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  • Writer's pictureKirk Hartley

A Right to Life – What Does that Really Mean as the Health Care Debate Goes Forward

This recent post from the ASU Law Journal for Social Justice – titled The Right to Life – provides a timely reminder of the hypocrisy of many of the so-called "conservatives" who supposedly want "less federal government" in health care. Specifically, the post contrasts current posturing on medical care with the rush of some – including President Bush II – to pass legislation specific to the sad situation involving Terry Schiavo, the woman who was brain dead. Various alleged "conservatives" sought to intervene, waving the banner of a right to life. The Right to Life posts nicely contrasts the prior bannerism to more recent realities, such as the Tea Partiers cheering for the idea of letting a man die.

Here’s the introduction to the post – it’s well worth a Sunday morning read:

"“Today, I signed into law a bill that will allow Federal courts to hear a claim by or on behalf of Terri Schiavo for violation of her rights relating to the withholding or withdrawal of food, fluids, or medical treatment necessary to sustain her life. In cases like this one, where there are serious questions and substantial doubts, our society, our laws, and our courts should have a presumption in favor of life. This presumption is especially critical for those like Terri Schiavo who live at the mercy of others. I appreciate the bipartisan action by the Members of Congress to pass this bill. I will continue to stand on the side of those defending life for all Americans, including those with disabilities.”

– Statement of President George W. Bush on signing P.L. 109-3 titled “An Act For the relief of the parents of Theresa Marie Schiavo.”

In 2005, the US Congress passed a bill to save one woman’s life when her husband decided to take her off life support after she had been in a persistent vegetative state for fifteen years. A short six years later, a crowd at a Republican presidential debate cheered the hypothetical idea of letting a young man without health insurance die even though he had a curable condition. That concept became a stark reality for a young man in Phoenix, Arizona who was told to seek treatment in Mexico because he did not qualify for health insurance in the United States."

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