Right-to-life wingers in Florida have gone over the edge this time. In their battle to keep Terri Schiavo dying a little longer (and my heart really does go out to Terri and her husband), they entered a new bill in the Florida legislature.
If passed as expected, the bill will ensure that unless you had the foresight to specifically define all the conditions under which you would not want to prolong your death via feeding tube, hydration tube, excretion tube, etc. you would automatically be forced on to all of the above. I’m not kidding. A story in the Miami Herald explains it all.
“In an effort to get around another legal challenge, legislators have crafted a much broader bill. It says that no patients in a persistent vegetative state — Schiavo’s diagnosis — can have their feeding tubes removed unless they meet one of several conditions, including:
€ They have left written instructions approving the denial of food and water.
€ There is ”clear and convincing evidence” that before becoming incapacitated, they ”expressly” directed the withholding of food and water.
€ Death is imminent and a feeding tube would not help.
The state will merrily intrude over the wishes of the family if the new legislation goes through.
“Gelber said he fears the bill would deny the rights of parents to decide what to do with incapacitated children, since it would be hard to decide if a child made an informed decision on end-of-life issues.
Some Floridians, the story said, have already given up protesting:
“‘I don’t think I want the government in my bedroom and I certainly don’t want them on my deathbed,” said Jean Harden, a Lakeland resident who initially planned to speak in opposition to the bill but decided against it when she realized the committee planned to vote in favor of it.
My flamboyant 50-something South Florida friend Will actually made out a new living will in reaction to all this. It contains a provision outlining precisely what Jeb Bush is to do with his bad self in the event of Will’s near-death.