Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Life for Lauren

Sometimes I forget to make the mental leap of writing about things on my blog that I have written about on message boards. It just occurred to me that while I had written about Lauren Richardson on Cbabes, I hadn't done so here.

Lauren is at the center of another end of life battle like Terri Schiavo, except in this case the sides fighting are her parents. Lauren's mother would like to remove the feeding tube, and Lauren's father would like to take care of her and try to rehabilitate her. This article from the Delaware News Journal on January 31st gives an overview of the case.

There was at one time a youtube video up showing Lauren's interaction with people, but it has since taken down. The court has ordered Lauren's Father, Randy Richardson, to refrain from posting any video of his daughter. He said, "The lawyer ... is more interested in preserving my daughter's right to privacy than protecting her life". This doesn't surprise me one bit. The wheels always seem to turn in the direction of death. Why should the public be able to see the condition of a woman about to starved to death?

The Diocese of Wilmington has released a statement supporting Lauren's right to life. For that I am glad, I always felt that the church did not stand up enough for Terri Schiavo.

Diocese of Wilmington statement on Lauren Richardson

It has been reported in the Wilmington News Journal that a Delaware court gave guardianship of Lauren Richardson to her mother for the stated purpose of removing her feeding tube to end her life. Lauren is a 23-year-old woman who is disabled with significant brain damage following the tragic loss of oxygen to her brain. Because of her condition, Lauren cannot feed herself and needs a feeding tube in order to live. It is reported that Lauren is in a stable condition, appears to be physically comfortable and is not suffering from any special burdens from the feeding tube. Her father holds out hope that Lauren’s condition will improve with proper therapy, but even in the absence of any recovery he is committed to caring for her.

Over her father’s objection, and although her needs were being taken care of, the court concluded that her mother should have custody so her feeding tube could be removed. Unless the custody decision is reversed, or her mother changes her mind, this court order spells death for Lauren because removing her feeding tube will cause her to die of dehydration and starvation within days after their removal.

We understand her mother’s grief over Lauren’s illness, and we have no doubt that she is trying to do what she thinks is best for her. Situations such as this are extremely difficult and heart-wrenching for family members. They deserve our concern and solicitude. But euthanasia, starvation and dehydration are never right for anyone. Nor are they an entirely private matter. Society has a vested interest in actions that cause the deaths of other humans, and, as a society we need to cherish the gift of life, every life, and not find reasons to cause death.

The Catholic Diocese of Wilmington strongly supports Lauren’s right to life and opposes any actions taken to end it. The Catholic Diocese affirms the Right to Life of every human person, regardless of disability, age or level of cognitive ability.

The removal of life-sustaining care from patients such as Lauren with the intent to end their lives is, according to our shared moral sense, a form of euthanasia and is a fundamental violation of Lauren’s human rights. Disabled patients like Lauren who cannot assert their own rights are in special need of our community’s loving concern and solicitude for their wellbeing. Lauren deserves medical care and treatment and should not have life sustaining food and water taken away from her.

Bishop Saltarelli asks for prayers for Lauren and all of the members of her family. He is praying that this decision will be reversed, Lauren’s right to life will be protected and that our courts will respect the fundamental natural right to life of all persons from conception until natural death.

Wesley J. Smith has had a few good recent posts about Lauren, here and here. As well as a post from The Passionate Pro-Lifer.

No comments:

About Me

My photo
Catholic and politically conservative, I graduated with a BA in History (concentration in American) and Political Science. I'm between two parishes; one in Wisconsin that is fairly traditional, and one in Illinois that is fairly liberal. I teach CCD. I work in the food service industry, which basically means I'm working in fast food until I find a better job. I'd like to work for the church somehow. Right now I'm working on getting my teaching certification, although I'm unsure thats the correct path for me. This blog is as random as I am. I hope you enjoy.