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. A Person of Faith.

    Every time I check out these discussions, I see the extreme atheists, who assume all Christians are nutjobs with a severe mental illness, and the extreme Christians, who think all atheists are spawns of Satan. Both sides are absolutely arrogant and narrow-minded, if you ask me. It is just as annoying as it is baffling. Is it just me, or is this one the major issues in the world? People failing to see things from another point of view.

    January 29, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
    • NII

      The phenomenon is called inter-religious conflict. Hope as tolerant as you are you take it cool. I feel your pain

      January 29, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      This is what happens when society tolerates delusion for too long.

      January 29, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
    • NII

      Actually this is what happens when deluded individuals believe another is deluded other than they. Society prefers as to enjoy our delusions not use it to fight others.

      January 29, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • Aldewacs

      All atheists ask is a bit of proof.
      Seems like a reasonable request after 2100+ years.
      If irrefutable proof were forthcoming, all atheists (and OTHER religions' followers) would HAVE to convert to your religion since lack of proof is the only thing that really separates them from you.

      So why keep back that proof, believers? Look at all those souls you'd save instantly! Pony up, or shut up.

      PS 1 – you already know that quote from a holy book don't qualify as proof.
      PS 2 – hurry up before "the other" religion offers that proof (but you don't really think THAT is going to happen either, do you? Be honest now... If that were to happen, remember that YOU would have to switch your beliefs and religions... are you ready to consider that?)

      January 29, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
    • NII

      How would Atheists find proof by using their own methods to understand what cannot be found out by Empiricism? If you are interested in finding out how I feel then do what I do.

      January 29, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      I feel it necessary to say that even if the god of the bible were proved beyond any doubt, I would believe but certainly not worship that god without some major explanations.

      January 29, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      That's hilarious Hawaii. You postulate that the possibility of an all knowing, all loving, all powerful creator of all that is seen and all that is unseen could be theoretically proven but if so, he would still be accountable to you. You crack me up dude.

      January 29, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Bill Deacon

      Do you have reading comprehension issues? The subject is worship, not accountability. God's not accountable to Hawaii, Hawaii won't worship without certain explanations.

      January 29, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Maybe I do have comprehension issues. I understand Hawaii to stae that if God were to suddenly materialize he would have some major 'splaining to do. What did I miss?

      January 29, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      I just pointed it out to you, moron. WORSHIP is the issue. Obviously you have reading comprehension issues.

      I agree with Hawaii. I would believe in a god who made his existence known, but I would not worship unless I thought that god was worthy of worship. It is impossible that the completely inconsistent and paradoxical god of the bible might exist, but if a god appeared and claimed to be the god of the bible, I would not worship because that god wants to be seen as the azzhole god of the bible.

      January 29, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
    • Gir

      I see religionists knocking empiricism all the time. What theory of knowledge do YOU propose, and why is it valid?

      January 30, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
  2. Devoted Christian

    God's law is absolute!

    Unless breaking it benefits Christians, of course.

    Jesus be Praised!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 29, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • Aldewacs

      "God's law is absolute!"

      Hmmmm ... you misspelled "obsolete".

      January 29, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
  3. ronvan

    OH BOY: Religion really gets people going! Yes, No, I don't know, Maybe? This is a catholic hospital, sponsored by the catholic religion, the Pope. They FOLLOW, suppossedly, the laws and teachings of the church. Soooo, for me, I am interested in what the church, Pope, is going to do. Will they excommunicate them? OR if they support them then how will they effectively enforce, justify, their pro life teachings? How many of you have gone to church and instead of hearing a good sermon, that leaves you with a good feeling, listened to a "sermon"? about politics, gun control, etc.? Makes me wonder IF these church's, whatever your religion, are teaching-preaching, the word of God or just making it up depending on current situations?

    January 29, 2013 at 8:43 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      If you go to a Catholic mass, you will not hear a sermon. You will hear a homily which is designed to draw a lesson from the liturgy. I do think however that you make a good point. The legal case against the hospital and the Church's investigation are separate and distinct matters. Just because won the day in court does not mean the Church will not have something to say about the situation.

      January 29, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      you really make a distinction between a homily and a sermon? That's a bit specious I think.

      From the OED:
      homily, n.
      a. A religious discourse addressed to a congregation; a sermon;.

      January 29, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I can't answer for every parish GOP but I find in the several that I regularly attend there is very little if any political slant to the homily and the homily focuses on the predominant lines in Catholicism of the sacraments, community, family etc. Conversely, I think some Protestant denominations draw a more current events line in their sermons. So, yes, I view a homily as a pronouncement of religious teachings and a sermon as closer to preaching a supposition.

      January 29, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
    • Brother Maynard

      Bill D sez:
      "I can't answer for every parish GOP but I find in the several that I regularly attend there is very little if any political slant to the homily and the homily focuses on the predominant lines in Catholicism of the sacraments, community, family etc"
      RIGHT .. the priest saves his politcal message until the end of mass. Slicing that hair awfully thin there Bill.

      January 29, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
  4. pee wee

    Everyone's posting videos now, so I finally figured out how! heh heh!
    Anyway, I tried to find something interesting and odd like the Catholic church, so I found a very odd one!
    It's Our Lady of Perpetual Maytag!! hehe heh!

    January 28, 2013 at 11:07 pm |
  5. HotAirAce

    Another proof that believers are mentally ill, lying hypocrites.

    January 28, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
  6. Really-O?

    @End Religion –

    Hear, hear.

    January 28, 2013 at 8:30 pm |
  7. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    I guess the hypocrisy and smarmy-ness of hiring bottom-dwelling lawyers to protect the interests of the Church is not too surprising. They used to rely on mobs for that sort of thing. I was shocked that they went after the poor bastard who filed against them. To try to recover legal fees and court costs plus a bit more. Sound like a bunch of Scientologists.

    January 28, 2013 at 8:14 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      one religion's lucifer is another religion's xenu...

      January 28, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
  8. Sam Yaza

    its not about Christ its about $$$$

    January 28, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
  9. Ozamataz Buckshank

    All this fetus talk is giving me a rager. There is nothing hotter than abortion.

    January 28, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
  10. the AnViL


    January 28, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
  11. Mohammad A Dar

    Churches, not just Catholics, are going out of business, and the reason being is that they are listening to layers, insurance companies, and politicians too much.

    January 28, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Shut up. I am a layer. I resemble that.

      January 28, 2013 at 8:14 pm |
    • pee wee

      lmao @bucky. omg.

      January 28, 2013 at 8:20 pm |

      @pee wee really!!! licking your ass off goon !! I thought your ass was size of Holland tunnel, too much licking MF.

      January 28, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      yeah, they should listen to the bible and kill all g.ays, non-virgin brides, disobedient children and anyone working the weekend! then they'd be true christians. oh yeah, they need to believe the earth is flat and unicorns exist, since that's in the bible, too.

      January 28, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
  12. ilias

    When does the soul arrive in the body? Does the union of sperm and egg create a soul or has the soul already been created by the Lord of the Soul and returns to a specific body when the body is ready. Perhaps it is the actions of past lives that have caused the return. Can a mind exist in a body without a fully devloped brain or a Soul in a body without a mind? I do not think this subject was written about by the Hebrews and we do not know who has set the rules. However it would be good to think out of the Christian box as the Hebrews have no monopoly on the laws of creation. Certainly after the fourth month of developement it can be considered murder even though it is never a noble human thing to do at any time.

    January 28, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
    • niknak

      If it is a lily white xtian fundie, then the anwer is never.
      Have you ever seen one of them try to dance?
      Definately NO soul!

      January 28, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      How can one who spells definitely with an 'a' be taken seriously?

      January 28, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • niknak

      I guess I don't need spell check when I have you around.

      January 28, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      You're very welcome.

      January 28, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • ilias


      There were many races created and many skin colors, the soul does not change and is the same for all human bodies. We all dance the game of life. Your personal dancing techniques mean nothing in the scheme of things for the ego will not be joining the soul when it returns to the source.

      January 28, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
    • Scriptures tells us his truth

      Luke 1:41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:

      January 28, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
    • ilias

      @Scriptures tells us his truth
      Yes, all mothers feel the leaping after the fourth month. The Holy Ghost is always there, we need to shut off the mind and see and hear with the faculties of the soul. Ink on paper will not be much help.

      January 28, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
    • Observer

      Scriptures tells us his truth,

      The Bible NEVER mentions abortion. You need to read it all.

      January 28, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Dummy. The soul pops in when DNA has completed .999997615234256982765142092357642987853421 it's first replication. How do I know ? The pewp tole me so. Jebus tole him. YOu just need faith, and Jebus will save you.

      January 28, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      As yes. Lying about the Bible and abortion. How typical.
      If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life. - Exodus 21:22-23
      And if it be from a month old even unto five years old, then thy estimation shall be of the male five shekels of silver, and for the female thy estimation shall be three shekels of silver. - Leviticus 27:6
      Number the children of Levi after the house of their fathers, by their families: every male from a month old and upward shalt thou number them. And Moses numbered them according to the word of the LORD. - Numbers 3:15-16
      And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? ... Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. - Numbers 31:15-17
      (Some of the non-virgin women must have been pregnant. They would have been killed along with their unborn fetuses.)
      Give them, O LORD: what wilt thou give? give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts. - Hosea 9:14
      Yea, though they bring forth, yet will I slay even the beloved fruit of their womb. - Hosea 9:16
      Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up. - Hosea 13:16
      Because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die. - 2 Samuel 12:14
      The priest shall say unto the woman, The LORD make thee a curse and an oath among thy people, when the LORD doth make thy thigh to rot, and thy belly to swell. And this water that causeth the curse shall go into thy bowels, to make thy belly to swell, and thy thigh to rot: And the woman shall say, Amen, amen. ...
      And when he hath made her to drink the water, then it shall come to pass, that, if she be defiled, and have done trespass against her husband, that the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter, and her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall rot: and the woman shall be a curse among her people. And if the woman be not defiled, but be clean; then she shall be free, and shall conceive seed. - Numbers 5:21-21, 27-28
      Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the harl'ot; and also, behold, she is with child by who'redom. And Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt. - Genesis 38:24

      January 28, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      no such thing as a soul. that's your brain's amazing capacity to feel emotion.

      January 28, 2013 at 8:59 pm |
  13. Primewonk

    I assume that the Catholic church will now be dropping their lawsuits over the contraception mandate in Obamacare. After all, for months and months they have claimed that their subsidiary groups (like colleges, hospitals, etc.) can't be forced to provide coverage for contraception because life and personhood begins at conception. And they are now on record, in a court of law, stating that a fetus is not a person and has no right to life.

    January 28, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • niknak

      Wrong Primewonker, you made your mistake by trying to use logic.
      When it comes to the magic sky fairy and it's followers, logic does not enter into the equation.

      January 28, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      It's hypocrisy at its best. Kind of like their giant book of multiple choice, they seem to be picking and choosing which laws they have to follow...sad bunch of creatures.

      January 28, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • Reality

      Some nitty-gritty:

      "Twenty-one states offer exemptions from contraceptive coverage, usually for religious reasons, for insurers or employers in their policies: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan (administrative rule), Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas and West Virginia."


      January 28, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
    • Scriptures tells us his truth

      God rejects all those who stray from His word. It does not matter what the subject matter is. There is no salvation for any who heed not holy writ, as Psalm 119:21 proclaims,

      You rebuke the proud, the cursed, who stray from Your commandments.

      January 28, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      Scriptures tells us his truth,

      Scripture / Schmipture - there is not a whit of verified evidence that those old writings are the words of any god.

      January 28, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
    • sam

      @scriptures – really? Help us out here and let us know what the bible says about abortion and contraception. And about when life begins. I mean actual rules about it, not some extremely vague nattering that you believe it's referring to. Go ahead, we'll wait.

      January 28, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
  14. GodFreeNow

    For the Catholic church, life begins at the collection plate.

    January 28, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • niknak

      That is exactly what I thought when I read this.
      Just like the priest pedophilia cases.
      The church only acted on those priests when it started to affect their bottom line.
      NOT because they cared a rip about those molested kids.

      All religions are just corporations. The cross, or the star of David or the moon and sickle are nothing more then corporate logos, just like GM or the Ni_ke swoosh.

      January 28, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
  15. Rational Libertarian

    Hippocrates was far from shameless. His influence to this day in Western medicine is remarkable.

    January 28, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Wrong thread.

      January 28, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • niknak

      You must have meant hippies, not hippocrates.

      And you are right, their influence on Western life has been remarkable 🙂

      January 28, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      They've certainly inspired three generations to dress shabbily, smell terribly, ruin their minds with drugs and have ridiculous economic policies.

      January 28, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • Akira

      Isn't it funny that Jesus is frequently portrayed as a hippy?

      January 28, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Shabby clothes, unkempt appearance, "share the wealth" BS and free loving with twelve guys and a prost.itute. Sounds like a hippy to me.

      January 28, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
    • niknak

      I bet they could help you understand why it hurts when you p_ee, libtard.

      January 28, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I doubt it. Hippies who go on to complete their education rather than drop out immediately acknowledge how ridiculous hippies are and realize the necessity of bathing, shaving, sobriety and fiscal conservatism.

      January 28, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
    • niknak

      I bet all hippies have had issues with it hurting, so I am sure they know the root cause and can help you solve your problem.
      Don't judge a book by it's cover. A great manyt things can be learned from a hippie.

      January 28, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Well, if it's STD related they may have some information for me.

      January 28, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • niknak

      Or how to roll a nice phat dube, or how to properly divide a blotter page.
      And they have some good insight on the musice scene as well.

      January 28, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Well, drug taking is for the mentally inferior and the two best musicians to emerge from the sixties counter culture, Beefheart and Zappa, were vehemently anti-hippy, which is no more noticeable than on Zappa's album "We're Only In It For The Money".

      January 28, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
  16. End Religion

    when i wish to tell you what to do with your life, the fetus is a child filled with a soul given by God. It is a soulless lump of cels and not a child when it may cost me millions in damages. You should know by now this is perfectly in line with the honorable Christian religion, which admires hypocrisy above all else.

    January 28, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • End Religion

      yes, a soulless lump of animation cels...

      January 28, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
  17. Bootyfunk

    way to stick to your convictions, christians! oh that's right, when money's involved, who cares?

    January 28, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
  18. Midge

    She died in the lobby. He suing the hospital for neglect? I'm not understanding this,anyone care to explain.

    January 28, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      then lawyers should argue based on your point, not when life begins. Understand !

      January 28, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • ME II

      Apparently, she died in an examination room after she passed out.
      The husband/father is claiming that the hospital should have performed a C-section to try to save the fetuses, but since they didn't the hospital is responsible for the wrongful deaths of the two fetuses.

      January 28, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      She was also 28 weeks pregnant, which I think puts it in the category of viable outside the womb, so a C-section was well within the realm of options. Not to mention artificial intubation at that stage of development yields very good results most of the time. If the patient wins, it would change nothing, and merely confirm existing precedence.

      January 28, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • derp

      The hospital has admitted wrongdoing in the case of the wife. They balked at the kids because it would have cost them more money.

      How anyone with six brains cells or more can take the catholic church seriously is beyond me.

      January 28, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      The court also ruled against Stodghill in the case of his wife for other legal reasons.

      This is the only quote from the story I saw on the wife derp. Do you have another link?

      January 28, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
    • Akira

      Apparently, the on call surgeon wasn't answering...

      How anyone can defend this abject hypocrisy on the hospital's behalf is beyond me.
      For an organization that puts God's law above man's law, they sure jumped to that man's law when they found it convenient; I find that truly dishonest.

      January 28, 2013 at 10:03 pm |





    January 28, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • Chuckles

      excuse me

      There's this key on the left side of your keyboard, it's between the tab and shift keys and it's called caps lock. Tap it once and you'll find that letters you type won't be in upper case any longer.

      Happy to help!

      January 28, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Nonsense. Ans do us all a favor and break your caps lock key.

      January 28, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      The issue is goons identify themselves as "a Catholic health care company", do you get it stupid before you shoot your mouth off?

      January 28, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • gary

      Never mind, CNN promotes Godlessness anyways. you cannot come to CNN and expect reporting to be fair.
      You can come to CNN to see Catholics under attack.

      They want the fetus to be defined as a personin this case? , if Colorado courts should decide this then it will be a great day for all those who voice their support for the unborn! Then abortion would mean murdering a 'person' within the definition of personhood in colorado courts

      January 28, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
    • midwest rail

      " You can come to CNN to see Catholics under attack. " Nonsense. Disagreement is not persecution, no matter how badly you wish to spin it that way.

      January 28, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      protip: don't write in all caps. makes it difficult to read and looks like you're yelling all the way through.

      the point is that if they believe life begins at conception, how can they morally make this argument? shows the lack of true conviction the church has when money is on the other side of the fence.

      January 28, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
    • Chuckles


      This case won't overturn or set presedence if the plantiff wins, that's not the point. The hospital is using the law as a means of defense, however if the plantiff wins it won't be because the twins were considered human or not but rather if the gynocologist was wrong in not being there in time to perform the C-Section. The defense being used by the hospital is a way for the court to toss out the case.

      I understand that you don't have a law degree so these things would be over your head, but try not having word vomit sometime

      January 28, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
    • pee wee

      I read a study that says anyone that uses all caps is lying right from the get -go. he he.

      January 28, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
  20. Mohammad A Dar

    What a shameless lot of hippocrates? Few hundred thousands in damages carry more weight than their Catholic belief, shame on ALL Catholic goons.

    January 28, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • Midge

      Thank you,now I do. 🙂

      January 28, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • Poltergeist

      Their belief system is still there. Crisis averted.

      January 28, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Hippocrates was far from shameless. His influence to this day in Western medicine is remarkable.

      January 28, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • pee wee

      lol@RL. Poor Mohammad needs to buy a lot of correct letters for his posts.

      January 28, 2013 at 8:25 pm |

      go blow yourself pee wee, goon.

      January 28, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.