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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Catholic Hospital Legal Defense: Fetuses Are Not People

St. Thomas More Hospital provides 24-hour emergency and acute care in Cañon City, Colo. (St. Thomas More Hospital)

St. Thomas More Hospital provides 24-hour emergency and acute care in Cañon City, Colo. (St. Thomas More Hospital)

St. Thomas More Hospital in Canon City, Colo. is being sued for the wrongful deaths of a woman and her unborn twins.

The woman was seven months pregnant in 2006, when she came into the hospital in feeling sick. She had a heart attack and died, as did the twins.

The woman’s husband sued, arguing that if the hospital had performed a c-section, the children would have survived.

The hospital says it cannot be held liable for the deaths of the twins because under state law, fetuses are not people.

“In this case, we have a law that violates church teachings, but they’re complying with the law because it’s to their advantage in the lawsuit. So that’s what’s got people upset,” religion reporter Bob Smietana told Here & Now. “One of the issues here is this is a $1.4 billion company. So they’re a giant healthcare provider, but they’re also a Catholic ministry. And so these two things collided here.”

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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