Which candidates are pro-life?

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May 18, 2007

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The Texas Senate has sent SB 439 to the House for a vote to reform a law passed in 1999 and signed by then-Governor George W. Bush, which set requirements for withdrawing medical treatment considered futile to patients considered terminal.

The bill would extend from 10 to 21 days the time a family would have to find alternative care if a hospital’s medical ethics board and attending doctor agreed that continuing care would unethically prolong a patient’s suffering.

Unlike the current law, the bill would require basic hydration and nutrition to be continued even if a patient’s case was judged to be futile. It would allow basic care to be withdrawn only if it hastened a patient’s death or put the patient at risk of “serious medical pain or discomfort” that cannot be alleviated, based on reasonable medical judgment.

The bill would also require hospitals to assign a medical liaison to assist the patient’s family or surrogate, and allow surrogates to participate in meetings of ethics boards along with five additional representatives for the patient. (Houston Chronicle, 5/16/07)

During the past few years, public attention has been drawn to cases in which hospitals refused to continue care for extremely ill patients, putting family members into a desperate situation trying to find another facility in which their loved one could continue to receive care in the limited time available to them.

While SB 439 is designed to fix that, end of life issues remain complex and difficult. The Chronicle reports that Senator Bob Deuell, who is a physician, praised the flexibility of Catholics, Baptists, some pro-life organizations, disability advocates, doctors and hospitals for compromising to improve existing law. “This was a very difficult law because the issue is so tough,” he said.

It is now known that two of the three leading candidates for the Republican nomination for President have been associated with donations to the nation’s biggest abortion advocate and provider, Planned Parenthood.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s old campaign finance reports show that he and his wife then wrote personal checks totaling $900 to national, state, and city chapters of Planned Parenthood on six different occasions. “Ultimately, there has to be a right to choose,” Giuliani told reporters after his donations surfaced. When asked if he thought the Republican Party would accept a pro-choice President, Giuliani said, “I guess we are going to find out,” and said he was “at peace” with his differences with his party on this issue.

Soon after, it was discovered that Ann Romney, wife of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, had donated $150 to Planned Parenthood in 1994. Romney fielded questions about his wife’s donation at a campaign stop in Ames, Iowa, saying that he did not become convinced that abortion should be banned until 2004. “I’m not trying to have it both ways,” he said. “I was effectively pro-choice. And now I’m pro-life.” He also added that his wife’s donation was “for her and not for me.” And that “her positions are not terribly relevant to my campaign.” (Human Events, 5/14/07)

Never forget that you were once an embryo!

Republican National
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