Wisconsin Pro-Life Group Wants to Help Patient Targeted by Euthanasia

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 16, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Wisconsin Pro-Life Group Wants to Help Patient Targeted by Euthanasia Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
August 16,

LaCrosse, WI (LifeNews.com) — Wisconsin Right to Life has filed a legal motion to attempt to intervene on the behalf of a disabled woman there who has become the target of euthanasia. The guardian of the LaCrosse women has requested the withdrawal of nutrition and hydration that could lead to a painful death similar to Terri Schiavo.

The woman is named Marilyn and in her 50s and she has had several strokes and has dementia. However, she is believed not to be terminally ill and is not dying, the pro-life group told LifeNews.com.

She is currently a patient at Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center where she is being kept under sedation and is fed through the use of a feeding tube.

Marilyn has left no advance directive or instructions or otherwise indicated her wishes with respect to the withdrawal of life-preserving nutrition and hydration. That’s what led to the legal dispute between Terri’s family and her formal husband, who eventually won the right to have her killed.

Wisconsin Right to Life attorneys Rick Esenberg and Terry Allen Davis submitted the motion to intervene in the case for the organization.

"This should be the end of the matter," they told the court. "Under controlling law, it is not possible for Marilyn’s guardian or this court to order the withdrawal of nutrition and hydration."

The attorneys cited the 1997 Wisconsin Supreme Court decision in the case of Guardianship of Edna M.F.

In the case, the state’s high court unanimously held that "a guardian may only direct the withdrawal of life-sustaining medical treatment, including nutrition and hydration, if the incompetent ward is in a PVS and the decision to withdraw is in the best interest of the ward."

Robyn Shapiro, an attorney for Marilyn’s guardian, told the LaCrosse Tribune newspaper during a Tuesday court hearing that she is “functionally equivalent” to a persistent vegetative state and her medical history supports the position.

An August 22 hearing in the case will be held in the LaCrosse County Circuit Court before Judge Scott Horne.

In the Tuesday hearing, Judge Horne said he was skeptical of Shapiro’s position in the case but also accepted his arguments that Marilyn at one time indicated she didn’t want to live like Terri Schiavo.

Should that be accepted as her medical directive, it could change the outcome of the case.

Davis responded to that argument saying that Shapiro is simply setting up a case for an appeal and that he is a well known euthanasia advocate who is trying to expand the number of cases when lifesaving medical treatment can be withdrawn.

Expanding those circumstances creates “intractable ethical issues and has far-reaching implications for the way in which treatment will be provided and diagnoses will be made," the WRTL attorneys said.

Related web sites:
Wisconsin Right to Life – https://www.wrtl.org