“And Saul was consenting to his death” (Acts 8:1)
(Once again, a woman who wants to live is being forcibly euthanized by Texas hospitals, contrary to her family’s wishes. Carolyn Jones’ family has found three facilities which would continue to give her care, but Texas has a hideous rule: if a hospital gives a patient 10 days notice that they are going to terminate care, they can kill them whatever the patient or family thinks – and even if a new care facility has agreed to take the patient but the transfer has not been completed. Even more hideously, the ironically named Texas Alliance for Life (TAL) supports this rule. Most hideously of all, the Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops (TCCB) supports it, too. I have thought for some time that, ironically, the Texas Bishops, as a group, are the most faithless in the country. I have sometimes been comforted by Tyler Bishop Joseph Strickland’s plain speech on the scandals rocking the Church. Yet the scandals of the Vatican and of the upper levels of the hierarchy in America are something he has limited influence over. He could have great influence in stopping this law or, at least, getting the Bishops to stop standing by, like Saul, consenting to innocent death. Try as I might, though, I can find no bold public statement from him – or any other Texas Bishop, save Corpus Christi Bishop Emeritus Rene Gracida, speaking out against the law or the TCCB’s hideous defiance of Catholic Doctrine in supporting it. The biggest organization to support Jones and others is Texas Right to Life (TRTL). I am awfully glad that someone is doing the work that Bishops in Texas refuse to do. (disclosure – I am an intermittent consultant to TRTL)
Yesterday, Memorial Herman Southwest Hospital in Houston pulled Carolyn Jones off of her ventilator, refusing to allow arrangements that have already been made to transfer her to another hospital (which is willing to give her care) to interfere with their forced euthanasia. At this writing, she has refused to die like a good, little victim, so the hospital vows to refuse her dialysis today. Rumors that they are in search of a heavy pillow for tomorrow in case today’s outrage does not work cannot be confirmed.
For those of you who count on the tender mercies of the state to defend your most basic rights, know that this is all legal according to Texas Law. For those of you who think the Church will reliably stand with the vulnerable and defenseless, again, the TCCB supports this pro-forced euthanasia law. Our Lord commands us to care for the sick. I don’t think that command means to forcibly euthanize them, even passively by withdrawing basic care, when they have become too much of a bother. There are some who, in seeking to preserve influence in this world, are excommunicating themselves from the Church Triumphant, however approving authorities of the Church Militant might look on. Below, I have reprinted this emergency piece by Kassi Marks, a Texas lawyer who has fought this atrocity with vigor and fortitude.
Bottom line, I love Texas. But try not to get sick there, for if a hospital decides it is time for you to die, your odds of survival are much worse than if you were on death row in prison.
(Update – The Texas Senate has today (May 14) voted 22-9 to change the time allotted for transfer to 45 days. The bill now goes to the Texas House, which has two more weeks to pass the bill. If they do, once it is signed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, it would become law. This is a great incremental leap forward. Sadly, it comes too late to help Carolyn Jones, but it would save a lot of other people from being involuntarily euthanized by those who are supposed to care for them.-CJ)
By Kassi Marks
Many of us have talked and written about Mrs. Jones, the conscious woman who Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston decided they just did not want to treat anymore; not that her care was ineffective or harming her more than benefitting her. Well, today is the 10th day and as they said they would, they withdrew her ventilator. Not only that, if she is not dead by tomorrow, they will withdraw her dialysis.
Emily Kebodeaux Cook, of Texas Right to Life, has been trying to help the family. Unfortunately, Mrs. Jones could not be transferred in time and there were financial hurdles. The new news outlet, The Texan, covered the story again today in more detail.
Just a bit ago, Emily posted this update:
This would not be legal if SB 2089 was passed. It will not save Mrs. Jones, but it could stop this in the future. There is very little time left in this session. I’ve heard that today might be the last day the Senate can vote on the bill, but I’ve also seen indications that we might have another day or two, but I’d not count on that. I do know that time is of the essence.
If the Senate does not pass it immediately, then the House cannot take it up. SB 2089 will die. Opponents are wanting this bill as dead as Mrs. Jones is going to be when Memorial Hermann is finished withdrawing her life-sustaining treatment. This must end. This session.
I also know that very few people actually call their Congressmen to voice their opinions about things. So when people do, they assume that there are even more of that viewpoint. The net result is that your one call or email count vastly more than your one vote come election time.
The phones and inboxes of our Texas Senators need to be flooded with calls and emails right this second. You can send an email easily using this form and it will go to your proper senator.
The forces that oppose SB 2089 are in full swing and, frankly, more disgusting than ever in their support of involuntary passive euthanasia. They are claiming that patients will actually lose rights under SB 2089.
What rights would those be that are lost by SB 2089 which just patients them more than 10 days to find a facility and requires treatment until they can be transferred? That is the only interpretation of this that makes sense – if you have to oppose SB 2089 to “protect patient” rights – then logically, they are claiming rights are lost. That is not true. That is a lie.
Patients have no due process rights now under current law! I’ve talked about this many times.
Some are claiming that this bill will harm patients at the end of life:
I ask that you do the opposite of what TAL says – that you to call Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick at that number and tell him to do the pro-life thing, stop euthanasia, and SUPPORT SB 2089.
The Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops are claiming:
Remember, these are patients who want their care continued, such as Chris Dunn and Mrs. Jones. Some are unable to speak for themselves but their families are in the best position to know what they would want. (TAL is run by a Catholic and the TCCB and Catholic Health Association (another opponent of SB 2089 as I’ve written before) are presumably Catholic or run by or advised by Catholics. Read up on the Principle of Subsidiarity. I’ve written about it here, here, and here.) Remember, Sec. 166.046 overrides your Advance Directive and any Medical Power of Attorney you may have given someone. They don’t have to listen to you. If you’re in an 046 situation, they are not intending to or you’d not be in this quagmire. There is no one better able to decide what is in your best interest and what you would want than your family. And, no, contrary to what many of these opponents to SB 2089/proponents of the current involuntary passive euthanasia law say, these patients are not all in the situation where the patient is being harmed by the continued care. I discussed those scenarios before (see the footnote and the link in the footnote). That’s not what we’re talking about. But in the majority of these cases, the care is not being withdrawn because it is not working or harmful, but because it is working and those in authority don’t think the life is worth living; they’ve made a quality of life determination for you or your loved one. That’s not their job.
Here’s one more point I’m not sure I’ve made on this blog but I had this discussion on Facebook with the below-mentioned particularly vocal proponent of current law and a doctor’s right to decide whether you live or die and when. She made the same claim that the TCCB is – that the care will go on indefinitely. That’s just not true as a matter of logic and science…and common sense. What I said then was:
Sometimes transfer takes time and is difficult. Many of these patients are going to die with their life-sustaining treatment in place as their underlying conditions overtake them. The families understand that and just don’t want the deaths hastened by imposing involuntary passive euthanasia on them. Thus, the care is not indefinite. Many will eventually be transferred especially if obstacles are cleared. Some will actually recover to a point where it’s not needed.
Currently, this very reasonable bill is trying to be killed by those who simply think they should decide when you live or die. They support euthanasia and have supported existing law in legal briefs before court. Don’t buy what they say now.
One particularly vocal involuntary passive euthanasia activist who claims the mantle of pro-life asserts that getting two days’ notice, being able to attend the hearing, and being about “to go to court” are rights under current law. That there are a few things provided in the procedure do not make them due process rights. A family gets to sit there and be told what’s going to happen to their loved one against their will that ultimately is the withdrawal of their life-sustaining care which will thereby hasten their death. Those aren’t rights. That is certainly not due process which requires sufficient notice, the right tot be heard (attending is not being heard), the right to representation (I know for a fact that attorneys and patient advocates have been prevented from attending medical ethics hearings), the right to a tribunal free of conflicts of interest (that cannot occur as a matter of fact when all the board members are employees of the hospital or otherwise connected with it), the right to appeal (the right to go to court is to beg for a few more days within that limited 10 days requiring evidence you may not yet have; that’s not really going to court to address the merits and receive a review of what happened), etc. Due process is a specifically defined term under the law as I mentioned in the post linked above.
This is serious. Every one of us will end up in the hospital one day or have a loved one there with some serious illness or injury. How can anyone not relate to this and not want someone with this mentality calling the shots about pulling their plugs? I just still can’t understand it.
Remember, all of the alleged concerns of the opponents of SB 2089 and those who justify TADA – including the conscience rights for doctors – can be addressed in ways other than killing the patient that someone no longer wants to treat. They refuse to see this. They are dangerous. This law is dangerous. It is not pro-life, it is euthanasia in Texas. And once euthanasia begins, it expands. Remember what I talked about last time.
There is simply no way to justify this or characterize it as anything other than involuntary passive euthanasia.
Please pray for the Jones Family. Pray for Texas Right to Life and everyone there working to get SB 2089 passed, including its author Sen. Bryan Hughes. Please pray that those who oppose SB 2089, support TADA, and thereby support involuntary passive euthanasia are converted. Pray for the Senate including your Senator by name, even if you think they will not pass this. Pray anyway. Pray for Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick that he will assert his influence as the leader of the Senate to move this legislation. Pray for its passage. Pray for the House to take it up and pass it. Pray for Gov. Abbott to sign it into law. Pray for the Culture of Life and its success. Pray that the Culture of Death be beaten back and defeated. Pray without ceasing.
Thanks for reading!
P.S. Incidentally, at least one well-positioned Catholic has taken to criticizing me for calling out the TCCB now that I’m not a Catholic anymore. (I’ve chosen not to post the screenshots here.) As you know, I publicly announced my conversion to Russian Orthodoxy in December. What I did not write then was that I did so in part because I anticipated just such a “response” to my advocacy. In fact, this person at least at one point was a board member of the organization I expected such an “attack” to come from. The response was a poor attempt at an ad hominem (a logical fallacy) and an example of the error of clericalism and the bandwagon fallacy, which, as you know, I’ve written about before in this context.
To state the obvious: I do not have to be a Catholic to call out Catholic clerics for creating yet another scandal for faithful Catholics to endure as they promote euthanasia. (I have many Catholic friends. Not a single one of them supports TADA or the Bishops on this. A number of them aren’t certain they will remain Catholic as they’ve had more than anyone should have to endure of scandals, including this one. They do not like this either. They are just not all called to say so publicly. But the idea that everyone does as the Bishops say on this matter is completely incorrect. The Catholics I know are fully aware of their moral obligation to understand what the RCC teaches and apply it correctly to each context. They have done the proper analysis and reached the same conclusion I did – SIX YEARS AGO – when I was still a Catholic who thought that the Bishops might right the ship on this (among other things).)
To put it another way: Do we have to be abortionists to oppose abortion and call out other abortion proponents and abortionists? Do you see how illogical this is?
A Christian or pro-life justification for TADA cannot be found. (And, by the way, none was offered here, except that the Bishops are right.) We simply don’t involuntarily passively euthanize people. We just don’t. We don’t treat humans like animals. It’s dehumanizing. It’s immoral. It’s unethical. It’s unconstitutional. And, as I said in December, I’ll call out any person or group that does this. My religion has nothing to do with it except that it has taught me right from wrong and a consistent life ethic that I have chosen to take into the Public Square. But I know others who argue from a secular position, as I do from time to time as well, and we are just as correct from that standpoint. All life has value. All life should be protected.
We err, if we are to err at all, on the side of life. Always.