I have criticized the American pro-life establishment for not being more on the ball with this and have attempted in my extremely tiny corner of the blogosphere to rectify this to some extent. One of the things I found troubling was the treatment of Vincent as though he were already dead and as though we, battle-weary American pro-lifers, couldn't possibly be expected to go on fighting for him, praying for him, or even to give any sort of regular coverage of the battle for his life. Wesley J. Smith, whom I admire greatly, even said this:
Lydia. I can't write about everything. It was Terri Schiavo redux. Alas, that is like trying to refight the 1968 election.
Well, fortunately for Vincent Lambert, his parents and his supporters in France didn't believe that it was "like trying to refight the 1968 election"--in other words, impossible, like trying to change the past. Since Vincent is, in fact, still alive (Not Dead Yet) and since from our point in time his being dehydrated to death remains a merely contingent possibility, they knew that they could still act causally to try to stop it. And the good news is that, for the moment, they seem to have succeeded!
My only access to all of this is via Google translate versions of updates from the French group The Committee to Support Vincent Lambert. I just got this in my in-box today:
Yesterday we experienced a great day for Vincent Lambert and his family. The decision by the University Hospital of Reims is likely to preserve the life of our friend Vincent. We welcome this stage win and want to thank you all for your personal commitment to this noble cause and all actions you have taken in recent weeks. Thanks to those who yesterday supported parents by their presence in Reims or by thought. Vincent's mother, very touched by your massive mobilization and generous, address each of you Thanks: "We are tired of the years of struggle for the survival of our son I can assure you that your support was a constant reassurance.. We owe you a lot. Thanks to all of you. " Note that Vincent has increased since the expertise of the State Council there are 16 months. It was filmed recently in the process of swallowing food without difficulty and All water specialists who have seen this video are formal.. it is not in a vegetative state but pauci relational and must be re-educated to eat by mouth So today we are first relieved The death threat to Vincent walked away. However, we must remain mobilized: the next step to take is that of the transfer of Vincent in a facility that will take care of it. Thank you for staying with us, Vincent to defend. The Support Committee Vincent Lambert
(Note: I take it that the references in this English translation to Vincent as "it" are a mere artifact of the way that an auto-translate program deals with the French language.) See further here and here.
As near as I can understand it, here are some concrete things that this committee has done that have, for now, preserved Vincent's life: 1) They brought to public attention the fact that some of Vincent's current doctors have publicly appeared with Vincent's wife, who wants him killed, and that this presents a prima facie conflict of interest for these doctors. This has apparently created pressure on the doctors not to decide to kill him. 2) They have found other institutions willing to take Vincent and care for him. (I believe some or all of these are in other countries.) 3) They have filmed Vincent eating and drinking by mouth, showing that his abilities and his level of consciousness are higher than was being portrayed by those who wanted him dead.
That is, of course, in addition to simply keeping the issue live and the public informed in a general way, organizing protests, and the like.
The committee is careful to say that the urgent next move is to get Vincent transferred to a facility where he will be under the care of doctors who are supportive of him and of his right to life and where he can be given more therapy in eating and drinking by mouth. That is indeed very important, because otherwise this decision for his life could (as I understand it) be reversed at any time. Continual vigilance is needed.
This is very good news and reinforces the old slogan, "Where there's life, there's hope."
As I said from the outset, the legal and perhaps even the social situation in France appears to be somewhat better in some ways than the situation in which Terri Schiavo was killed. That made it more probable that pressure would be effective in saving Vincent. In any event, Vincent's parents and supporters persisted, and, in a happy break from the usual bad news of the world, their persistence has been rewarded.
Never give up. Never, never, never give up.