That is, of course, a question that practically answers itself. Via reader Vote for Pedro I learned about a court case arising from a tragic situation in 2006 when a woman who was seven months pregnant with twins started vomiting and was short of breath and was admitted to the emergency room of a Colorado hospital run by the Catholic church. The obstetrician on call did not answer his page and the woman died within the hour and the twins did not survive either.
Her husband sued Catholic Health Initiatives, the non-profit that runs the hospital and 170 other hospitals around the country, for negligence saying that if the doctor had come or at least instructed the frantic emergency room staff to do a Caesarean, it may not have saved the mother but could have saved the twins.
But the defense attorneys for CHI made a surprising argument that contradicted their client’s long-standing Catholic doctrine that life begins at conception and that fetuses should be considered persons, and is the basis for all the ‘personhood’ initiatives being promoted nationwide by anti-choice advocates.
But when it came to mounting a defense in the Stodghill case, Catholic Health’s lawyers effectively turned the Church directives on their head. 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. [My italics-MS]
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 the Catholic church, in order to avoid liability in this case, is now arguing that the term ‘person’ only applies to those born alive. CHI has won its case so in the lower courts and the matter is now up for possible consideration before the Colorado Supreme Court.