A Catholic hospital in Colorado has argued in court documents that it is not liable for the deaths of twin 7-month-old fetuses because those fetuses are not people under state law.
So far, courts have sided with the hospital, but that defense contradicts Catholic teaching that human life is sacred from the moment of conception.
The issue of whether a fetus is a person was raised in a lawsuit filed by Jeremy Stodghill, whose 31-year-old wife, Lori, died in 2006 at St. Thomas More Hospital in Canon City, Colo. Lori Stodghill was 7 months pregnant with twins at the time. The suit claims the hospital failed to perform an emergency cesarean section to save the fetuses.
According to published reports, a brief filed by the hospital, owned by Englewood, Colo.-based Catholic Health Initiatives, said that the fetuses are not covered by state’s Wrongful Death Act. “Under Colorado law, a fetus is not a ‘person’ and plaintiff’s claims for wrongful death must therefore be dismissed,” the hospital argued.
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