Catholic hospital finds it in their heart (or best interest) to argue in court that fetuses aren’t people.

Gah, I see Dr. Dave already got to this while I was on the road yesterday.  Ah well, it’s a good enough story to get out there twice.  :P


I’m back in the saddle, er, office (er, my own bedroom).  I woke up this morning feeling refreshed, brought up the news, and it’s like not god was sending me a welcome back gift.

There is a Catholic hospital, St. Thomas More hospital in Cañon City, that upholds the Catholic view on abortion: that it ends a life, is tantamount to murder, etc.

Last year, the hospital chain reported national assets of $15 billion. The organization’s mission, according to its promotional literature, is to “nurture the healing ministry of the Church” and to be guided by “fidelity to the Gospel.” Toward those ends, Catholic Health facilities seek to follow the Ethical and Religious Directives of the Catholic Church authored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Those rules have stirred controversy for decades, mainly for forbidding non-natural birth control and abortions. “Catholic health care ministry witnesses to the sanctity of life ‘from the moment of conception until death,’” the directives state. “The Church’s defense of life encompasses the unborn.”

Boom!  They’re committed.

So, sad thing, a few years back a pregnant woman was brought into their ER with a clog in an essential artery that ultimately led to her having a heart attack.  The obstetrician who was on call for emergencies that night was paged, but never responded.  The woman died, as did the twins in her womb.  Now her husband is filing a wrongful-death lawsuit on behalf of not only his wife, but on behalf of the twins who experts say could have been saved via caesarian-section.

So with its back to the wall, does the Catholic Health Initiatives (the group that runs the hospital) stick to their principles, accept responsibility, and use some of their multitudes of funds to make right on their mistake?  Of course not.  They run from responsibility like a child molester from the police.

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.”

Don’t worry though.  As soon as they’re off the hook for their fuck up, it’ll be back to “fetuses are a human life we must protect.”

Don’t blame them – this is what almost all religious people do.  They’re all about their religious principles until those principles actually affect their lives, then all of a sudden human wisdom is pretty grand.  “Yes the bible is true…but no pre-marital sex?  That’s open to interpretation…by me.”

I'll bet you one unplanned pregnancy that you are secretly pro-choice.

Abortions, pre-marital sex, love thy neighbor, they’re all immutable moral laws handed down by god himself until they become inconvenient, then suddenly god is forgiving or wanted what we presently want the entire time.

Of course, many religious people are capable of taking responsibility without lying and dodging when they’ve caused grievous harm to others .  Catholic organizations have, shall we say, a pretty horrible record of living up to any human standard in that regard.

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About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.


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