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Canon City Catholic Hospital argues fetus is not a person

Canon City Catholic Hospital: Fetus not a person

CANON CITY, Colo. - A Catholic hospital in Canon City is arguing an unborn baby is not a person, after a man filed a wrongful death lawsuit claiming nothing was done to save his unborn sons.

Jeremy Stodghill's wife, Lori, was seven months pregnant with twins in 2006 when she got violently ill. Stodghill took her to St. Thomas Moore Hospital where she went into cardiac arrest and died from a pulmonary embolism. Stodghill says the hospital made no attempt to save the unborn twins.

"I didn't even get to hold them," Stodghill told CNN.  "I have an autopsy picture. That's all I've got."

Stodghill filed a wrongful death lawsuit against St. Thomas Moore and it's owner Catholic Health Initiatives. The court ruled against him, but the most shocking part was the hospital's defense. It argued that under Colorado law, "… to be a 'person' one must at some point have been born alive."

"Since they weren't born, they weren't people. They did not qualify as a person," said Stodghill.

That's a direct contradiction to Catholic Church teachings that say life begins at conception.

In a statement, Catholic Health Initiatives said: "In this case… as Catholic organizations, (we) are in union with the moral teachings of the church."

The Catholic Bishops of Colorado also released a statement saying, "We will undertake a full review of this litigation, and of the policies and practices of Catholic Health Initiatives to ensure fidelity and faithful witness to the teachings of the Catholic Church."

Stodghill said he has filed an appeal with the Colorado Supreme Court. The defense attorneys for the hospital went after him for $118,000 in legal fees, and won. He filed for bankruptcy and says he's struggling to care for his daughter.

He has a tattoo of the footprints of his unborn twins over his heart.

"Tears, the pain, the heartache. Still. Seven years later," he said.

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