Bioethics Watchdogs Say Don’t Subject Lauren Richardson to Euthanasia

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 5, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Bioethics Watchdogs Say Don’t Subject Lauren Richardson to Euthanasia Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 5,

Dover, DE ( — Bioethics watchdogs are weighing in on the Lauren Richardson case and say that the courts and her family shouldn’t subject the young woman to euthanasia. Richardson has become the next Terri Schiavo as her parents engage in a massive legal and philosophical debate about whether to take her life.

Lauren 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.

Noted attorney and author Wesley J. Smith wrote on Monday that he viewed a video Richardon’s father released and he says she seems reactive particularly when her father attempts to interact with her.

"Whether she is conscious or not is irrelevant to her equal moral worth as a human being," Smith adds.

"The fight in this case is over whether she lives as a profoundly disabled woman or is made to die slowly over two weeks by dehydration–as Terri Schiavo did," Smith explained. "If we did that to a dog, we would go to jail. Do it to a disabled woman who needs a feeding tube and it is called medical ethics."

Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, also recently wrote about Richardson’s case.

He told, "As a disabled citizen, she is defenseless against the court-approved, imposed act of dehydration and starvation intended to cause her death."

"Lauren gave birth to a baby girl during this ordeal, and has not been allowed to see her child. This little baby girl needs a chance to know her mother," he added.

"We appeal to each person with compassion and love to understand why we wish to bring Lauren home and care for her," Schadenberg said.

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, who 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."

Related web sites:
Life for Lauren –