Bishops to review 'personhood' lawsuit

Jan. 25, 2013 at 6:37 PM   |   Comments

DENVER, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Colorado's Catholic bishops say they will review a lawsuit in which a Catholic hospital argued the death of a fetus is not the same as the death of a person.

Jeremy Stodghill filed the wrongful death lawsuit after his wife died of an artery blockage at St. Thomas More Hospital in Canon City, Colo., Jan. 1, 2006.

Lori Stodghill, who was 31 at the time, was seven months pregnant with twins, who also died.

The lawsuit alleges the family's obstetrician, Pelham Staples, did not go to the hospital, even though he was on call for emergencies, and no medical personnel at the hospital tried to perform Caesarian section to save the twins.

Catholic Health Initiatives, which operates the hospital, argued in the lawsuit the Colorado Wrongful Death Act requires the death of a person and does not apply in the death of a fetus that was not born or delivered, The Denver Post reported Friday.

The Catholic Church has campaigned for changes in the law to recognize fetuses as persons.

Colorado's three Catholic bishops -- Samuel Aquila of Denver, Michael Sheridan of Colorado Springs and Fernando Isern of Pueblo -- said in a joint statement Catholic Health Initiatives had offered assurances of its "intention to observe the moral and ethical obligations of the Catholic Church."

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