This legal maneuver doesn’t enhance the public image of Catholic Health Initiatives, and you can bet that Obama’s vultures are circling. It appears from reports that Lori Stodghill lost her life at Thomas More Hospital in Canon City due to a pulmonary embolism which led to a massive heart attack. Her two unborn babies also died, and the current lawsuit argues that this need not have happened. Dr. Pelham Staples, the hospital’s obstetrician on call did not answer his pager, for reasons unspecified in the reports.
The surprise inside this case is the lawyer, proffering a defense that the babies are not legal persons, and therefore are not protected by Colorado malpractice statutes. Lawyer Jason Langley argued that 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.”
This kind of defense is not a good idea for Catholic Health Initiatives for a number of ethical reasons. It could also cost their member institutions more in philanthropic contributions than the cost of losing the Stodghill lawsuit.
It also undermines any Catholic objections to the HHS mandate. Obama’s team must be laughing themselves silly to see such a bad maneuver by this significant group of ideological opponents.
Is this battle worth losing the war?