Hypocrisy within the so-called “pro-life” movement is nothing new – a fetus is definitely a person they always say -- but now the Catholic Church, the archetypal pro-life institution, has successfully defended itself in a medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit by arguing just the opposite – a fetus is not a person they claimed.
So a human life begins at conception and a fetus is a person unless we’re being sued for wrongful death says the Church.
Well, at least legally the Church is absolutely correct in this instance. That’s why this Catholic hospital chain, Catholic Health Initiatives,’ beat a medical malpractice case in a Colorado court by saying that fetuses aren’t people.
And I have no doubt that, under Colorado law, they will be affirmed on appeal in that state's Supreme Court.
I suppose it’s perfectly OK for them to argue one way spiritually and another legally. The fact that they’re guilty of the most blatant hypocrisy possible is beside the point when big money is at stake. Catholic Health Initiatives, you see, is a non-profit conglomerate organization that owns roughly 170 health care facilities in 17 states, with national assets totaling around $15 billion.
Catholic hospitals purportedly base their ethical practices on the Ethical and Religious Directives of the Catholic Church, which were authored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. These guidelines state that, “Catholic health care ministry witnesses to the sanctity of life ‘from the moment of conception until death. The Church’s defense of life encompasses the unborn.” Consequently, they refuse to dispense contraceptives, perform abortions or offer end-of-life services.
If you are a Catholic, in light of what the Church has argued in this lawsuit, what exactly are you now expected to believe?
The plaintiff’s decedent, a 31-year-old woman, was seven months pregnant with twins when she died of a heart attack in the Catholic hospital’s emergency room. ER personnel had paged her obstetrician but the doctor never answered. So the twin boys, who surely would otherwise have been saved, perished in the womb with their mother.
The wrongful-death suit filed by her husband maintained that the doctor should have made it to the hospital or ordered an emergency cesarean section by phone in order to save the babies. But Colorado law defines “person” to include only those born alive. Therefore, ruled the court, Plaintiff cannot maintain wrongful death claims based on two unborn fetuses.
The Catholic Bishops of Colorado declined to comment on the legal proceedings but said it will review the litigation and Catholic Health Initiatives' practices "to ensure fidelity and faithful witness to the teachings of the Catholic Church."
They won the lawsuit; they don’t have to pay a nickel; but now they’re going to review the case "to ensure fidelity and faithful witness to the teachings of the Catholic Church."
If I were the grieving father, I wouldn’t hold my breath over the prospect of the Catholic Church changing its mind on this one.
The law is the law, they dodged a bullet, and to Hell with Church doctrine!
Life begins at conception? Not this time!