The Devaluation of Human Life

Death isn’t something we want to ponder, much less the end of our own lives; however, none of us can escape this universal reality. 1 Samuel 2:6 reads: “The Lord puts to death and gives life;” Deuteronomy 32:39 reads: “It is I who bring both death and life.” Even those unfamiliar with scriptures instinctively know that murder is wrong and goes against the natural law written on the hearts of all people.

Blessings manifest in many forms. There is the ‘special’ blessing (as I call it) of time to prepare to meet our Maker, such as time to rectify unfinished business with a sibling, child, or friend. Living for a few more days could mean salvation for the patient and peace for the relative or friend. Only those closest to the one dying would know the significance of such final hours and conversations with our Maker and with loved ones. The family is the best resource for the patient’s directives during this time, rather than a doctor. Prematurely removing treatment could speed the death of the patient, stealing away precious moments that could yield healing or comfort, not to mention a peaceful death.

Some Pro-Lifers focus only on abortion while the major state and national organizations work to protect life from conception to natural death. Lucky for some, they may not be engaged because their lives haven’t been impacted by a situation of imposed death. In other words, most think that “Terri Schiavo” would never happen to them or anyone they know, and if so, they would not want to live like “that.” However, Terri was alive, and her life mattered. All lives matters and neither the hospital nor the doctor should hold the power to determine if the patient’s life holds any value or whether he is a liability or how or when the patient dies. If we as a society dismiss the fact that God Almighty is the giver and taker of all life in His own perfect time (perhaps inconvenient to us humans, but perfect nevertheless), then we have lost all respect for His gift of life to us, all lives, even able-bodied, are in jeopardy. If humans are mere material, physical beings without origin in a Creator, then no life, not one person, is safe from the will of others.

The Texas House of Representatives is considering HB 3074, which falls short of its stated goal to protect patients from the withdrawal of food and water—called “artificially administered nutrition and hydration” in the bill or “AANH.” HB 3074 transfers more power to a doctor and hospital committee to decide if AANH should be withdrawn, leaving the family without power to protect a loved one from dehydration or starvation. While the family should rely on information and counsel provided by the doctors and the care-team, decisions as to benefits and burdens (outlined in HB 3074) should remain with the patient and his family, not the doctors. The doctor’s diagnoses and recommendations will in most cases impact the decisions made by the family, but the value of the patient’s life, the value of the ailing loved one, should be left to the family, not imposed by a hospital committee. HB 3074 keeps this decision, even a directive about food and water, in the hands of the doctors and hospital committee. In many cases, the family needs a few days to mentally and emotionally grasp the impending death of a loved one, and forcing a ten-day death knell by dehydration or starvation is unhelpful to say the least, but adds to an already adversarial situation.

HB 3074 was heard in the House Committee on State Affairs on April 15, 2015 and left pending, but the committee is expected to move the bill this week. HB 3074 is a risky bill that does not accomplish protection from starvation or dehydration. There are circumstances in which the patient can no longer process AANH, but doctors would routinely remove or address this situation any way without legislative action. There is no need to give them more, expanded criteria under which AANH can be withdrawn against the patient’s directive.

If you want to have a say in directing your health care, including your desire to receive food and water, if you become incapacitated, now is the time for you to contact the members of the House Committee on State Affairs and ask them to amend HB 3074 so that AANH is not considered life-sustaining medical treatment. Food and water, even artificially administered food and water, are basic needs to live and to sustain life, not unreasonable, extraordinary medical treatment. Ask the committee to close the loopholes in HB 3074 that let hospital committees decide who is worthy of food and water.

My sincere hope is that adjustments to HB 3074 be made. We all have or will soon have personal experiences with loved ones facing life and death decisions; these legislative proposals do impact each and every one of us, including me. So I understand the importance of preserving the patient’s rights or his family to direct his own health care. Deuteronomy 32:39 “It is I who bring both death and life” doesn’t say “It is the Legislature...” or “It is hospital committees...” “It is I…” The Author of Life will call us and our loved ones home in His time, regardless if we are conscious, unconscious, walking, talking, and feeding ourselves or dependent on AANH. “It is I who bring BOTH death and life."

Pray, Fight, NEVER GIVE UP!


State Affairs Committee Meeting April 15, 2015
HB3074 starts at 4:40

COMMITTEE on STATE AFFAIRS Chairman Byron Cook, [email protected], (512) 463-0730 Rep. Helen Giddings, [email protected], (512) 463-0953 Rep. Tom Craddick, [email protected], (512) 463-0500 Rep. Marsha Farney, [email protected], (512) 463-0309 Rep. Jessica Farrar, [email protected], (512) 463-0620 Rep. Charlie Geren, [email protected], (512) 463-0610 Rep. Patricia Harless, [email protected], (512) 463-0496 Rep. Dan Huberty, [email protected], (512) 463-0520 Rep. John Kuempel, [email protected], (512) 463-0602 Rep. René Oliveira, [email protected], (512) 463-0640 Rep. John T. Smithee, [email protected], (512) 463-0702 Rep. Sylvester Turner, [email protected], (512) 463-0554


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