Under Colorado law, a fetus is not a person, but Catholic leaders say that's no excuse for one of their hospitals to use that argument to win a legal battle. The debate comes from a lawsuit filed by a man whose wife and unborn twins died at St. Thomas More Hospital in Canon City, Colorado. She was seven months pregnant at the time and the lawsuit alleges that the hospital was liable for wrongful death because they failed to perform a Cesarean section to save the twins. The case is currently being appealed to the State Supreme Court
In earlier trials, the hospital's lawyers have argued they aren't liable for the death of the twins, because Colorado law states that a fetus is not a person. And legally, they've been vindicated. Two lower courts have already ruled in their favor and the Supreme Court is unlikely to change the definition of a person. However, many abortion rights advocates have noted the hypocrisy of a staunchly pro-life organization changing its attitude when it's economically convenient.
More importantly, Catholics have noticed as well, and many are outraged that the hospital would defy Church teachings simply to win a legal battle. William Donahoe of the Catholic League lashed out at the hospital on CNN this morning, saying they should be stripped of their Catholic status and that anyone who defies the "natural law" of the Church just to save money is a "harlot." Local bishops have promised to review the case, with the Archbishop of Denver saying in a statement that, "No Catholic institution may legitimately work to undermine fundamental human dignity." When some Catholic hospitals are attacked for refusing to perform abortions, and others for refusing to save the unborn, there's simply no side of this issue that won't bring anger down upon the Church.
I join all those marching for life from afar, and pray that political leaders will protect the unborn and promote a culture of life.— Benedict XVI (@Pontifex) January 25, 2013
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.