Monday, March 21, 2005

More Republican Hypocrisy

Although Republicans have led the charge to maintain Terri Shiavo's life-support-giving feeding tube in the face of the conflict between Terri's husband and parents, if you click here, and here, you will read how Republicans in Bush's Texas have conspired to ensure that in other cases that have not received the same media attention, feeding tubes and other measures of life support can be removed by hospital beaucracies even over the objections of parents and family members.

An opposition party in Congress might recognize the incongruence between these circumstances in Texas and the Shiavo case in Florida and suggest that in the interest of valuing the sanctity of life, a law having universal application be passed that protected not just Shiavo, but the families of Nikolouzos, Sun Hudson, and any others facing life-support conflicts, whether with faceless bureaucracies or with other family members.

And of course, we wouldn't want the issue of monetary payment or insurance coverage to determine whether the mechanism of life support was removed, now would we? Digby says:

Those of us who read liberal blogs are also aware that Republicans have voted en masse to pull the plug (no pun intended) on medicaid funding that pays for the kind of care that someone like Terry Schiavo and many others who are not so severely brain damaged need all across this country.

Those of us who read liberal blogs also understand that that the tort reform that is being contemplated by the Republican congress would preclude malpractice claims like that which has paid for Terry Schiavo's care thus far.

Those of us who read liberal blogs are aware that the bankruptcy bill will make it even more difficult for families who suffer a catastrophic illness like Terry Schiavo's because they will not be able to declare chapter 7 bankruptcy and get a fresh start when the gargantuan medical bills become overwhelming.

These cases, and these issues are inter-related. If the sanctity of life is of utmost value--and I certainly argue that it is--then we must agree to do all in our power to protect it from whatever forces threaten it. An opposition party would not let the ruling majority wring it's hands and grandstand over the fate of one individual from one state while passing social-Darwinian legislation that negated the value and sanctity of life in every other case.

UPDATE: Perhaps anticipating that the inhumane, always-support-the-rights-of-corporations- over-the-rights-of-individuals law in Texas might make for bad press in the Shiavo case, there has been a change of heart in the Nikolouzos case in Texas.

Liberals shouldn't be decrying the attention paid to Shiavo. If we're lucky, it will present a great opportunity to push for laws that favor the interests and lives of vulnerable individuals rather than the corporate moneyed interests conservatives typically favor.

UPDATE II: It turns out that the National Right to Life (and here is an oxymoron if there ever was one) supported the Texas legislation allowing hospitals to pull the plug on terminal patients who couldn't pay up. I'll leave you alone for a few moments to consider the implications of this further hypocrisy and cruelty.

UPDATE III: Here is a cartoon you might enjoy, which captures the hypocrisy involved. Thanks to Pandagon for the link.

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