Pro-Life Group Seeks State Laws Like "Terri’s Law" to Protect Others
by Steven Ertelt
October 27, 2003
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — In response to Terri Schiavo’s deprivation of food and water and the subsequent law passed by the Florida legislation, one leading pro-life organization has drafted model law that can be used by all states to protect people in similar circumstances.
The National Right to Life Committee is calling on state legislatures around the nation to move to protect people with disabilities from being denied food and fluids.
“Far from being an isolated instance, the attempted starvation and dehydration of Terri Schindler-Schiavo is typical of the denial of food and fluids in less publicized cases taking place daily in nursing homes and hospitals across America,” said Burke J. Balch, J.D., director of the Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics, affiliated with the National Right to Life Committee.
NRLC is issuing a “Model Starvation and Dehydration of Persons with Disabilities Prevention Act.” The proposed model law conforms to Supreme Court decisions and is written to be easily adaptable by any state.
It would create a presumption that those incapable of making health care decisions would wish to get food and fluids so long as their provision is medically possible, would not itself hasten death, and can be digested or absorbed so as to sustain life.
The presumption would not apply if someone has written an advance directive authorizing the withholding of nutrition, which Terri had not done.
“We must not let the horror and outrage over the attempted starvation and dehydration of Terri Schindler-Schiavo dwindle and die away before we have acted to secure protection for the thousands facing similar fate," added NRLC Executive Director David O’Steen.
Related web sites:
Text of the Model Law – https://www.nrlc.org/euthanasia/modelstatelaw.html
FAQ regarding the model law – https://www.nrlc.org/euthanasia/QAModelNH.pdf