Sorry, Fetuses! If You Inconvenience a Dude You’re Not a Person.

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.


Related Posts:

If You’re a Catholic Church Employee, You Don’t Have as Many Rights

Catholic Church Abuses, Another State Launches an Investigation

Catholic Church Dumps Another Charity Due to LGBT Support


Image credit: Rosser321


Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson4 years ago

Why are we surprised that a religious body is being hypocritical. I mean after all, it is a cornerstone of all they are. The norm in all cases. Interesting. As for the article, in some ways the hospital winning would almost be a PLUS for the overall cause, it could set precedent and give the church less clout.

Natasha Salgado
Past Member 4 years ago

The Catholic faith is a SHAM...repulsive.

elaine v.
ain v5 years ago

the enthusiasm of this article to conflate religious beliefs with the mistake of an institution that is simply labeled "catholic" astounds me. it also convinces me that most pro-choice writers here in care2 are not only religiously intolerant but can't write a relevant article for their cause as well.

Marcia O.
Marcia Oyler5 years ago

What a tragedy.

Roberta G.
Roberta G5 years ago

Seems to me this is about the loss of two unborn babies, and the Catholic Church claiming a lawsuit is invalid because the two unborn were "fetuses with no individual rights".
This is about the hypocrisy of a chuch going against going against their teachings about the sanctity of life in order to avooid a multi-million dollar lawsuit.

So how did people get so far off the subject? This is not about rape, unprotected sex, or pregnancies caused by rape.

It is about HYPOCRISY!

Carol M.
carol m5 years ago

Should be up to the ind. person whatever their beliefs are to have the baby or not.

Arlette H.
Arlette H5 years ago

This case seemed to me more of medical negligence...any hospital would try to save the unborn babies at that point of the pregnancy. I'm sure they would have lost in a law suit.

Cyan Dickirs
Cyan Dickirs5 years ago

Pam W was it not a woman's choice to have sex, unprotected sex? It does take two, does it not? If you want reproductive choice, don't get pregnant, don't participate in activities that would get you pregnant. Abortion is a selfish "choice". Having sex is a selfish choice. Rape pregnancies are very rare and not applicable to 99.9999% of the abortions for convenience. Objecting to abortion on demand is not misogynistic hatred, however much you want to redefine or misdefine words and concepts.

Cyan Dickirs
Cyan Dickirs5 years ago

Hard cases make bad laws make worse judgments when all the facts are not presented. This article is full of logical fallacies, does not even rise to the level of fallacy.
That said, if we are arguing from the exception, then I offer an exception to the complaint that men are the problem or not part of solution and have no rights or opinions.
I have known at least 5 women who deliberately got pregnant, in order to force a man to marry them. In 4 of the cases, the man asked for custody and complete responsibility for the child, but refused marriage, even begged for joint custody and offered generous child support. But the women held out for marriage or abortion. Four of the women had abortions, despite the men's legal petitions. One man caved, married. When the child was born, he divorced and filed for custody. He got it, based on his proof of the woman's actions.
There are no easy answers, but the arguments presented herein for abortion on demand, and reviling the Catholic Church on false premises and unrevealed facts and complete fabrications of the legal position of the hospital and ignoring the law in Colorado, are specious at best.

Bush W.
Bush W.5 years ago

Dawid B:
"The term "anti-choice" is also misleading - allowing an unborn child to live is a choice, and a moral one at that."

Please look up the word "equivocation" in a dictionary. You will find a picture of the deceitful anti-choice brigade next to the definition.

Continuing a pregnancy is *a choice*.
Terminating a pregnancy is *a choice*.

The power to decide which of those choices to make is CHOICE.

The anti-choice brigade seeks to deny women the power to decide which choice to make concerning their own pregnancies.


An individual can be opposed to abortion without being anti-choice.

I'm opposed to cheating on one's intimate partner, which I think is immoral. I would never advocate that adultery be illegal and punishable under the law.

What I don't actually understand, of course, is how someone can claim to believe that abortion is the killing of a human being and not advocate that women who have abortions be punished for murder. But then, I would never claim to understand what goes on in the minds of people who hate and want to control other people.