January 28th, 2013
01:36 AM ET

Lawyers for Catholic hospital argue that a fetus is not a person

By Ben Brumfield and Kyung Lah, CNN

Canon City, Colorado (CNN) - Life begins at conception, according to the Catholic Church, but in a wrongful death suit in Colorado, a Catholic health care company has argued just the opposite.

A fetus is not legally a person until it is born, the hospital's lawyers have claimed in its defense. And now it may be up to the state's Supreme Court to decide.

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Catholic Church • Faith & Health

soundoff (240 Responses)
  1. kasiakeKins

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    rabat Nike Free Haven 3.0

    April 9, 2013 at 11:40 pm |
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  4. A Catholic

    Here is a follow-up to this story. After the husband asked the Colorado Catholic Dioceses to look into the matter. The bishops met with the Catholic Health initiatives and the Hospital changed their tune. So, if the case goes to the supreme court in Colorado, the Catholic Health Initiatives lawyers, cannot argue that a fetus under Colorado law is not legally a person. here is a link to the follow-up:

    February 4, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
  5. Martin

    Then what about those cases where a pregnant woman is killed or attempted murder. Don't they usually sentence for the woman and the baby? If the baby is not a person then on what grounds do they make the case for the attempted murder on the fetus?

    February 1, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
  6. neo theskepticarena

    @Bill Deacon
    "The Catholic catechism states that life begins at conception. U.S. law, under which this case was tried does not grant person hood to unborn children. That is the difference."

    Apparently, someone forgot to notify the Catholics in this case ... of the catechism.

    THAT is the difference.

    February 1, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
  7. Aldewacs

    Poltergeist said: ...Athiest over play their sympathy cards. Look, the reilgious outnumber you 5 to 1. If they were truley the hateful, evil, bigoted, intolerant, crusaders you make them out to be, you all should be dead already, or at least litigated in to true second citizenship like other minorities."

    Thankfully the likes of you no longer have the opportunity to execise those wishes.

    I quote Madalyn O'Hair:

    " 'I'll tell you what you did with atheists for about 1500 years. You outlawed them teaching at the universities, or any teaching careers, besmirched their reputations, banned or burned their books or their writings of any kind, drove them into exile, humiliated them, seized their properties, arrested them for blasphemy. You dehumanized them with beatings and exquisite torture, gouged out their eyes, slit their tongues, stretched, crushed or broke their limbs, tore off their breasts if they were women, crushed their scrotums if they were men, imprisoned them, stabbed them, disemboweled them, hung them, burnt them alive. And you have nerve enough to complain to me that I laugh at you?"

    -Dr. Madalyn Murray O'Hair "

    January 29, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
    • NII

      Just where did all that happen, Madelene O'hayre?
      Atheist love myths too much rather than learn the lessons of myths!

      January 30, 2013 at 2:41 am |
    • Aldewacs

      Your response reminds me of current generation Germans who cannot possibly fathom that their grandparents, who gave them hugs and candies, could have committed those Nazi atrocities. Must have been a myth....

      January 30, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Wasn't she abducted, abused, extorted and dismembered by one of her atheist employees?

      January 30, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
    • Aldewacs

      @Bill Deacon: indeed she was, an employee who had apparently stolen before, and when exposed by O'Hair, fantasized about hurting her. She was controversial figure who managed to undo several religious 'holy cows' with her activity, and pave the way for a better status for millions of non-religious people.

      Interesting was the reported utter apathy of the Austin, TX police department about the disappearance of the atheist O'Hair, who was voted "most hated" for a while, as another example of "Texan Christian kindness". She worked to get mandatory prayer out of public schools, and to recognize the separation of church and state, and that was all just too much for the "Good Christians" to accept.

      Given that background, it's almost more plausible to accuse the deluded murderer of being a "Good Christian" rather than an 'atheist' as you describe him, although I'd be making that up (I found no evidence of that). If you have a link that indicates such, I'd appreciate it.

      January 30, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • Aldewacs

      @Poltergeist said: (...Athiest over play their sympathy cards. Look, the reilgious outnumber you 5 to 1.)
      – – – – –

      I forgot to add: if 20% "non-religious" is the correct number, then it's a 4 to 1, not 5 to 1 ratio...
      Not that this makes any difference to me ... it's not about Vegas odds, it's about reality. And as we all know, and I taught my kids early on, if you're the only one in a room of 100 that thinks rationally, there is never a reason to capitulate to the mob. Mob peer pressure should be resisted by the intelligent.

      February 1, 2013 at 8:56 am |
    • neo theskepticarena

      Poltergeist said, "Look, the reilgious outnumber you 5 to 1. If they were truley the hateful, evil, bigoted, intolerant, crusaders you make them out to be"

      We made them out to be? How about 'History has shown them to be'.

      "you all should be dead already"

      Why do you think you outnumber us 5 to 1?

      "or at least litigated in to true second citizenship like other minorities."

      Atheists have been litigated and discriminated against, and are now viewed lower than any other minority including Muslims and Gays. But before you celebrate, take a look at recent worldwide polls. Ghost Worshippers, like you, are fading faster than donuts at a policeman's ball; while rational people are the fastest-growing minority.

      February 1, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • End Religion

      Makes me wonder if the "rise of the nones" has as a contributing factor relatively recent lightening of suppression (and actual killing) of atheists. I would bet the majority has to do with the internet, but I wonder if a contributing factor is that we aren't burned at the stake and/or are killed/tortured in less countries these days. In other words maybe we're procreating back to more equitable amount.

      February 1, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
  8. Bob

    A lump of cells is not a person. You know who is a person? The mother.

    January 29, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
  9. Banjo Ferret

    Wait, wait, wait.... wait.... Christians engaging in contradictory practices? Alas, I must adjourn to fetch my shocked face. This amuses Tim the Destroyer of Worlds. Soon everyone will see that they worship false sky daddies and that Ferretianism is the one true religion. Repent! (banjoferret d c)

    January 29, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
    • MrNeedtoKnow

      Why are you accusing all Christians?

      February 1, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
  10. Aldewacs

    Soooooo.... The hospital may take the argument to the supreme court.
    They argue that the fetus is not a person. The church says that the fetus IS a person.

    This is not simple, because the decision (if indeed they arrive at such – not at all a sure thing) of the supreme court might have unintended consequences:

    – if YES it's a person, that would effectively overturn Roe Vs Wade, as abortion (of a fetus = a person) would equate to murder, but the hospital would be in legal hot water, and the church can keep its existing position. This would have the Supreme Court siding with the church position.

    – if NO it's not a person, that would effectively affirm Roe Vs Wade, as abortion (of a fetus =/= a person) would not involve the termination of a person, and the hospital is off the hook, but the church has a new problem. This would have the Supreme Court contradict the church in one of its strictest dogmas. Expect humongous pressure from Rome...

    I'd expect that:

    – the church will throw the hospital under the bus in a New York minute, because they just cannot give up their opposition to abortion. But admittedly, they may contrive some other inane excuse as to why THIS is "a special case" to try and save both baby and bathwater (pun intended). Rome will pay the hospital's costs, if any.

    – the court will NOT want to make this determination. I'd guess they won't hear the case, or try to arrive at some King Solomon verdict.

    January 29, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      You seem confused about the difference between Catholic belief and U.S. law.

      January 29, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • Aldewacs

      @ Bill Deacon: I *WANT* to believe there is a difference.

      January 29, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      The be assured. The Catholic catechism states that life begins at conception. U.S. law, under which this case was tried does not grant person hood to unborn children. That is the difference. If the Catholic belief determined the law there would be outrage over the theocracy and violation of the separation clause.

      January 30, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • Aldewacs

      @Bill Deacon:
      I agree with all you say about the law and the Catholic position.
      I'm merely pointing out how intersting it is that a Cathilic hospital makes a claim against its religious dictates to squirm out of a legal entanglement.
      Is it a case of "Do as I say, not as I do", not putting their money where their mouth is, or an utter lack of character?

      I maintain that both the church and the Supreme Court will aim to avoid a precedent that's sure to come back and bite them if they 'lose'.

      January 30, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • JO

      Rowe V. Wade was not decided on "personhood". The final ruling was based on the woman's right to privacy during the first trimester.

      Basically, the Supremes determined that they could not determine when life begins. So they opted to rule that what happens in the first three months is up to the woman and her physician.

      For most, a baby that can survive outside the womb, it is considered a person. I find it odd that they made no attempt to rescue the babies. Had they been removed, they very likely could have survived. This woman was not in the first trimester, so I don't think her unborn babies would be covered by Roe V. Wade.
      The issue here is Colorado state law.

      February 1, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
    • JO

      This is not a federal case, it is a state case. Most states require doctors to make every attempt to save a fetus that has a chance of surviving outside the womb. Even if the fetus is aborted at five or six months, doctor's are required to attempt to save the baby.

      This woman was seven months pregnant. I would think the guy's attorneys are asking the wrong thing. Instead of wrongful death, they should go after why they refused to make any attempt to save the babies. Roe V. Wade gave women a right to privacy during the first tri-mester. The states created all the additional laws pertaining to how physicians handle the issue.

      This isn't a Roe V. Wade issue. It is a state issue. I hope the guy wins a bundle.

      February 1, 2013 at 6:03 pm |


    January 29, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • Aldewacs

      Let's see that verification.
      But be prepared that all you may get back is ... a monkey.
      And if you find NO verification, will you give up your beliefs, or just keep going, decimating the monkey population?

      January 29, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • MrNeedtoKnow

      For all these years people went to space and back with no results of seen God or Heaven. Perhaps the monkey will see Allah instead. Let us know when you see Allah and what are you smoking so that we all can partake and see this Allah of yours.

      February 1, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
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