Lauren Richardson Becomes Next Terri Schiavo as Parents Debate Euthanasia

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 1, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Lauren Richardson Becomes Next Terri Schiavo as Parents Debate Euthanasia Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 1,

Dover, DE ( — A Delaware woman has become the next Terri Schiavo as her parents engage in a massive legal and philosophical debate about whether to subject her to euthanasia. Richardson is a 23-year-old woman who overdosed on heroin in August 2006 while she was three months pregnant with a baby girl.

Doctors kept Lauren on life support until she delivered her baby in February 2007. Shortly thereafter, her parents began a fight that is reminiscent of the battle over Terri’s life and death.

As in the Terri Schiavo case, physicians have been quick to label Lauren as having a persistent vegetative state — something Terri’s family called dehumanizing and medically inaccurate as patients have recovered from it.

Edith Towers, Lauren’s mother, wants to remove her feeding tube and starve and dehydrate her to death in the same manner that Michael Schiavo subjected Terri.

Towers claims Lauren would never have wanted to live as a permanently disabled person, but Lauren, as with Terri, did not have a living will or other advance directive spelling out her treatment wishes. She claims Lauren told her during Terri’s battle that she would not want to live like her.

On the other side is Randy Richardson, Lauren’s father is fighting to save her life and wants to be appointed as her guardian to ensure she receives appropriate medical care and treatment.

"She’s committed no crime and doesn’t deserve to have this death imposed on her," Richardson told the News Journal newspaper on Wednesday. "We just want to give her a chance."

Lauren no longer uses a ventilator or other breathing apparatus and is not on artificial life support — something Randy contends is showing progress.

Towers is winning the legal battle in court as she was awarded guardianship of Lauren, but Randy Richardson has filed an appeal.

The News Journal indicates Delaware Court of Chancery Master Sam Glasscock III has put any action taking Lauren’s life on hold while the court reviews the guardianship ruling — a process that could take as much as three months to complete.

Regardless of the decision, an appeal to the Delaware Supreme Court is expected.

Randy Richardson also has other concerns about his daughter and says that Towers, his ex-wife, has not allowed Lauren’s baby to see her.

Richardson and the Delaware Pro-Life Coalition released a video on Wednesday that shows Lauren at a nursing home reacting to family members and a dog.

The pro-life group also organized a prayer vigil near the Arbors Rehab Center in New Castle.

Related web sites:
Life for Lauren –