When Dogma Trumps the Constitution and Dollars Trump Dogma


Since I last wrote about the personhood of convenience,  the Catholic hospital that defended itself in a wrongful death suit by claiming that fetuses are not people, along with the Catholic Bishops of Colorado, issued a statement saying it was morally wrong to defend that suit by arguing fetuses are not persons under the law. Therefore, fetuses shouldn’t be considered persons in this case.

In short, this is a story about the Catholic Churches priorities.  Dogma trumps the constitution and dollars trump dogma.

First, a little background.  Jeremy Stodghill filed a wrongful death suit against the hospital and its corporate owner Catholic Health Initiatives two years ago.  Lori Stodghill, died because of a pulmonary embolism on New Year’s Day 2006.  She was seven months pregnant with twin fetuses. Her ob-gyn was on call, but didn’t respond to his pages.  Therefore, he couldn’t perform an emergency C-section to possibly save the twin fetuses or give an order to do so.  The fetuses died in their mother’s uterus shortly after her death.

Had CHI and Thomas More Hospital not tied their health care philosophy to Church doctrine, their defense in the law suit wouldn’t be notable.

The hospital is a Catholic Hospital and professes to follow Catholic Church Doctrine.  It’s the same doctrine that conservatives latch on to justify their personhood amendments and their barrage of attacks on women’s constitutional rights (as per Roe v. Wade).  It’s the same doctrine that the pro-birth movement uses to attack Obamacare with the specious argument that Obamacare is an attack on their religious freedom.

Never mind that personhood amendments, restrictions on access to constitutionally protected health care services can literally cost women THEIR lives and their health.  Never mind the fact that imposing Catholic Church doctrine on the rest of us would be an attack on our religious freedom (meaning freedom to practice a religion or freedom not to practice a religion.)

There are profound consequences that would come with recognizing a fetus as a person. Catholic doctrine calls for forcing victims of rape to carry their rapist’s child to term.  No exceptions.  If a woman dies as a result of an at risk pregnancy, so what. However, when it comes to money, the fetus who was a person from the moment of conception is no longer a person.

They could have settled the suit, but they chose to apply laws that make sense to the rest of us in the name of saving a few dollars.

The statement claiming that it was morally wrong to make the legally sound argument doesn’t change the fact that, in this case, dollars trump the dogma that takes precedent over women’s lives  and their rights under the constitution.

Image: New York Personal Injury Law blog

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