Thursday, February 21, 2013

Catholic Hospital Argues Fetuses are Not Persons


Originally posted at AbortionGang.

On January 25, 2013, anti-choicers from across the country gathered to march on Washington DC, in a show of their support for fetal life. This year, I’d almost forgotten about the March for Life- mostly because the event is a ton of high schoolers who are bused in to increase numbers. It’s a way for teenagers to travel, have time off from school, and hang with their friends- and sometimes they even get a little extra credit for going. So I’m not really worried about hundreds of kids taking a vacation (although you should listen to @ClinicEscorttalk to a train full of them about her abortion experience here).
What reminded me that the March of Life was happening soon, was an article posted on January 23 on a Colorado news website titled “In malpractice case, Catholic hospital argues fetuses aren’t people.
What?
Here’s a summary of what happened: in 2006, a woman who was 7 months pregnant with twins arrived at the hospital short of breath and vomiting. She passed out, and had a massive heart attack because of a clog in her artery. The doctor on call never showed up that night, the woman died less than an hour after entering the hospital, and the twins died in the womb. A terribly heartbreaking situation. The  husband is filing a wrongful-death lawsuit for the twins–he realized that his wife was beyond saving, but argues that the doctor should have arrived to perform a cesarean and saved the twins.
The Catholic hospital’s lawyers countered that fetuses aren’t people, and therefore the husband cannot file a wrongful-death suit for them.
What?
If you ever want to know if someone REALLY believes what they are saying, pin it against money, apparently. The hospital has twice–before a court, and an appeals court–argued that persons are born, and therefore the viable, 7 month gestation fetuses are not persons. Once again: the lawyers for a Catholic hospital which has a mission stating, “Catholic health care ministry witnesses to the sanctity of life ‘from the moment of conception until death,’” have said,
…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.”
Now, there is a very important point here I’d like to make- if the Catholic lawyers had argued the other way, things could have been very different. If they had agreed that the twin fetuses could have a wrongful-death lawsuit filed for them, and that the Catholic hospitals recognized their personhood, they could have had the beginnings of legal precedent for recognizing fetuses as persons. Of course, many hospitals and laws already recognize the value of a viable fetus to a family, and this case couldn’t have banned abortion overnight. But they didn’t choose to do that- for this Catholic hospital, it seems that money is more important than fetal life.
I probably sound like I’m repeating myself a lot, but this is a big deal. If a Catholic hospital will argue in a court of law that fetuses aren’t persons, then perhaps we shouldn’t respect their argument when it’s based upon the concept that fetuses are persons (which is quite often). If they really, truly believed and supported their position, they wouldn’t argue against it. If even Catholic hospitals following the rules of the US Catholic Bishops (some of the biggest fighters against abortion) don’t believe their ideas, why should we consider laws they try to pass? Or let them have ways to opt out of the birth control mandate?
I don’t think we should. Of course, these types of things aren’t decisions I get to make personally. But I can remember these facts about antichoicers while I am having discussions with them: that anti-choice people get abortions too; that more people are calling themselves pro-life, but support for legal abortion has not decreased; that Catholic hospitals don’t always follow the idea that life begins at conception. Some people are incredibly sure of themselves, until they face a trial of their beliefs. My goal is not to change minds overnight, or push people further into their beliefs, but to open their mind to the vast possibilities around them. Sharing this story about a Catholic hospital denying the personhood of fetuses is one way to show the world is not completely black and white for anyone, but a huge ball of gray.

5 comments:

  1. Either teach that the earth is 6,000 years old or be fired.

    Interesting case, what is important, but the journalists fails to report is what type of teachers these are. The Supreme Court ruled that Christian schools can fire for religious grounds those in a position of ministry and teaching faith. This would be a hard argument to make to justify firing a math or science teacher.Click Here

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  3. "Sharing this story about a Catholic hospital denying the personhood of fetuses is one way to show the world is not completely black and white for anyone, but a huge ball of gray."

    Do you believe God shares this same perspective? I'm not sure that He sees the world as "huge ball of gray".

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  4. The lawyers are really there to represent the insurance company, and they're professionally obligated to make whatever legal argument is most likely to help the insurance company avoid making the payout.

    There's really not much of a story here.

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  5. You call yourself a Christian but then you rally against 'anti-choicers.' You are clearly against your own brothers and sisters in this matter in that you label them 'anti-choice' rather than fellow Christians. You condemn fellow believers as 'anti-choice.'

    To label those who oppose abortion as 'anti-choice' implies that we want to take away choice from people. When has it ever been beyond a woman's choice to kill her own baby? The answer is never. The option for a woman to kill her own child has always existed. You want to kill them inside the womb? Here is an herbal remedy, here is a coat hanger, here is a doctor. The methods may have changed, but the choice has been ever present.

    And since when have our own choices not brought about consequences? Again, never. The effects may be positive or negative, but choice never comes as a consequence free action or motive. Choice equals consequence (good/bad) but choice never equates to indifference.

    You cannot take away a person's freedom of choice. You can limit the legality of choice, but the option to choose is never eliminated.

    It all comes back around to 'rights' and 'responsibilities.' You have the right to choose any path you wish in life, no one can deny you of your rights. You must also take responsibility for your choices.

    If what you claim is true, that you want to help women in need, then why don't you volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center, instead of propagating the idea that abortion should
    be available without any consequences?

    There are options for women, there are Christians who are willing to take mothers/children in to help them, but most women just want to make a 'choice' that frees them of any further obligations.

    I can tell you that right now there are maternity clothes, baby clothes, food, diapers, and even a college scholarship waiting to be given to a woman in need at the center I volunteer at. That's not what people want though. People want 'consequence free choice' and that, in and of itself, is an oxymoron.

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