Monday, January 28, 2013

The Catholic Flip-Flop On "Fetuses Are Human, Too"

Hypocrisy at its finest, courtesy of Catholicism. Surprise! These would be the same people who fight to criminalize and outlaw abortion with zero exceptions after having had one (or more) themselves. The same people all too happy to blame school shootings on "the removal of God from our schools" while ignoring the fact that God didn't protect the tens of thousands of children sodomized by priests for centuries in his own house. The same people who conveniently forget that church shootings happen more frequently than school shootings. Now a Catholic health care system has taken this "we're exempt from our own rhetoric" policy to a whole new level.

Their stance on abortion and their logic behind that stance are the important factors here. These people tirelessly fight against abortion, calling it the murder of an innocent life because a fetus is an unborn person. These same people decry the use of hormonal birth control as murder because it might endanger a zygote, a single celled organism not yet embedded in the uterine wall, claiming it is an unimplanted person. Until... a Catholic hospital faces litigation because their inaction was directly responsible for the death of two unborn children. Suddenly all that goes out the window and the almost fully developed infants are no longer innocent lives, no longer even human, merely "unborn fetuses" and in fact do not qualify as persons.

This began on New Years Day 2006 when Lori Stodghill arrived at St Thomas More Hospital in Colorado, a hospital run by Catholic Health Initiatives. (CHI is one of those organizations with $15 billion worth of assets but considered "non-profit" *nudge nudge wink wink*.) She was vomiting and short of breath, and passed out as she was being wheeled into an exam room. Attempts to resuscitate her failed because a main artery feeding her lungs was clogged and that had led to a massive heart attack. There was no saving her but the unborn children could have easily been saved by a simple Cesarean section. So why weren't they saved? They weren't saved because no effort was made to save them. The obstetrician on call for emergencies that night never answered his page. That obstetrician as it turns out, was the deceased patients own personal obstetrician. Had he bothered to show up, or answer the page and instruct hospital staff to perform an emergency C-section those children would have most likely lived.

Now I have issues with this chain of events. Why was no other doctor called? Hello, a patient has died in your hospital and her unborn children are dying yet the best you can do is to sit there twiddling your thumbs waiting for a no-show doctor? Call another one, is that so bloody difficult? Why was no action taken to save the unborn children? The minute that woman died her body should have been on a gurney headed to surgery regardless of whether or not the on-call doctor bothered to call in or show up. I would think that any competent surgeon, regardless of their field, should be able to perform a C-section on a corpse. It's not like you can re-kill the patient. For that matter most people with any common sense at all could likely perform the procedure on a corpse with actual trained medical staff on hand to deal with the infants. But no, let's all just sit around and watch the twin vital signs disappear. Bye bye babies, sorry we couldn't be bothered.

Lori's husband filed a wrongful death suit against Catholic Health Initiatives who in turn reversed their stance on the church’s Ethical and Religious Directives, the guidelines by which they supposedly operate. The Ethical and Religious Directives of the Catholic Church authored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops are pretty clear that “Catholic health care ministry witnesses to the sanctity of life ‘from the moment of conception until death.’" and "The Church’s defense of life encompasses the unborn and the care of women and their children during and after pregnancy.” There are no disclaimers or disqualifying clauses like "unless we fail at that task and are threatened with being held liable for that failure at which point the directives no longer apply."

However, in this case "only the letter of the law applies" is exactly what CHI is arguing. These of course would be the same laws which fail to protect unborn persons and which the church has been fighting for decades to rewrite at both State and Federal levels so that it reflects their doctrine but never mind that, that was then and this is now. Now they're sticking with "You can't sue us because according to the Wrongful Death Act the term 'person' encompasses only those born alive." Yep, it's murder deserving of eternal damnation in the fiery pits of hell to cause non-implantation of a single cell, but causing two almost fully formed infants to die in the womb through incompetence, negligence and inaction is okiedokie, fine and dandy, not a problem, no punishment due. Providing non-natural forms of contraception is a horrible affront to their principles, but they may abandon those principles at will if it means escaping financial responsibility for the death of infants.

This would have been a perfect opportunity for them to take a stand and put there their money where their mouth is. They blew it, big time. Catholicism needs to make up its mind. Does the sanctity of human life begin at conception, or does it not? Do you defend the lives of the unborn, or do you not? Are fetuses people, or are they not? You can't have it both ways. Which of your holier-than-thou principles will you abandon next? Here's an idea, why not start printing your bibles with pre-perforated pages? Then you can easily rip out the pages you deem no longer applicable as convenience and/or lawsuits dictate which of your great truths are worth following.

Of course the higher-ups are now "investigating" this. An archbishop and two bishops, all from Colorado, just found about this situation and are "vowing to undertake a 'full review' of the 'policies and practices'" of CHI. It's only been 7 years now and the case has gone through both the Fremont County District Court and the Colorado Court of Appeals but they're just finding out.

Personally I don't think this is just a hospital trying to cover its ass, it goes deeper than that. I think the whole thing is a rather devious ploy; an intentional, well-thought and calculated attempt by the Catholic church to force its beliefs on the country through legislation. You may not see a connection, so I'll explain my reasoning. This case is actually a win/win situation for the church, there is no possibility of any real loss regardless of outcome. In fact the best possible outcome, and likely the one they are hoping for, would be to lose the lawsuit. Why?

If CHI successfully defends itself against the lawsuit they get away with murder, case closed, nothing changes. That's a win. However if they lose, a US court will have acknowledged Catholicism's view that an unborn child is indeed a person and therefore worthy of protection by law. This is incredibly important because it would set a legal precedent involving the Catholic church which could have potentially major ramifications affecting US law, women's reproductive rights, women's preventive health services and even something as basic as contraception. Abortion would naturally be their first target but I'm betting they wouldn't stop there. Contraception would be next with most forms of birth control being the primary target including the "morning after" pill. Be fruitful and multiply, whether you like it or not.

This outcome, though technically a loss, would actually be a huge win for Catholicism and I'd bet it's the one they're hoping for. The lawsuit settlement would be far less expensive than decades of lobbying Congress plus they get a legal precedent to use as a weapon in their holy crusade against whatever they deem improper or immoral. It's just a slight variation on a centuries old theme, another example of history repeating itself as Catholicism once again uses murder to force its doctrine on everyone else. Some things never change...

Original article here at the Colorado Independent.
Secondary follow-up info source here at the Huffington Post.

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