I’ll bet no one’s values are mutually consistent. Sooner or later, we run up against a contradiction that makes us feel nuts, like wanting to enjoy gravity-fed water while living on a hilltop, or traveling five-star first-class and expecting to meet the colorful locals. I don’t mind these disparities, actually. In fact, I rather enjoy them as abiding proof of our fallibility.
That’s what Catholic Health Initiatives, a nonprofit that runs some 170 health facilities in 17 states, recently bumped up against. According to the Colorado Independent, a thirty-one-year-old, seven-months pregnant woman arrived in extremis at one of CHI’s hospitals in 2006. To make a tragic story short, she and her twin fetuses died. Her husband filed a wrongful death lawsuit against CHI, claiming a timely caesarean delivery would have at least saved the babies.
The lead defendant, Catholic Health Initiatives, is committed to the Church’s position that the unborn are full-fledged people, with all rights pertaining. Colorado state law, though, defines “person” as someone born alive.
So here’s where things get sticky. Attorney Jason Langley, representing CHI, argued that the wrongful death claims are invalid since the fetuses, having not been born, weren’t legally people. That is, Catholic Health Initiatives refutes the dogma that fetuses are people from conception onward when that would mean losing a lawsuit.
The Fremont County District Court ruled in CHI’s favor. The plaintiffs appealed, and now the case is heading to the Colorado Supreme Court. I find myself wanting to point a finger here, but I’d probably do better to search out and revise my own hypocrisies.