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View Diary: A fetus is not a person if it costs us money, says Catholic Church (238 comments)

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  •  Except none of that matters. (68+ / 0-)

    Because the Church leadership has been claiming it's all connected, at least when it comes to the birth control mandate. So some Catholic-affiliated organization, or even just a company run by a Catholic, should have the exact same protections as the Church itself because it's basically the same thing. (See the Taco Bell link I used in the post.)

    Ergo, if the Church is going to argue that anything that calls itself Catholic is essentially the Catholic Church ... well, you know. :)

    •  I respectfully disagree (7+ / 0-)

      I think it's a stretch to say that the Catholic Church is saying that the attorneys hired by a vendor to the church represents the Church's position. The insurance company is contractually obligated under the insurance policy to defend the claim, and the Church is contractually obligated to allow said insurance company to mount such defenses to claims as the insurance company deems legal and proper.

      In your Taco Bell link - it's the same thing. If I as a Catholic businessman own a Taco Bell, and a pregnant woman slipped and fell in the restaurant and her unborn child died, my general liability insurance would kick in, mount a defense to the claim, and would make the same point that no wrongful death occurred. I would be powerless to stop the insurance company's lawyers from doing so, even if I disagreed with it.

      Now, don't get me wrong. Be it the hospital or my Taco Bell, I've no right to claim that I can exempt myself from laws and regulations (i.e. the HHS mandate) covering entities that provide commercial services/goods to the public.For 8 years under Bush, the EEOC ruling that excluding female contraception is discriminatory stood, with no action by the Bush administration. The HHS mandate is properly based on this and other legal precedents, none of which were attacked by the Catholic Church.

      And, don't get me wrong - "personhood amendments" or similar laws that make the life of the fetus equivalent to the mother's and/or other children are a nightmare - a nightmare very well exemplified by the death of the mother in Ireland (Sihva? I think) who suffered an incomplete miscarriage and died due to lack of treatment for 5 days because the fetus still had a heartbeat.

      But I can't conclude that the Church is being inconsistent here, it has no choice in the matter.

      Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

      by absdoggy on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 12:15:51 PM PST

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      •  The Church certainly has a choice (34+ / 0-)

        Consistent with its doctrine, it is perfectly capable of either:

        1.  paying the malpractice claim without requesting reimbursement from its insurance carrier; or

        2.  defending the malpractice claim without involving its insurance carrier .

        Instead, it has taken the approach of attempting to minimize its liability by taking a litigation position that is diametrically opposed to what it says is a core doctrine.

        "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

        by Old Left Good Left on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 12:41:22 PM PST

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        •  This is not the case (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          marykk, Ninepatch

          Once the malpractice claim is filed, it's filed. Failure to report the malpractice claim to your insurer would violate the policy and terminate your rights under the policy. In most states, it would also likely be a criminal or civil violation and subject the hospital to additional fines, loss of license to operate, etc.

          Moreover, I'm sure the malpractice claim named the doctor individually as well, so his malpractice insurer would be involved as well.

          As to defending the claim without involving your insurance carrier - again, this is not legal.  You can't have a contract with an insurance company which specifies how claims are handled, and then ignore that contract when a claim arises.

          The courts would likely disallow this as well - your insurance coverage represents a means of paying the potential award under the claim, the court is not going to just let you say, no, I'm not going to involve them.

          Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

          by absdoggy on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 12:54:01 PM PST

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          •  I doubt it (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rbird

            It is legal for a tortfeasor to pay for its torts or to assume the defense of its own torts.  Of course if it does so, it will waive the right to make an insurance claim.

            As to your last point, I suppose that is a possibility where an insolvent defendant refuses to seek coverage.  But that is not the case here.

            "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

            by Old Left Good Left on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 01:12:58 PM PST

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          •  If moral consistency were important to the Church (7+ / 0-)

            I'm sure it could indemnify the insurance company against any claims resulting from a suit wherein the Church has prevented the insurance company from employing defenses that would violate the Church's teachings.

            Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

            by Nowhere Man on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 01:54:57 PM PST

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            •  Funny how the Catholic church (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              coquiero

              finds itself unable to follow laws that go against its own doctrine and cost it money (Obamacare) but must follow the law when it goes against its doctrine and saves it money.

              They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it's not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance. Terry Pratchett

              by Toon on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 06:13:54 AM PST

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          •  Catholic Health (0+ / 0-)

            appears to be self-insured.

            "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

            by Old Left Good Left on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 03:21:16 PM PST

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      •  But that's *exactly* what the church is claiming (8+ / 0-)

        In cases where independent businesses try to get themselves exempted from providing health insurance coverage for birth control and any other women's health care. The claim is that it violates the owner's religious beliefs to force the owner to pay for insurance that will cover those instances.

        Why are they not, then, disallowing Catholic hospitals from paying for malpractice insurance coverage for fetuses are killed by doctors?

      •  You are absolutely right (0+ / 0-)

        When you buy liability insurance, you give up control of any defense to a claim against you arising out of an insured event.  This is a (facepalm) moment but not proof of an inconsistent position on the part of the insured, whether it's the church or not.

        If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

        by marykk on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 05:56:39 PM PST

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        •  Wrong (6+ / 0-)

          The church has the choice to dump the insurer because its actions so deeply conflict with the church's morality.

          It is not doing dumping the insurer. It is embracing it, paying for this legal defense with ongoing premiums, as surely as it pays for contraception with its premiums.

          There is a choice here ("ironically"). The church whines about being forced to indirectly pay for contraception, but it continues to keep its insurer that it pays to treat fetuses as non-persons.

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 06:31:23 PM PST

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          •  They can dump the insurer prospectively (0+ / 0-)

            but they can't get new coverage for this occurrence, which could be an easy seven figure verdict.   Absdoggy speaks as one who has done insurance defense work.  He/she is telling it like it is.

            If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

            by marykk on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 06:34:24 PM PST

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            •  But They Aren't (0+ / 0-)

              The point is that they could dump the insurer, but they aren't.

              The church has made its choice: it's sticking with the insurer that insists fetuses aren't people, that it's OK for doctors to kill them because they're not people.

              Because they care more about money than about babies, than about women, than about souls. They worship money, not the god they made up.

              "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

              by DocGonzo on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 04:48:12 AM PST

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      •  With all due respect ... (0+ / 0-)

        ... this is bull (And not papal!)

        The insurance company is contractually obligated under the insurance policy to defend the claim, and the Church is contractually obligated to allow said insurance company to mount such defenses to claims as the insurance company deems legal and proper.
        The Church is the defendant here, not the insurance company, even if the insurance company is paying the lawyers. They have the ultimate responsibility here for what goes out under their name. If someone at the hospital's counsel's office isn't reviewing the pleadings that get sent to them before they're filed, they're even worse at doing their job than it would appear if they did see this and let it through.

        If they don't want this defense used, someone had the opportunity to say so and didn't, believe me. (And I can't imagine this would be the only defense available to them, either). True, the insurance company might decide not to cover the settlement if the Church refuses to avail itself of that defense (a risk I think they had to reasonably have been able to foresee when they agreed to insure the Church's hospital). But c'mon ... this is not just any Church we're talking about, it's the one who can call up the the insurer and say, well, if you're going to be such a stickler for the wording of the policy and not cover this, maybe, just maybe, we'll see about getting all our insurance coverage somewhere else.

        Basically, the Church once again had an opportunity to put its principles first and blew it.

    •  If they want two sets of rules, I'm OK with that. (8+ / 0-)

      It's almost like they're asking for two sets of rules, one to guide their own beliefs and motivations, and one to govern the interactions among us mortal beings. A separation, if you will, between tenets of the church and laws of the state. If that's what they're asking for, I really can't muster a strong disagreement.

      Why is there a Confederate Flag flying in Afghanistan?

      by chimpy on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 12:17:56 PM PST

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    •  Yup... (23+ / 0-)

      It's still hypocrisy.  You can't hide behind the law if it benefits you and then question the law if it doesn't.

      'Goodwill' between the GOP and the President is as abundant as unicorn farts - Me'

      by RichM on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 12:21:11 PM PST

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      •  Hypocrisy is the norm (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tardis10, radical simplicity

        Romney's tax plan (to the extent that he ever specified what it might be) seemed to consist primarily of eliminating deductions.  Is HE himself, or any other Republican, going to refrain from claiming deductions?  Of course not, as long as the law will remotely allow them.

        "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

        by lgmcp on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 01:20:36 PM PST

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      •  It's really not (0+ / 0-)

        Taking the position that a fetus has the same moral status as a human being doesn't require one to take the position that a fetus should have identical legal rights to a human being.

        Likewise, claiming that someone isn't a "person" as that term is used in the Colorado Wrongful Dealth Statute, isn't the same thing as claiming that that they are not a person.

    •  Their mission (18+ / 0-)
      The lead defendant in the case is Catholic Health Initiatives, the Englewood-based nonprofit that runs St. Thomas More Hospital as well as roughly 170 other health facilities in 17 states.... The organization’s mission, according to its promotional literature, is to “nurture the healing ministry of the Church” and to be guided by “fidelity to the Gospel.”

      Toward those ends, Catholic Health facilities seek to follow the Ethical and Religious Directives of the Catholic Church authored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

      Their policies are guided and imbued by the Church until it comes into conflict with a higher calling: winning a lawsuit.

      The choice of our lifetime: Mitt Romney, It Takes A Pillage or President Barack Obama, Forward Together.

      by FiredUpInCA on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 12:40:10 PM PST

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    •  The church has no say in the matter (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      absdoggy

      in this case.  The insurance company does.

    •  No. Let's remember what wrongful death statutes (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lgmcp, ggrzw

      are.   At common law, no claims for personal injuries survived the death of the injured person.  States uniformly created Wrongful Death Statutes that allowed survivors to continue the claim for injuries to the dead person.

      If CO had never passed such an act, the claims of the deceased would expire, not because they aren't people, but because the claims just do.

      If CO passes such an act but excludes unborm people, the claims of the unborn deceased would expire, not because they aren't people, but becuse the claims just do.

      That's not even "gun control". It's more like "massacre control".

      by Inland on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 01:20:45 PM PST

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