By Dr Jacqueline C. Harvey
While the battle rages over assisted suicide, many forget that in 1990, the United States Supreme Court allowed involuntary euthanasia by dehydration and starvation. First, by declaring artificially-administered food and water (ANH) as a form of “life support” and then, granting third parties the ability to remove ANH (feeding tubes) from persons with disabilities, it became effectively legal to deny a human being food and water against their will in the United States. While the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) International’s efforts in the U.S. to reform this issue at the state-level are proceeding with encouraging momentum (Texas House Bill 3074, passed unanimously out of committee up for a floor vote in coming days),Senator Kemp Hannon in New York has launched an effort to make it easier to remove a feeding tube against the patient’s will and cause a death by dehydration. It appears that the euthanasia lobby, who want to kill by dehydration and starvation, are marching forward.
In spite of the Nancy Cruzan case, which granted authority to third-parties to remove food and water, ANH is pervasively considered such ordinary care that states have explicitly written into their law strict safeguards against unilateral removal.