March 26, 2005
The rank hypocracy and pandering I've been seeing on the news the past couple of weeks with the Schiavo case has finally gotten on my last nerve. I'm not even going to comment on the poor woman or her family because like many of the other things that get on the news but probably shouldn't, it's none of my business and I don't have any interest in trying to sway anyone with my opinion. However, I can't keep from speaking out on the obvious disconnects between what some people are doing now and what they've done in the past that just boggle the mind.
First up: Tom Delay. There are plenty of things we could say about ole Tom, but let's just stick with this one: in 1988, his father was badly injured while working on a construction project in his backyard and left in a brain damaged condition. He was kept alive with a ventilator and a feeding tube. After a few months, the family decided he would not have wanted to be kept alive that way, so they had the life support removed, and the 65-year-old died. You can read more about it at the LA Times. Delay's father did not have a living will, so nowhere was it explicitly stated what his wishes were, but the family had no trouble deciding that this was the correct decision. Delay was a congressman at the time, and there was no rushing back to DC to pass a law to stop this outrage, no court orders, no hundreds of people gathered outside in a vigil for the old man - just a quiet, private family gathering.
Next: George W. Bush. In 1999, then Governor Bush signed the Texas Futile Care Law, which allows health care providers to remove life support, including feeding tubes, from patients, even over family or guardian objections, if the doctors conclude that the patient has no hope of recovery. The bill states that an inability to pay for the health care can be taken into consideration. Just this past month, a 6-month-old boy, Sun Hudson, who had terminal dwarfism, had his feeding tube disconnected over his mother's wishes because she had no way to pay for continued care and because the doctors said his case was hopeless. This incident was briefly mentioned on the news, but again, there were no acts of Congress, appeals to the Supreme Court, or candlelight vigils. There's more information here.
Last but not least: Bill Frist. He's been right up there with Delay and others talking about what an outrage this is, the culture of life, and even saying that it's possible there are new therapies to help Terri Schiavo. Well, back in October, he accused VP candidate John Edwards of being dishonest by saying there were potential therapies in stem cell research for people like the recently deceased Christopher Reeve, and that it was out of line for him to suggest false hope for people with disabilities. The difference, as far as I can tell, is that there really aren't any therapies, now or ever, going to be available for people with anencephaly, which is what Schiavo has, whereas the possibilities with stem cells for those who are severely paralyzed just isn't yet known. It might be misleading to say that stem cells will help those like Christopher Reeve, but it's even more misleading to say Terri Schiavo can be helped today if only they'd put that tube back in.
There you have it -- three examples of obvious hypocracy and/or "flip-flopping" to such an extent that it makes me want to vomit. I could go on (something about calling a Southern Baptist Republican judge a "liberal activist" with a deathwish for the disabled comes to mind) but those will just have to wait for another day.
Published: March 26, 2005