I don’t know many people who think anti-choice activists are actually concerned about children. If that were true, we’d have fully state-funded childcare, contraception and parental leave. However, every once in a while a story comes along that makes the anti-choice hypocrisy so vivid you’d think you were watching it Technicolor.
The story is tragic. In 2006, Lori Stodghill was seven months pregnant with twins when she was admitted to St. Thomas More Hospital with vomiting and shortness of breath. It was later revealed that she had a clogged artery that caused her to have a heart attack. Stodghill’s OB-GYN failed to answer his page and in less than an hour Stodghill and her twins died.
Lori Stodghill’s husband, Jeremy, has filed a wrongful death claim against the hospital, alleging that, while an emergency C-section would not have saved his wife, it would have saved the fetuses she was carrying.
Like I said, tragic. It’s sad when you lose a spouse and a wanted pregnancy. I can’t imagine being in that position. The response from the hospital – the Catholic hospital – was… not what you’d expect.
First, it’s worth reviewing what the Catholic position on “life” is. Life, according to the Catholic Church begins, not with a pregnancy, but with the fertilization of an egg. It’s this principle that has propelled anti-choice legislation across the country. What’s more, Catholic Health Initiatives, the nonprofit that runs St. Thomas More, enforces the Ethical and Religious Directives of the Catholic Church, which states that “The Church’s defense of life encompasses the unborn.” Clearly, this is a deeply held belief. It’s not something that can be casually tossed aside for convenience.
Or is it? Lawyers for Catholic Health Initiatives are arguing that they don’t have to pay a red cent because fetuses are not individual people with individual rights.
Why am I not surprised? Up is down! War is Peace! Cats are dogs! Who knows anymore?
Once a fetus starts inconveniencing them and not a tool for oppressing women I guess the Catholic hospitals get a little more flexible.
Oh, and did I mention that Catholic Health Initiatives is worth $15 million? Yeah.
I get that, if you’re the lawyer for the hospital, you gotta use the argument that’s going to win. But ultimately it’s the client that calls the shots. You’d think that, by not making this argument, they could then argue that they are willing to put their money where their mouth is. But they didn’t. And that’s telling.
However, on Thursday Colorado bishops announced that they are reviewing the litigation to make sure Catholic Health Initiatives is sufficiently protecting fetuses.
I don’t expect much to come of this. Are the bishops really going to tell hospitals to give up a winning argument? I’m skeptical. Just remember, fetuses, once you start being a burden to men, your personhood is negotiable.
Image credit: Rosser321