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Catholic hospital's fetuses-aren't-people claim "hypocrisy," says NY Times's Frank Bruni

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New York Times columnist Frank Bruni has weighed in on the story first reported in Westword two weeks ago about a father's attempt to sue a Catholic hospital for the wrongful death of his wife and unborn twin sons. Bruni sums up the way the Catholic hospital reacted -- by trying to dismiss the lawsuit by claiming that fetuses aren't "people" under the law -- with his headline, "A Convenient Morality." He wrote: "On the charge of self-serving hypocrisy, the church is guilty."

In essence, this point was conceded yesterday. As we reported, Catholic Health Initiatives acknowledged that it was "morally wrong" for its lawyers to argue in court that "under Colorado law, a fetus is not a 'person.'"

After learning of the case, Colorado's Catholic bishops announced they would "undertake a full review" of the lawsuit. "From the moment of conception, human beings are endowed with dignity and with fundamental rights," the bishops said in a statement.

Last week, the three bishops met with four Catholic Health Initiatives executives, including the organization's president and CEO, Kevin Lofton, with both the bishops and CHI issuing statements yesterday.

"CHI representatives acknowledged that it was morally wrong for attorneys representing St. Thomas More Hospital to cite the state's Wrongful Death Act in defense of this lawsuit," Catholic Health Initiatives' statement says. "That law does not consider fetuses to be persons, which directly contradicts the moral teachings of the Church."

For their part, the bishops said they "commend CHI for its rapid acknowledgement of this situation and its commitment to rectifying any harm it may have caused. We join CHI in affirming the fundamental truth that human life, human dignity, and human rights begin at conception. No law can ever mitigate God-given human rights."

To read the full letters from CHI and the bishops, click here. Also read our feature on the subject, "The Meaning of Life."

More from our Follow That Story archive: "Fetuses-aren't-people lawsuit: Bishops to review Catholic hospital's argument."

Follow me on Twitter @MelanieAsmar or e-mail me at melanie.asmar@westword.com

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