While the Terri Schiavo case continues to ignite the passions of the extremist right, these same allegedly "pro-life" activists have wholly ignored a true case of government deciding to pull the plug on ill citizens. This particular case involves a Texas law called the Advanced Directives Act, signed by then-Governor George W. Bush in 1999, that allows hospitals to disconnect patients from life-sustaining systems if a physician, in consultation with a hospital bioethics committee, concludes that the patient's condition is hopeless. In other words, if the doctor or hospital decides it's not worth the expense to keep a patient alive, they can pull the plug -- no matter what the wishes of the patient's guardian, or of the patient himself.
And if you think this law represents a mere hypothetical, think again. This week, while the right-wing Congressional curs and national media have been obsessing over Ms. Schiavo in Florida, they've paid virtually no attention to a somewhat-parallel case in Houston, where a local hospital cut off life support for a badly deformed six month-old baby -- against the wishes of the baby's parents. The baby died almost immediately.
So what's the difference between the Florida woman and the Texas baby? Why does the first case elicit such passions and the second case get almost completely ignored? Is it because Ms. Schiavo is a middle-class white woman and the Texas baby is a poor Hispanic? Is it because the latter case took place in Texas under a law signed by the far-right's favorite more-or-less elected official, George W. Bush? Or is there something else?
Seems to me the pro-lifers should be as concerned with the Texas case as they are the Florida case -- if not more so. Frankly, the Texas law worries me. I don't want some hospital administrator deciding to pull my plug because it's not financially worthwhile to keep me going. The Schiavo case hinges on an individual's right to die, based on her expressed wishes beforehand; the Texas case appears to be a clear-cut instance of state-sponsored killing, against the wishes of the baby's parents.
Why is the media not reporting the Texas case? Why is Bush's hypocrisy in signing the Texas law and then signing the Schiavo legislation not being reported? Why does the public put up with such overt hypocrisy from our elected officials? There's more going on here than meets the eye...
But that's just my opinion; reasonable minds may disagree.