Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Texas Futile Care Law: Spouse's Rights Ahead of Parents'

I find it interesting that the 1999 Texas Law that then Governor Bush signed, designates the spouse as the first line of responsibility about advanced directives:
§ 166.039. PROCEDURE WHEN PERSON HAS NOT EXECUTED OR
ISSUED A DIRECTIVE AND IS INCOMPETENT OR INCAPABLE OF
COMMUNICATION. (a) If an adult qualified patient has not
executed or issued a directive and is incompetent or otherwise
mentally or physically incapable of communication, the attending
physician and the patient's legal guardian or an agent under a
medical power of attorney may make a treatment decision that may
include a decision to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining
treatment from the patient.
(b) If the patient does not have a legal guardian or an agent
under a medical power of attorney, the attending physician and one
person, if available, from one of the following categories, in the
following priority, may make a treatment decision that may include
a decision to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment:
(1) the patient's spouse;
(2) the patient's reasonably available adult children;
(3) the patient's parents; or
(4) the patient's nearest living relative.
And yet, the Schiavo Law gives a parent the over-riding right to sue in Federal Court, for the child, over the rights of the spouse:
SEC. 2. PROCEDURE.

Any parent of Theresa Marie Schiavo shall have standing to bring a suit under this Act. The suit may be brought against any other person who was a party to State court proceedings relating to the withholding or withdrawal of food, fluids, or medical treatment necessary to sustain the life of Theresa Marie Schiavo, or who may act pursuant to a State court order authorizing or directing the withholding or withdrawal of food, fluids, or medical treatment necessary to sustain her life. In such a suit, the District Court shall determine de novo any claim of a violation of any right of Theresa Marie Schiavo within the scope of this Act, notwithstanding any prior State court determination and regardless of whether such a claim has previously been raised, considered, or decided in State court proceedings. The District Court shall entertain and determine the suit without any delay or abstention in favor of State court proceedings, and regardless of whether remedies available in the State courts have been exhausted
.
So much for the "Sanctity of Marriage" under this President. So much for "States Rights", with the Federal Government once again interfering with State Courts and interfering with the right of spouses regarding the medical care of their loved ones.

Some ethicists have expressed views that President Bush has been inconsistent, since the legislation that he signed in Texas allows the withdrawal of life support, and now he claims to be in favor of prohibition of such activity.

However, closer examination shows President Bush to be completely consistent. In both statutes, the attempt is to deny spouses the right to make decisions about their ill loved one. In Texas, the law gives hospitals and physicians the right to decide to withdraw life support against the wishes of the spouse or parent. And in the Schiavo case, again, this gives government the right to undermine the right of the spouse to allow his wife to die contrary to the wishes of the closest relative.

Shameful. And Americans are beginning to see through the exploitative Republican actions. As reported:
The public, by 63 percent-28 percent, supports the removal of Schiavo's feeding tube, and by a 25-point margin opposes a law mandating federal review of her case. Congress passed such legislation and President Bush signed it early today.

That legislative action is distinctly unpopular: Not only do 60 percent oppose it, more — 70 percent — call it inappropriate for Congress to get involved in this way. And by a lopsided 67 percent-19 percent, most think the elected officials trying to keep Schiavo alive are doing so more for political advantage than out of concern for her or for the principles involved.
Thank you America! America needs a return to true family values and not this crass exploitation of a circus going on in Washington about Schiavo. Death is not a happy moment for anyone. Right wingers complain about judicial activism. But when the judges don't rule in an activist fashion, but instead allow a patient to choose to die in accordance with the wishes of her closest relative, her spouse, they decide to overturn the law with legislative fiat. America deserves better.

Bob

1 Comments:

Blogger Marie said...

That is an excellent piece! Very well written and straight to the heart of the politics involved in this situation.

Thanks for all the info too......

1:53 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home