Killing for Organs

This article was published on Wesley Smith's blog on July 28, 2015.

By Wesley Smith

Wesley smith

Wesley smith

We are a society of public policy promise breakers. Advocates for radical transformations in law and culture promise their proposed changes will be constrained and regulated by strict guidelines. 

Then, when the policy becomes law, it is often Katy bar the door and the old promises are forgotten. 

That pattern has not played out with organ transplant medicine. Yet. 

Not for lack of trying. Many in bioethics and the transplant field want to break the important promise solemnly made that vital organs would only be taken from patients who are dead. This is known as the “dead donor rule.” 

But with the backlog of organs growing due to fewer catastrophic brain injuries and improvements in transplant medicine, the utilitarians want to make the dead donor rule dead (as I have written about often over recent years). 

The latest promise breaker pusher is Walter Glannon, a Canadian bioethicist, writing in the philosophical journal Aeon. First, Gannon says honoring patient choice to be killed and harvested is more important than that the patient actually be dead first. 

Glannon has a whole list of people who could be killed for their organs. First sophistry, taking kidneys before death, and pretending it doesn’t actually cause death. From the piece

In a protocol developed by the transplant surgeon Paul Morrissey at Brown University in Rhode Island, for instance, kidneys can be taken from patients while they are alive because doing this does not cause brain death or heart death. Death is declared after the kidneys, and then life-support, are removed. This scheme applies only to kidneys, though, and is thus limited. 

I was unaware this is happening. If so, “scheme” is the right word since it is crass sophistry that pretends that the taking of the kidneys would not cause death. Ironically, kidneys don’t deteriorate as fast as other organs. So, this seems to me a gambit to destroy the DDR. It should be stopped. 

Glannon next wants to kill and harvest those who are diagnosed as persistently unconscious like Aerial Sharon–and Terri Schiavo–mentioning that a few wake up, but omitting that about 40% of such diagnoses are later proven wrong.

Link to the full article

Texas bill is model legislation to prevent Death by Dehydration

By Dr Jacqueline Harvey

Dr Jacqueline Harvey and Rep. Drew Springer

Dr Jacqueline Harvey and Rep. Drew Springer

On Friday, June 12, 2015, Texas Governor Greg Abbott overturned 16 years of legal forced dehydration and starvation in Texas by signing House Bill 3074. The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) was present for the historic moment and presented a commendation to Representative Drew Springer on his skillful passage of this landmark legislation, and EPC briefly explained the significance of this bi-partisan, unanimously-supported, model disability rights bill. HB 3074 is a critical first step in EPC’s national and worldwide efforts to restore the rights of persons with disabilities to receive nutrition and hydration (ANH). Therefore this vital win in Texas is anticipated to save lives not just within the Lone Star State but throughout the United States and even globally as EPC prepares to explore this issue with standing at the United Nations.

Under Representative Springer’s leadership, HB 3074 moved Texas from the one state to allow healthcare providers to remove food and water in any circumstance to joining five other states that explicitly protect patients in need of ANH. The Texas law was an anomaly in that it allowed the medical community authority to remove ANH in any circumstance. In contrast, five states have passed laws to ensure that food and water is not forcibly withheld by a healthcare provider to kill a patient. Now that HB 3074 is signed into law, Texas no longer ranks as the worst state for patients in need of ANH but ranks among the best. 

EPC believes that HB 3074 is model legislation. Representative Springer brokered an unprecedented compromise that cleared a 12-year stalemate on this issue. HB 3074 began in committee with opposition, but Springer was able to find language agreeable to all parties and foster unity to enable the bill to be passed in all committees and chambers of both House and Senate with no opposition. 

The universal agreement on the wording in HB 3074 across various stakeholder groups and unanimous passage from the Texas House of Representatives as well and the Texas Senate indicates broad, bi-partisan support that EPC expects to cultivate nationwide. Furthermore, EPC hopes to employ the language from HB 3074 to reform Connecticut law, the only other state that grants healthcare providers authority to starve and dehydrate patients in some circumstances (terminal illness and permanent unconsciousness). Moreover, the broad bi-partisan support and unanimous passage of HB 3074 through both chambers of the Texas Legislature indicates that this model legislation has significant promise of passage in a variety of political environments, red states and blue states alike. 

Link to the full article

New York Bill S4794 Promotes Involuntary Euthanasia by Dehydration

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.

Link to the full article

The Cruelty of Terri Schiavo’s Death

This article was published by Wesley Smith on his blog on March 31, 2015.

By Wesley Smith

Wesley Smith

Wesley Smith

During the Terri Schiavo debacle, I would often debate bioethicists and others who claimed that Terri’s death would be gentle. 

These advocates either intentionally or ignorantly conflated two different circumstances.

1. The first, taking food and water from someone whose body readily assimilated sustenance. That is an agonizing death.

2. The second, people dying naturally whose bodies are shutting down. In such circumstances, people stop eating and drinking on their own as part of the process of passing on. That does not cause suffering, and indeed, it is medically inappropriate–and can be cruel–to force sustenance into their bodies.

Link to the full article

Boo Hoo, Poor Michael Schiavo

Wesley Smith

Ever since Jeb Bush made noises about running for president, Michael Schiavo–who won a court ruling having his wife dehydrated to death–has been bashing Bush for trying to save Terri’s life.

Now, in Politico, a totally one-sided report has Schiavo feeling sorry for himself. From, “Jeb Bush Put me Through Hell:”

For years, the self-described “average Joe” felt harassed, targeted and tormented by the most important person in the state.“It was a living hell,” he said, “and I blame him.”

Some, might say his wife was put through hell, being forced to die slowly of loss of body fluids over two weeks.

Link to full article.