Georgia Right to Life and the lawyer who represented Terri Schiavo's family are the primary proponents of a new bill in that state that claims it will "protect citizens" in end of life care, but that would actually limit patient choice at the end of life. The bill seeks to, as the Catholic church did in November, determine artificial nutrition and hydration as "obligatory care."
I haven't seen the language of the bill but judging by the sources, the effort is to prevent medical proxies from removing their loved ones from artificial nutrition and hydration, despite counsel from doctors and living will designation.
Another interesting aspect of this report is the increased encroachment of Right to Life, Catholic, and "pro-life" groups into areas of patients' rights other than reproductive rights. Strategically, it makes sense. These organizations are mobilized, have many resources, and have been allied by their common wish to dictate discriminatory policy to patients.
The same spin that has been used to reduce access to women's health care services is now being applied to seniors' medical rights. I only hope that true patients' rights activists can unite to deter this imposition of doctrinal care on all of society.
ATLANTA, Feb. 18/Christian Newswire/ -- This past week H.B. 1178 "The Patient's Right to Nutrition and Hydration Act" was introduced in the Georgia House by Representative Martin Scott and co-sponsored by Rep. Tim Bearden and Rep. Mark Butler to help provide more protections for Georgian citizens in end of life care.
This legislation seeks to insure that no patient shall be denied food and hydration. It has been brought to the attention of Georgia Right to Life and our legislature that there have been cases where patients have been denied basic food and hydration in order to speed up the dying process.
Mike Griffin, Legislative Director of GRTL noted, "We live in a time where it is illegal to deny a dog or cat food or water, but it is legal to deny a person food and water. We must value every person's life, especially in the final moments of life."
Attorney David Gibbs, counsel for the Schindler family in the Terri Schiavo case, has provided legal counsel on this bill. Mr. Gibbs noted, "Food and water should not be considered 'life support,' in my opinion. If this bill is passed into law, Georgia would recognize that important distinction to protect its citizens."
This bill seeks, among other things, to establish the fact that the feeding tube should be considered ordinary care, not medical care. The bill does allow for exceptions under an advanced directive. Currently in Georgia physicians and administrators can override a patient's wishes in an advanced directive.
"Ultimately, this bill seeks to strengthen patient's rights in Georgia. Under existing law, a doctor can override a patient's desires to have the basic essentials of food and water. No medical establishment should take away the right from a patient or their family the right to make the very private and tough decisions about end of life care," stated Dan Becker, President of Georgia Right to Life.
Georgia Right to Life promotes respect and effective legal protection for all human life from its earliest biological beginning through natural death. GRTL is one of the number of organizations that have adopted Personhood as the most effective pro-life strategy for the 21st century.
Labels: advance directive, ANH, end of life care, end of life rights, medical proxy, patients' rights, terri schiavo