In an interesting and undeniably weird story, a man named Jeremy Stodghill has presented a lawsuit to St. Thomas More Hospital and its owners, Catholic Health Initiatives, for the wrongful death of his wife and the two children she was 28 weeks pregnant with. It is well known that the stance of the Church is that life begins at conception, and after conception all life is precious and divine. Some lawmakers who are heavily influenced by the religious right have claimed to support death for doctors who perform abortions, and more recently many made a big issue out of the requirement of religiously affiliated institutions to provide contraception coverage under Obamacare.
The problem with this firmly held belief is that, if it were true, it would give Mr. Stodghill a much stronger case against the hospital and their owners. So what the hospital’s legal council has done to prevent Mr. Stodghill from being awarded any compensation is to claim that since a fetus is not a person, his lawsuit claiming wrongful death has little merit. His claim that the hospital is responsible for the wrongful death of his wife has been dismissed for other legal reasons, but as Mr. Stodghill prepares to appeal his case to the state supreme court, it seems as though the question is whether wrongful death can be applied to unborn children.
Some of those who oppose the Catholic church and its unwavering stance against abortion and contraception will try to claim that this is a blatant display of hypocrisy, while those who support the teachings of the church will probably counter that by claiming if a charge of wrongful death could be applied to fetuses, there would be many doctors, hospitals, and abortion clinics buried under a mountain of lawsuits. What is clear, however, is it is certainly quite bizarre to see the same religiously-affiliated institutions that made a big deal about providing contraceptive coverage to be preparing to go to the state supreme court to argue that a fetus is not a person.