Human Exceptionalism

Good: Delaware Didn’t “Learn the Lesson” of Schiavo

The Delaware House of Representatives has passed a resolution in support of protecting the life of Loren Richardson, who like Terri Schiavo before her, is the subject of a bitter court fight over removing her feeding tube. The resolution states:

This Resolution establishes protections for mentally disabled individuals in the State of Delaware. The impetus for this Resolution comes from the case of Lauren Richardson, a 24-year-old Delaware woman who, after suffering brain injuries and impaired consciousness, now faces the possible removal of her nutrition and hydration, despite the absence of her clearly specified and legal consent to any such a course of action. The State of Delaware has, through recent legislation prompted by the abuses at the Delaware Psychiatric Center, endeavored to protect the rights of mentally disabled patients in the First State. Lauren, as a mentally disabled person, is enumerated those same protection and rights.

Too many of us dismiss people like Lauren–and I am not referring here to her mother who wants treatment stopped–as “vegetables” (a word that should not be used as it is as demeaning and dehumanizing as the odious N-word), “brain dead” (as the Orlando Sentinel unrepentantly did for so long regarding Terri), or other such denigration. Meanwhile, some bioethicists look longingly at these people as “living cadavers” who can be harvested for their organs or used in medical experimentation.

Good for the Delaware Assembly for not shrinking from such demagoguery.