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Catholic hospital says fetus not legally a person

Colorado bishops will review a case in which a Catholic hospital argued in its defense that fetuses are not persons. 

On New Year's Day in 2006, Lori Stodgill died of a blockage of the main artery of the lung at St. Thomas More Hospital in Colorado. Stodgill was seven months pregnant, and her twin boys died in the womb.

Stodgill's husband, Jeremy Stodgill, then filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

According to court documents, the lead defendant, Catholic Health Initiatives, cites the Colorado Wrongful Death Act, which refers to the death of a person but says the death of a fetus that wasn't born or delivered doesn't qualify, The Denver Post reported.

The defense appeared to contradict the church's centuries-old stance that life beings at conception.

The court ruled in favor of Catholic Health Initiatives and other defendants in 2010, The Post reported. Stodgill has appealed the ruling to the Colorado Supreme Court.

Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila, Colorado Springs Bishop Michael Sheridan and Pueblo Bishop Fernando Isern wrote in a statement that representatives of Catholic Health Initiatives assured them “of their intention to observe the moral and ethical obligations of the Catholic Church,” The Post reported.

The bishops said they will undertake a full review of the case.

"From the moment of conception human beings are endowed with dignity and with fundamental rights, the most fundamental of which is life," the bishops told The Post. "No Catholic institution may legitimately work to undermine fundamental human dignity."

Click for more from The Denver Post.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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