NRL News

What’s Airing on Pro-Life Perspective Today? “Withholding Food and Fluids, Part 2″

by | Apr 4, 2012

By Dave Andrusko

NRLC President Carol Tobias

National Right to Life President and Pro-Life Perspective Host Carol Tobias picks up today where she left off Monday. She reminds us that the fight for Terri Schindler Schiavo, who died an ugly and unnecessary death in 2005, “captured the attention of the America public and rightly so. Unfortunately, polling showed that many Americans still need to be educated about the right to life and that withdrawing food and fluids in not an act of compassion.”

Once again Mrs. Tobias tells us about a piece written in 1997 for Wisconsin Right to Life by NRLC Executive Director David N. O’Steen, Ph.D. Dr. O’Steen wrote about the history to date of withdrawing food and water in “Life Cycle.” What he wrote, Mr. Tobias says,

“eerily echoes what we have heard in news stories about patients like Terri Schiavo and the Canadian baby little Baby Joseph and about the claim that withdrawing food and fluids was the compassionate thing to do.”

The skids for the slippery slope were already greased and the “logic” unfolded. For example, we knew even then that if the patient was going to “die anyway,” surely the quicker and more humane ways to administer ‘aid in dying,’ such as by lethal injection.

And if the competent patient could be starved to death (based on whatever rationale), surely it would be discriminatory to deny this “right” to an incompetent patient.

The challenge Dr. O’Steen issued 15 years ago is just as important—more important—today. He wrote

“It is our challenge over the next decade to recognize the value and worth of each individual, regardless of what some see as a ‘low quality of life.’ We must reject the notion that previously  vibrant individuals with diminished mental capacities are any less valuable than before.  We must discard terminology which labels these vulnerable people as ‘vegetables.’  We must be vigilant that human resources are available and remain available to care for these individuals.  Love, care, patience and sacrifice will be needed to ensure that vulnerable, incompetent patients who cannot speak for themselves are able to live with dignity until they die a natural death.  At the same time, legal protection from euthanasia and guarantees of basic care, including provision of food and fluids, must be provided to patients.”

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Categories: Euthanasia