2010 and 2012? Did you also know that the Catholic bishops here were against both measures because they turned anyone even remotely connected to an abortion or even accidental death of a fetus into a capital criminal?"

Personhood initiatives are stupid. If they were to pass in any state, every spontaneous miscarriage would have to be investigated to make sure involuntary manslaughter was not involved.



Shaw Kenawe said...

Terri, writing in the online Denver Post, had this to say:

Terri wrote: "Most hospitals will try to deliver healthy babies at 32 weeks via c-section in the event of the death of the mother whether it's a catholic hospital or not. There is a 4 minute window where this can be done without complications. This is a matter of ethics. Not morality.

I find it very hard to believe that there wasn't a doctor that could perform an emergency c-section in a large hospital. That would be a very good reason to avoid catholic hospitals like the plague if there wasn't one.

I think that he was right in suing the hospital for negligence in all three deaths. it's even more reprehensable that they turned around and sued the grieving dad for $118,000 in court costs and garnished his wages. That is the most immoral thing that they could have done. It's a shame that their christian compassion got swallowed up by hypocritical dogma."

Silverfiddle said...

"Personhood initiatives are stupid. If they were to pass in any state, every spontaneous miscarriage would have to be investigated to make sure involuntary manslaughter was not involved."

So you agree with the Colorado Bishops.

Shaw Kenawe said...

The real question is would the RCC, nevermind the Colorado bishops, want to change the law.

Anonymous said...

Haven't you folks got anything better to do than get get all het up over legal technicalities? Of course abortion is murder, but so is listening to endless debate over it. Has no one here heard the phrase "get a life" yet? High time you did, I'd say.

------------> Katharine Heartburn

Shaw Kenawe said...

Anonymous said...
Haven't you folks got anything better to do than get get all het up over legal technicalities? Of course abortion is murder, but so is listening to endless debate over it. Has no one here heard the phrase "get a life" yet? High time you did, I'd say.

------------> Katharine Heartburn

So who dragged you here and made you read this post Katharine?

Talk about getting a life.

You sound like an internet scold.

I have one word of advice for you, dear: Tums.

Ducky's here said...

One thing to remember is that the idea of a "Catholic hospital" has morphed in the last few decades.

"For profit hospital" is more apt and the Church just fronts while the hospital is run by the suits who are naturally going to do anything they can to avoid liability.

It's all about the bling, Silver.

Silverfiddle said...

@ Ducky: "One thing to remember is that the idea of a "Catholic hospital" has morphed in the last few decades.

"For profit hospital" is more apt and the Church just fronts while the hospital is run by the suits who are naturally going to do anything they can to avoid liability.

It's all about the bling, Silver. "


Damn... I agree with you... Government corrupts all it touches.

Anonymous said...

But t6here is no corruption in private business, NO!
Take inventory on what the government has done, and only government can do.

News Flash said...

Neil Heslin, the father of a 6-year-old boy who was slain in the Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, stoically faced down pro-gun activists last night.

More than 1,000 people attended a hearing before the Gun Violence Prevention Working Group at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford on Monday to share their views on gun control, USA Today reported. Among them was Heslin, who held a large framed picture of himself and his son Jesse as he urged officials to consider strengthening gun laws in Connecticut.

But as he gave his emotional testimony, pleading with lawmakers to improve mental health options and to ban assault weapons like the one Adam Lanza used to murder his child and 25 other people, his speech was interrupted by dozens of audience members, The Connecticut Post reported.

“I still can't see why any civilian, anybody in this room in fact, needs weapons of that sort. You're not going to use them for hunting, even for home protection," Heslin said.

Pro-gun activists responded by calling out: "Second Amendment!"

Undeterred, Heslin continued. "There are a lot of things that should be changed to prevent what happened."

Silverfiddle said...

@ Anon: "But t6here is no corruption in private business, NO!
Take inventory on what the government has done, and only government can do. "


I get your sarcasm. Corruptibility is part of the human condition, whether those humans are in government or the private sector.

Why should government claim a monopoly on it in certain markets?

Jerry Critter said...

Very true, SF. Corruption, like stupidity, is not confined to government. It is spread throughout our society.

News Flash said...

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told reporters on Tuesday that it's a mistake for the president to push for same-sex couples to be included in immigration reform, if he wants Republicans to support the bill.

"Why don't we just put legalized abortion in there and round it all out," Graham said to reporters.

Graham is part of an eight-member group -- four Republicans, four Democrats -- that released a framework on Monday for bipartisan immigration reform. Their framework touches on four main principles, but does not address same-sex couples, who are not given the right to petition for green cards for their partners under the Defense of Marriage Act -- even if they are legally married in their state.

S.W. Anderson said...

I agree with the online letter writer. It seems inconceivable that ER "staff" couldn't have at least attempted to salvage the twins, whether "staff" included an obstetrician or not, or even a physician or not. With the mother dead, there was nothing to lose by trying.

I would like to know a lot more about what measures were taken to save Lori Stodghill's life, and by whom. This was a 31-year-old woman, fercryinoutloud.

Even with the mother dead, internal heart massage along with providing extra oxygen might have bought time well beyond the cited four minutes with which to save the twins.

While more information is needed, it reeks of incompetence and hidebound jerks more concerned (ironically) about potential lawsuits than saving lives.

S.W. Anderson said...

Re: the point of Shaw's post. Yes, this is a breathtaking example of feckless hypocrisy.

Re: the wrongful death suit. Without declaring fetuses persons under the law, Colorado legislators, if so inclined, could define a fetus to be "potential human life," which is what a fetus is. If that were to be done, litigants and courts could go at it for whatever value is placed on potential life.

I think most people can appreciate the severity of emotional harm and loss to Jeremy Stodghill, but establishing some just and reasonable monetary value for loss of the twins would be very difficult.

If someone were to steal a lottery ticket from me (if I were to break down and buy one in the first place), the fact that the ticket was my chance to win $20 million wouldn't mean anything in court unless I could prove my stolen ticket had the winning number on it. Otherwise, the ticket's only value is the $1 it cost.

Anonymous said...

Are fetuses part of the census? No.


Also...

If you ask a pregnant woman, who also has a 3 year old, how many children she has she will most likely respond by saying "1 child with 1 on the way"...not 2 children.