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What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

Murder in the Air - again: the unhappy case of Lauren Richardson

She used to look like this:

Lauren%20Richardson.jpg

Not so much anymore.

And again we have a split between the victim's loved ones, this time between divorced parents: a father who wants to care for her and a mother who swears Lauren told her she'd "never want to live like that." The Court of Chancery believes the latter, and has awarded guardianship to her, as the state of Delaware's legal system stirs itself into sluggish but relentless motion, and the machinery of death once again takes on a certain 'life' of its own.

You can begin reading the story here, at Terrisfight.

You can also see the father's interview on Hannity and Colmes.

A YouTube video of Lauren with family (including the dog).

And a website devoted to her cause.

Comments (73)

And suppose she did say "it would be gross" to be so dependent on other people, etc. If a young person thinks it would be "gross" to be elderly, do we also bump her off when she becomes elderly? But not to worry, says the ACLU guy, the system is working as it was intended to. Then there is something very wrong with the system.

Estate attorneys routinely include "living wills" in their boilerplate packages for clients these days, and the usual discussion is a ten second touch on the question "would you want to be kept alive on machines". Much like the fine print in any document, I doubt that it in general represents faithfully the intentions of the ordinary Joe who signs it - an ordinary Joe who probably doesn't know what his intentions will or would be, even if he has thought about it much, which isn't likely.

"Choice devours itself" indeed.

None of my comment should be construed to imply that people have a moral "right" to suicide, of course. The point is just a reiteration of the one that Lydia has made so well on a number of occasions: that the regime of choice has gotten to the point where, in one of the bizarrely obvious ironies of modernity/postmodernity, it has become so important as a principle that any concern for verifying the actual intentions of the persons involved are sacrificed to it.

Would it make a difference if brain scans showed that Lauren were suffering from horrible pain? Is it right to keep a person alive if one could prove she was in pain?

Are there cases in which someone is unconscious and, at the same, suffers from endless pain?

Let's pray for the family.

Edgar.

Is it right to keep a person alive if one could prove she was in pain?

"Keep a person alive" is a tendentious way of putting it. To answer it less tendentiously, yes, it is wrong to starve a person to death even if that person is in pain.

Yes--"on machines" is exceedingly unclear, especially since a feeding tube is not a machine in the sense that most people would understand that. (I note, FWIW, that this young lady has been weaned off a ventilator.) But there is little knowledge in the general public about feeding tubes, nor about the painfulness of death by dehydration. People say things casually, callously, and without real knowledge or understanding, and these are then treated as gospel. The strictly positivist legal question, I suppose, in this case is whether Delaware allows or perhaps even requires that second-hand conversational reports must be permitted to count as "clear and convincing" evidence of the person's desires. Most states do require that, and the mother in this case would seem not to have a strong motive for outright lying.

So this may be one of those "test cases" where I do have to say--even if it is legal, the legal regime is terribly messed up, and it is wrong. Everybody and his uncle should engage in civil disobedience to keep feeding the girl. (If that isn't shocking enough, I can say more shocking things. :-))

It's just possible that there might be a legal loophole in that the father could be simply be left with custody. In other words, whatever else the law says may not cover custody decisions per se.

Cruzan was such a disaster. Scalia formally concurred in it, because some of the judges wanted to say that it was (get this) unconstitutional for a state to require clear and convincing evidence of a person's desires before death by dehydration! They got a majority to say that the state _could_ constitutional have such a requirement, and Scalia concurred in that. But he wrote a separate opinion in which he _expressly_ said that he did not agree that it was a constitutional right to have food and hydration withdrawn when one had expressed the desire for that. He analogized continued care in those cases to prevention of suicide. What I have never fully understood is why his opinion was labeled only "concurring" instead of "concurring in part and dissenting in part."

"Is it right to keep a person alive if one could prove she was in pain?"

There are pain treatments available, assuming of course medical science could prove definitively if she were in pain or not.


"Are there cases in which someone is unconscious and, at the same, suffers from endless pain?"

I'm not a doctor, but I think so. I've heard of people 'waking up' during surgery, where they cannot move their bodies, but do feel pain. No motor control but complete sensory is fully functional, it's a truly frightening concept.

All the pathologies of our age are present in this tragedy;
*our worship of the individual's right to pursue happiness - Lauren has lost the ability to enjoy things, so now she'll lose her life.
*the cult of efficiency - Lauren brings little to the table, she can't even contribute by consuming commercial goods. Since she represents a net loss, her position will be terminated.
*The market decides - we all represent independent units of production and consumption as measured by the aptly named Gross National Product. The merciless verdict coming Lauren's way won't stop with her. It will only grow in application as the cost-benefit ratio metes out it's inexorable logic in an aging, over-burdened system.

I'm with Edgar. Pray for Lauren and her family. They have been raised in and desensitized by a culture of utility & pleasure. They have unconsciously absorbed it's ethos and are victims too. Let us honor her father's heartbreaking witness and cry out to heaven for mercy. For them, and for us.

I'd add something along a slightly different trajectory, Kevin: When you aren't pretty anymore, when your situation is physically embarrassing, life is no longer worth living. God knows--Lauren herself may at some time have subscribed to this horrifying idea. But of course that's no reason we should codify empty adolescent pseudo-ethics in law.

We are all commodities in the modern bazaar, Lydia. There is no demand for physically unattractive, dependent people to distract or divert us from fulfilling our desires. Their supply will have to be disposed of quietly and without fanfare.

The law will simply ratify what the market has decided.

Well, I have to speak honestly: The ideology of the right to die which has spawned the actual legal situation behind Lauren's story has not exactly been a right-wing creation. And you are far more likely to find that ideology among Birkenstock-wearers who worry about their "footprint on the planet" and who will say all you could wish to hear about the evils of consumerism and the market than among fusionist, mainstream, pro-market social conservatives, who are far more likely to be pro-life and to deplore death by dehydration. Whether all of this might be useful to those who want to make money is one question. Who has been and is pushing it is another. The right to die mentality is an entity unto itself. From the Cruzan case in the U.S. seventeen or so years ago on to the present-day murder of disabled infants in the soft-socialist (or must I say "Third Way"?) Netherlands, it has a life of its own and a background of its own. Such people believe, truly believe, that they are doing such as Lauren a favor. Sickening and horrifying. But not really much connected causally with the market.

"The right to die mentality is an entity unto itself."

I don't know how you can deny a connection between the way people think and the way they act. The culture of death is all encompassing and not limited to abortion and euthanasia. The bromide "Only the strong survive" knows no borders. The consumerist mentality knows the price of everything and the value of...

"...fusionist, mainstream, pro-market social conservatives, who are far more likely to be pro-life and to deplore death by dehydration."

Maybe a more "holistic" diagnosis of our crisis is required than one segmented into a series of often self-defeating contradictions. Hard to bandy about terms like "creative destruction" and "maximum utility" and then be surprised at the lack of pro-life success in our culture.

"Netherlands, it has a life of its own and a background of its own. Such people believe, truly believe, that they are doing such as Lauren a favor."

I know what the statist argument is, but what would be the pro-market argument against Lauren's forced starvation? .

"But not really much connected causally with the market."

I think the language and practices of the market in many ways assault human dignity and subvert the traditional Christian view that holds every life as inviolable and of intrinsic value. For evidence of such a rhetorical assault I put forth the essay by Landsburg discussed in another thread.

I'm with Edgar. Pray for Lauren and her family.

I don't think you are, Kevin. He left Lauren out of his little plea for prayer. You included her.

Bill, sorry. I didn't notice what had to be an unintentional omission, right Edgar?

Kevin, I refuse to let this thread become a debate about capitalism and economics. My opposition to dehydrating people to death is a moral one. It's a heinously wrong thing to do, period. I realize you think that people who favor the free market are incapable without self-contradiction of having such an absolute moral stance on such an issue. Of course, I disagree with you. But I won't hijack Bill's thread arguing the point. I've said my say to prevent the "this evil treatment of the disabled is all about free market economics" claim from going unchallenged, so I'll let it rest there.

Lydia, this isn't a narrow debate about economics, intruding on the issue of "mercy killing", as both are linked. We can't live bifurcated lives and expect a meaningful change to where things are heading. Every choice we make is a moral one.

Someone once said nothing deadens the soul like counting. How true. And does this society knows how to do the math, much to the detriment of those who live on life's margins. Discounted, shunned and finally shipped off with a severance package of warm and fuzzy lies.

Unless those of us who claim to turn to the Gospels as our guide in all things, truly do so, we will eventually lose everything.

For right now, perhaps we could just focus our hearts and minds on Lauren's dignity as a human being, on that innocence and helplessness which should appeal to our most merciful impulse. I don't think we'll convince any judge in Delaware to look kindly upon her by pointing out that he is a victim of a "consumerist mentality," but rather by appealing to the only human faculty he possesses whose solicitude might save her: his conscience.

an ordinary Joe who probably doesn't know what his intentions will or would be

Yeah, the ordinary Joe needs a caretaker--that's a given. And it's a cinch that the imbeciles who whelped the mutt won't be in any better position to make those decisions than he was. He needs somebody with the intelligence of, say, one of the authors of WWWtW to make all of his important life decisions for him. Face the facts: it's either the intellectually/morally superior elite, or the dread Nanny State and its network of Maoist/Atheist judges. What'll it be folks?

Agree with your focus on the immediate.

Going forward though, the only way to protect Lauren Richardson is to win the battle long before the coin-flip stage of a court room proceeding arrives. Cultivating the sanctity of life requires confronting the forces of death in all it's subtle manifestations. To soften hearts means a affecting a sea-change by actively acknowledging the dignity of every human being in our daily affairs.

Lauren's earthly fate (thankfully not her eternal one) is in the hands of a magistrate who will decide if; ".. the mother is not emotionally or psychologically qualified to act in the best interest of the daughter, and reflect her true values,". In other words, the burden is on her dad to prove she prefers to "live like this" to an audience with a disordered understanding of mercy. May Lauren be found innocent and awaken to a world vastly different than the one she knew just 18 months ago.

I've been trying to find out the state of play in the law and precedents in Delaware right now. No luck yet. The various pro-life pages on this don't seem to have the info. It seems to me the best _strategic_ approach for, say, the Delaware S.C. would be to hold that only written evidence can count as clear and convincing in a situation regarding so grave a matter, or something like that. They could even overturn an earlier precedent by the same court, if necessary. Not that I really expect that to happen. I'm just saying where I'd be looking for a loophole if I were a judge who thinks, as I do, that it's always wrong anyway to dehydrate people to death.

Rodak, we don't say that parents get to decide about shooting their children in the head or flinging them off of cliffs. Leaving a non-dying girl without food or water until she dies--it usually takes ten days to two weeks, just as it would with you or any other completely healthy person--is killing her no less. We would not let the parents dehydrate their child to death under other circumstances--say, leaving their healthy baby unfed until she died--and this should be no different. Other talk is game playing. And by the way, no one (yet) would consider such a thing if Lauren were her old beautiful self and were merely depressed and decided she wanted to die. So carrying out her wishes isn't really what it's about, either. The ideology is about carrying out what a person "would have wished" if she "wouldn't want to live _like that_," where "like that" is some state presumed to be unworthy of life. This isn't about a normal realm of familial autonomy at all--like letting a daughter go to the prom or something! This is about killing. And it's wrong.

Lydia--
You are reading way too much into what I said. I was objecting only to the implication that the "average joe" is incompetent to make his own decisions with regard to these (literally) vital issues.

The average Joes among us who decide in a state of competence that they'd like to be muderered should they become incompetent are indeed not competent to make that decision.

And so you should be appointed to make those decisions for all the incompetents, after having identified all the incompetents and, what--branding them with a scarlet "I"?

Society may have the right to stop the euthanization of person in the situation of this unfortunate young girl. But society does not--and should not--have the right to prevent individuals from making living wills containing "do not resuscitate" or "no extraordinary measures" clauses to prevent technicians from keeping their bodies alive after their brains have stopped functioning.

Rodak, you can get in high dudgeon about any form of suicide. Only it wouldn't sound so good: "And so you should be appointed to make the decision not to allow people to throw themselves off bridges? The idea! Do you also suggest that people who want to have themselves killed by lethal injection be branded with a scarlet 'I'?"

To which, of course, the proper response is, "No, but we should refuse to honor their 'decision' to be killed."

If a phrase in a living will means or is taken to mean, "Under such-and-such circumstances, I direct that I be left without food or water for as long as it takes me to die by dehydration," then that part of that living will should be disregarded. People can write them all they want. But they don't have the right to make other people abide by them.

Food and fluids are not extraordinary measures, and they should never have been thought of as such. It is only ignorance or ideology that insists that they are, just because they get into your digestive system by means of a tube rather than by means of a spoon, cup, or baby bottle.

And suppose in this instance, or a similar one, the father wins the case and then finds that he is unable to pay for the 24/7 care his vegetative daughter requires; who pays?

Correct me if I'm wrong here, but it is my understanding that the reason for the religious proscription of suicide is that suicide represents the irrevocable expression of despair and is, therefore, a sin against the Holy Spirit.
In the case of a living will, however, despair is not an issue. What is at issue is the desire of the individual that, should it befall him that he is neither able to care for himself, nor any longer no able to interact with the world, he not be maintained in this state indefinitely, thus beocming a burden to his family and/or his society. This is a rational decision, based on his love for others; it is not, in any way, a function of despair, or of hatred of life or the world.
Thus, to deny this request would be a hideous cruelty, akin to torture.

it is my understanding that the reason for the religious proscription of suicide is that suicide represents the irrevocable expression of despair and is, therefore, a sin against the Holy Spirit.

So the Christian proscription of suicide is valid unless the suicidee is happy about it. The intrinsic nature of an evil depends on one's emotional equanimity. Pardon me while I laugh.

I think your position boils down to this: Society may have the right to stop the euthanization of [a] person in the situation of this unfortunate young girl unless the girl has said that she wants to be euthanized.

And that Lydia wasn't "reading way too much" into what you said.

"So the Christian proscription of suicide is valid unless the suicidee is happy about it."

Then, I take it, you consider every Christian martyr to have been a "suicide"?

Check that: Not "every" Christian martyr: only those who did not die either fleeing death, or fighting to preserve their lives.

"Then, I take it, you consider every Christian martyr to have been a "suicide"?"

Stop with the cheap sophistry. There is a profound difference between someone who embraces suffering and death to bear witness and someone who opts for death to relieve suffering. The former acts out of hope, the latter often out of despair.

End of life decisions are heart-wrenching and morally challenging, but your comment above does nothing to advance the discussion.

There is a profound difference between someone who embraces suffering and death to bear witness and someone who opts for death to relieve suffering.

If so, then choosing death is not, as Mr. Luse has claimed, an intrinsic evil. In some circumstances, choosing death is a good. The choice to accept martyrdom is, then, a consequentialist decision, as is the choice to write a living will. You can't have the logic both ways.

My final question would be: what is it to you if Mr. Jones chooses to be allowed to die, rather than to be maintained in a vegetative state? If you coerce his continued existence, you have not in any way altered his moral state. His decision was made when he was still capable of choice. It is questionable to me that you have the moral right to use coercion against a helpless person in this way, which is why I compared doing so to torture above.

"Coerce his continued existence." What a wonderful phrase for feeding somebody and giving him water.

If someone wanted to die as a Christian martyr by deliberately dehydrating himself to death he would be wrong. Martyrs are killed by other people. See, it's _wrong_ to kill a person who dies as a martyr. The killers are murderers. Whereas you want to tell us it wouldn't be wrong to leave a person to dehydrate to death if that's what he wanted. Something very twisted around there in your analogy, Rodak.

No, it is not "rational" to want to be killed because you cannot interact with people. That is not the sine qua non of human worth. (And Rodak is a pacifist. Let that one sink in for a moment: Killing aggressors is wrong, but dehydrating helpless people to death who have asked for it so that they aren't a burden is rational, and it was rational of them to demand it.)

So if people are expensive to care for, this is an argument for killing them? (And Rodak is no fan of the market, either.) Who pays for her care has no more to do with the question, Rodak, than who pays for the care of some little old lady who needs home visits and other assistance in living and who _can_ interact with the world. But the latter can be expensive, too. Shall we con over the possibility of bumping her off? If we drug the heck out of her and stop giving her water, maybe she won't complain too much, and she'll be dead in two weeks.

Martydom is only suicide if one is willing to erase moral distinctions. St. Peter didn't kill himself. Hemingway did.
Got it?

No, it is not "rational" to want to be killed because you cannot interact with people.

You seem unable to make a distinction between "being killed" and "being allowed to die" and they are not the same thing.
If this unfortunate girl had, for instance, taken herself off to a cabin in the woods without telling anybody and had overdosed there, she would have died a "natural" death as a result of her own actions. So she is being "kept alive." To cease "keeping her alive" would not be to "murder her" but merely to allow nature to take its course. This is why she would not be, for instance, given a lethal injection.
If, now, my hypothetical Mr. Smith, not in anticipation of any particular circumstance, but merely in cognizance of the possible, stipulates in his will (which is not called a "will" for nothing) that he does not want to be kept in a similar vegetative state, should that misfortune befall him, his will must be binding on whoever is responsible for his subsequent dispostion. You have no legal right to impose your particular religious take (which is obviously not his take) on his situation on him, against his expressed will. And, if you do have that right, why do you not have the right to also make him attend your church, and take part in the rituals of your faith?

If someone wanted to die as a Christian martyr by deliberately dehydrating himself to death he would be wrong.

I don't deny that.

But my hypothetical Mr. Smith is not a Christian; he's an atheist and a logical postivist. What gives you the right to supercede his stated will to be allowed to die if found to be in a vegetative state by treating him as though he were a Christian?

The duty to feed and give water to a helpless person who is your responsibility is a Christian religious doctrine to which non-Christians have no moral access and to which they cannot be legally bound? So I guess if a non-Christian woman leaves her newborn baby in a closet until he dies of starvation and dehydration, we can't accuse her of a crime, because that would be imposing our religion on her?

The truth is, Rodak, you have just shallowly accepted the foolish cant that giving food in some ways rather than others is "forcing people to live" and "not allowing nature to take its course" and various other bits of moral nonsense. And then you think you should be able to throw around the word "religious" and intimidate people by the fear of the prospect of "imposing their religion" into saying that it's all right to dehydrate people to death. No dice.

Lydia--

Are you deliberately ignoring the argument I am making and addressing another argument that I have never made, or do you really just not understand my point?

1) You have no responsibility with regard to Mr. Smith.

2) Mr. Smith has/had no regard for what you think is good for him.

3) Nobody is trying to "intimidate" you.

4) You certainly would be, under the circumstances I hypothesized, "imposing your religion" on Mr. Smith.

5) Unless you can show me that such "living wills" have been declared unconstitutional, or otherwise invalid under statute law, then Mr. Smith's wishes must be carried out by the executors of his estate.

6) In a case where no such "living will" is present, your argument is valid.

If Mr. Smith becomes legally incompetent so that the "living will" is relevant, then _someone_ is responsible for him. Someone is washing him, changing his sheets, and (until a judge orders otherwise) giving him food and water. Just as we tell parents and legal guardians that they are not permitted to starve and dehydrate their children/wards to death, so we should tell whatever person is responsible for Mr. Smith that he cannot be dehydrated to death. It's that simple. Dehydrating a helpless person to death should be out. Illegal. Those who are responsible for such a person should not be permitted to do it. This is as true for Mr. Smith as it is for a one-month-old healthy, normal baby who happens to need a bottle. And no, the fact that he said he wanted to be left without fluids until he died of thirst does not change that moral absolute.

whatever person is responsible for Mr. Smith

You carefully overlook the person or persons who are responsible to

Mr. Smith.

Dehydrating a helpless person to death should be out. Illegal.

But, in point of fact, it's not.

No one is responsible "to" somebody to do something to him that shouldn't be done.

I want everybody to notice the big motivator for Rodak, here: He believes we're doing harm to a person by not carrying out said person's clearly expressed sovereign wish to be dehydrated to death. That is the kind of ideology I was talking about up above as a "thing unto itself." It's pretty much an article of faith that dehydrating someone to death is morally licit and that we are positively wronging someone by not carrying out his wishes and doing it if he is incompetent.

But, in point of fact, it's not.

It varies, actually, from state to state. It's harder in some than in others. But so what? Legal structures can be wrong. If the law said to shoot somebody if he asked for it, I wouldn't do that, either.

Rodak's "allowing to die" is just a verbal veil for "murder." Either that or he really can't see the distinction.

If the law said to shoot somebody if he asked for it, I wouldn't do that, either.

The key word there, Lydia, is "I". Nobody is asking you to shoot anybody. Nobody is asking you to be involved in dehydrating anybody. Nobody is asking you to have an abortion, or to use birth control. And nobody is asking you for permission to do those things themselves, where it is permitted by law.

"Keep a person alive" is a tendentious way of putting it. To answer it less tendentiously, yes, it is wrong to starve a person to death even if that person is in pain.

This is well-stated. It annoys me to no end that people are equating the starving of an unconscious person (passive murder) with simply opting to not have a machine force their heart to beat or lungs to breathe...

All things being equal, I simply can't understand the rush to see an unconscious person be starved to death. In no obvious pain, and likely the financial burden of the state, allowing a natural end to occur - even if it isn't on our time frame - seems more than reasonable...

Why this is so very difficult for some to understand, I simply cannot say.

A Simple Sinner--
I am in complete agreement with you there. I think that so long as there is a responsible person who is willing to see that a person on a feeding tube is properly cared for, and not merely warehoused and "cared for" by indifferent strangers, there should be no rush to remove the tube.
That said, I am totally against maintaining any person in that condition who had explicitly, in a legal document, stated that he did not want that, should the occasion arise.

If the person is still "in the body" so to speak, their choice on what care to receive is legally paramount. We move from the context of keeping a helpless person alive to force feeding an unwilling subject. If the person is not "in the body", the point is moot anyway.

Ah, well, Step2, if you insist on putting it that way, you can put me down for "force-feeding" this person who is caused no distress by the so-called "force" and who is merely receiving normal nutrition and hydration. Yes, even if at some point in time in the past she said "she wouldn't want" to receive such nutrition and hydration under these circumstances.

The whole thing is so silly, because if a person is conscious and able to talk (as some people have been, for part of the time, who have been thus dehydrated to death), he has to be drugged out of his mind so he doesn't cry out for water. And where's the force-feeding, then? What such a person is essentially asking for is that, if he is unable to change his mind and make his wishes known during the pain of dehydration, he be dehydrated to death. And if he's able to feel the pain of it? Well, some people have even expressly asked that they be drugged--i.e., made unable to change their minds! You have to have some pretty squirrely notions of choice and force to call giving a person what he will cry out for if able to do so "force-feeding."

Rodak, wouldja please stop pretending you don't understand me? Really. Nobody is making me have an abortion? Yeah, and nobody is asking me to tear my born children to pieces, either. And what does this have to do with anything? Such as, whether people should be legally permitted to dehydrate their children or wards to death or murder their unborn children? It has precisely nothing to do with it. Nobody is asking me to beat anybody up, either, but that doesn't mean it should be up to the individual whether to beat people up. Please, spare me the shallow, childish, liberal cliches. What is this: "If you don't like dehydrating people to death, don't do it"? Like "If you don't like abortion, don't have one." Oh, yah, that's a real deep analysis of the situation!

Lydia,
We covered these distinctions a long time ago over at Right Reason. It was your Relevance of Pain posts. After glancing back over it, I still agree with my previous comments. Basically, no pain medication for the first five days and a change of mind communicated at any point overrides a previous decision.

In this instance, I was just turning the tables and asking you to accept your own premise that a person is present and therefore has the right to accept or reject any degree of health care.

Thanks for reminding me, Step2. I had in fact forgotten. Of course, if the person is unable to communicate, as in this case, it wouldn't help to leave her without pain medication. She can't talk.

I don't recall ever, anywhere accepting as a premise that a) food and water are health care in the sense of "treatment" or b) a person has the right to reject food and water.

Of course I believe a person is present. But a) she isn't rejecting anything now. That's a legal fiction. The idea is that she may have said something before about what she "would want" now, which is hardly the same thing. And b) people don't have a right to reject food and water until they die.

Like "If you don't like abortion, don't have one."

Lydia--

That is, in fact, the prevailing situation in our society with regard to abortion. It requires no "deep analysis." It is patent reality. Deal with it.

But you approve of that legal situation (obviously), Rodak, and I don't. In fact, you actually believe it would be "imposing our religion" ('theocratic' perhaps?) to have a different legal situation in which these horrors were stopped. And I hardly think you mean that "imposing our religion" phrase to be a commendation of the proposal in question.

We can't talk about right and wrong beyond the present state of positive law? I don't know about you, but I can. And it should be illegal to dehydrate Lauren to death, whether in fact it is or not. That's all. You don't like my saying so, and you shift back and forth between expressing high indignation--based on shallow bumper-sticker phrases about "imposing one's religion" and the like--about my and other pro-lifers' moral stance on this matter and, on the other hand, telling us to "deal with" the fact that our moral stance is not enshrined in positive law. What's the point of that latter move? If people had told the abolitionists to "deal with it," and if they'd listened, they would have gotten nowhere.

Step2,
"... a person is present and therefore has the right to accept or reject any degree of health care."

Does that mean there is a right to die and any competent person can exercise it?

Under what conditions? Must be on a ventilator, terminally ill, in extreme physical pain, suffering the heartbreak of psorasis, tennis game no longer what it was? Please elaborate on any restrictions you would place on the exercise of this "right".

A small and misguided element of the pro-life community have made a fetish out of the living body and describe the extraordinary measures now available through technology as moral necessities. They are wrong. And their stance causes much harm and confusion.

Still, far worse is the carnage caused by the right to die movement. Their construction of a "quality of life" ethos only torments anyone vulnerable to being called a burden. In need of compassion, they are instead confronted by strategically placed exit signs. The handiwork of a post-Christian society blind to the redemptive nature of suffering and indifferent to the Beatitudes.

Hi Kevin - Yes - I did omit Lauren from the prayer request. Sorry about that.

I mentioned her family only because they are faced with a tough decision. Lauren, unfortunately, is not able to articulate her wishes.

Let's definitely pray for Lauren - that God gives her peace, and that God gives wisdom to her family.

Edgar.

This story is not what it seems. It may seem cut and dry to many, but there is a alot that the public does not know. Lauren Richardson's mother is not mentally stable, she and her daughter did not get along. You can go to Lauren's myspace page and look to see where she states herself that she got along better with her father then with her mother. However, the verdict was based soley on her mother and her mother's uncle stating that she had said she did not want to live "like that" Not to mention, if Lauren did say those things in 2005 as told in court, she was on drugs and drinking when made them, and she was not a mother. At the same time she allegedly made these statements one of the two witnesses had just gotten out of a mental institution and one was on drugs himself. These do not seem like they should be admissable to me. The week that Lauren "accidentally" overdosed, she had been hiding from her mother who was trying to force her to have an abortion. She had been clean for ten months! Her stuff was packed because that weekend she was going to move in with her dad, because she had asked HIM to help her with the baby. Several doctors have requested to see Lauren and try different treatments. Her mother has refused all of them. Her doctor, who is not a neurologist told the family that she would not wake up, she would not move her body, that she would not respond to pain, that she would not breathe on her own again, that would not respond to people, that she would not show emotion. She does all of these things. She also can swallow and doctors have said with enough therapy she could eat on her own again. If she had gotten that threapy and could feed herself would we then hold her arms down so she cannot eat. Lauren's mother waited 7 months before stating that these were not "Lauren's wishes." And this was something that could have been said in the very beginning, before the fetus was viable. She had ample oppurtunity. It was only after Lauren seemed to be improving that she came forth with this information. How is that respecting Lauren's wishes? Lauren has never even seen her daughter, her mother will not bring her in. drugs for Lauren.She went THREE MONTHS without visiting Lauren at all, and only because Randy was going to be granted custody and allowed to take her home, did she come in and see her so no one could claim abandonment. As it currently stands, someone from the Richardson side of the family is there 84 hours of the week at least, whereas someone from her mother's side of the family is there for approximately 6 hours a week. This can be verified by visitors logs. She can come whenever she likes, she chooses not to because the Richardsons are there, evevn though she has been informed that they will leave whenever she wishes to visit. Now the Richardsons have been threatened with lawsuits if they continue to speak to the media and if they do not take down her website. If she has the freedom to starve her daughter (who is not a vegetable, not on a breathing machine, not in pain, not dying, and CAN SWALLOW) he should have the freedom to talk about it with the public. In a country where we cannot legally help someone kill themselves when they are terminally ill and in massive pain, we are awfully quick to kill people who are not, and just based on hearsay. There was another group of people who used to kill disabled children and adults. Sometimes they used starving as a method as well. The Nazis.

Please call Governor Ruth Ann Minner and ask her to stop this from happening.

Wilmington Office- 302- 577-3210
Dover Office- 302-744-4101

I mentioned her family only because they are faced with a tough decision.

No they aren't.

A small and misguided element of the pro-life community have made a fetish out of the living body and describe the extraordinary measures now available through technology as moral necessities. They are wrong. And their stance causes much harm and confusion.

I don't know if that is sarcasm, or not; but it sums up exactly what I've been trying to say. It is amazing how all of my points are labeled as knee-jerk liberal bumperstickerism, while the reflexive reactions to what I've said coming from some of the WWWtW establishment are taken as fresh wisdom, straight from the lips of God. It has also become apparent that any in-lock-step commenter is free to personally insult a dissenter from the WWWtW party line, even though perceived insults coming from the side of dissent are subject to redaction. Gosh--know thyself. (A good bumpersticker, that, actually!)

Eleanor,
Thank you for your insight into this diabolical assault against human life. Clearly, food and water are not extraordinary measures. I will call the Governor and remember Lauren throughout this Lent.

They'd better start giving her at least some food by mouth _now_ or her throat muscles will atrophy.

Eleanor, can you give us any insight into the legal set-up in Delaware now? What sort of legal resources does the pro-life side have? Is custody made on a "best interests" basis or on the basis of who will carry out "substituted judgement" of what the judge has decided would have been the person's wishes? What is the standard of "clear and convincing evidence"? These are the kinds of questions that _must_ be answered for strategic purposes.

Amen to Bill's last comment.

Like "If you don't like abortion, don't have one."

Lydia--

That is, in fact, the prevailing situation in our society with regard to abortion. It requires no "deep analysis." It is patent reality. Deal with it.


It requires no deep analysis because it is not deep analysis. It is a shallow, patently absurd slogan as can be shown by the following bumper sticker arguments:

"If you don't like rape, don't do one"
"If you don't like slavery, don't have one"
"If you don't like murder, don't do one"
"If you don't like exploiting illegal immigrant labor, don't hire one"

etc., etc.

[edit to add block-quoting -- tlm]

Well, ta-nation! Who knew? I guess I'll just have to spend more time studying bumperstickers, like y'all.

Who insulted you, Rodak? I'll go redact him at once.

Mr. Luse--
You miss my point. I don't want anybody's comments redacted, including mine.

You mean especially yours. I'm afraid I can't make any promises. There's little enough fun in life.

I meant exactly what I said. Do you now, Mr. Luse, possess the ability to read men's hearts, along with all your other evident and abundant gifts?

If I said yes, you wouldn't believe me.

On the contrary, Mr. Luse; [insult redacted]

Just can't help yourself, can you?

But I will leave your most salient insult unredacted, the one you give to Lauren Richardson by holding the morally incoherent position that ordinarily it's a very bad thing to starve someone to death, unless he asks for it, in which case it becomes a good thing.

There you go again, Mr. Luse. I just love your reflexive propensity to descend into unintended self-parody! Keep fighting the good fight!

reflexive propensity to descend into unintended..."

What a ((self) redacted)!

Mr. Luse,
Is it reasonable to hope that a bumbling tautology like this specimen may one day become a subject of redaction?

Christian--
It is a bit wordy, I'll grant you that. Take away some style points. But I'm no sure that there are any redundancies there. A propensity and be developed--or not. And self-parody can be intentional--or not. It's a close call.

I think we'll let it stand, Christian. If you can see it, others can as well. And, after all, he did admit my "evident and abundant gifts".

If you can see it, others can as well.

Zut alors! Hoist on my petard!

And, after all, he did admit my "evident and abundant gifts".

True, and I am glad to agree with him.

I'm not sure he was sincere, but I grab the flattery wherever I can find it.

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