Thursday, January 24, 2013

Surprise Surprise: Obamacare Supporting "Catholic" Hospital Chain Argues "Unborn Fetus Not A Person"

We well know the true colors of the Catholic Health Association and Catholic Healthcare West (which now calls itself  Dignity or something like that). Look at the subhead under our "A Shepherd's Voice" banner for our position.

Here's a story, appearing all over the net, that makes the position of those organizations crystal clear. We begin with the tragic facts, via The Gawker:

Catholic Hospital Chain Kills Wrongful Death Lawsuit by Arguing that a Fetus is Not a Person
Neetzan Zimmerman

A major Catholic health provider has successfully dismantled a wrongful death lawsuit brought against it by arguing — in defiance of its own long-held doctrine — that a dead fetus
is not the same as a dead person.

The case involves the 2006 death of 31-year-old Lori Stodghill, a woman seven months pregnant with twin boys, who was brought in to the emergency room at St. Thomas More Hospital in Cañon City, Colorado, on New Year's Day.

According to her husband Jeremy, Lori was vomiting and had shortness of breath — symptoms that would later be attributed to the clogged artery that caused her untimely demise.

After he parked the car, Jeremy returned to the ER to find Lori unconscious. Less than an hour later she would be dead of a massive heart attack, and her twins would die with her...."

We move from sadness at the Stodgehill's tragic loss to fury at behavior the hospital, which is part of Catholic Health Intitiatives (the second-largest chain of "Catholic" hospitals in the country), and their attorneys

"A short while later Jeremy, who believes the Cesarean section might have saved his twins, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the faith-based nonprofit which operates St. Thomas More.Catholic Health Initiatives is the second-largest faith-based health system in America, and boasts 78 hospitals in 17 different states.

claims to follow the tenets of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care [PDF], which clearly state that "The Church's defense of life encompasses the unborn."

But when push came to shove, CHI abandoned their beliefs
in order to win a malpractice lawsuit.

CHI's lawyer, Jason Langley, successfully convinced both the Fremont County District Court and the Colorado Court of Appeals to throw out Jeremy's lawsuit on the basis that CHI can not be sued for the wrongful death of a fetus,
because it is not a person.

'[The court] should not overturn the long-standing rule in Colorado that the term ‘person,' as is used in the Wrongful Death Act, encompasses only individuals born alive. Colorado state courts define ‘person' under the Act to include only those born alive. Therefore Plaintiffs cannot maintain wrongful death claims based on two unborn fetuses.'

Jeremy's attorneys are now seeking to have their case heard by the Colorado Supreme Court....

How could they do such a thing? Well, suprise surprise, here's Catholic Health Initiatives response to the Supreme Court's ruling on Obamacare last year:

CHI Applauds Supreme Court Decision on Affordable Care Act
Date 06/28/2012

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act 5-4 in a long-anticipated decision this morning. The court ruled that the individual mandate was constitutional, paving the way for the implementation of a law that will provide health coverage to many millions of additional people across the country.

CHI is gratified by the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act. CHI’s highest priority is access and coverage for all, and the Affordable Care Act is a huge step in that direction.

While the law is not perfect, it goes a long way toward helping us all care for those who are most vulnerable and who need our help the most.

With or without the Affordable Care Act, significant delivery system change is underway in health care in this country. And, CHI will continue to participate in delivery system reforms that provide coordinated, efficient care; reduce costs; improve health outcomes; and tie payments to value provided as we continue to do everything we can to increase access to affordable care for all.

CHI will work with the Catholic Health Association, the American Hospital Association and other groups to champion health care reform that protects life, makes coverage available and affordable and puts our system on a path to reducing costs while providing better and safer care.

CHI remains concerned with one key component of the law, which would require contraceptive coverage for all employees of Catholic organizations. CHI has indicated to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that the only acceptable approaches are to broaden the definition of “religious employers” excluded from the coverage mandate to exempt Catholic hospitals; or to have the federal government provide the coverage itself. CHI remains hopeful that CMS will not infringe on the religious liberty of church-affiliated organizations.

UPDATE: A fellow who blogs on medical issues by the name of DrX makes this point:

"Because Catholic hospitals are not administratively linked or supervised by bishops, it's certainly possible that the attorneys for Catholic Health Initiatives mounted this defense without the knowledge of any Catholic bishops. So now comes the test. Will the bishops insist that Catholic Health Care Initiatives must abandon this legal strategy? If not, then it's moral game, set and match against Church opposition to ACA birth control coverage requirements."

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