Subscribe to IFRL

Contact the Media

GoodSearch cause banner

Option Line - 24 hour Pregnancy Hotline

Illinois Federation

For Right to Life

Daily News

Monday, March 09, 2009

Doctors Can Unilaterally Decide to Push People into the Grave

I have looked more closely at the awful Idaho futile care bill, S 1114, which I first addressed earlier today. Here are two more extremely objectionable clauses that show the intent to create a duty to die for the most infirm--and expensive for which to care--among us. From section
394504A (6) of the bill:

    If an ethics committee has determined that the requested treatment is medically inappropriate or futile, but the patient is later readmitted to the health care facility within six (6) months following such ethics committee determination, the attending physician may rely on the prior ethics committee determination and withhold or withdraw treatment consistent with the prior ethics committee determination if the attending physician and one (1) physician member of the ethics committee determine that the patient's condition either has not improved or has deteriorated since the prior ethics committee determination and that the prior ethics committee determination still applies to the patient's condition, and they document their conclusion in the medical chart.

Thank about that! If a patient survived five or six months post ethics committee meeting declaring futility, doesn't it prove the committee was wrong?

But don't worry: The due-process-of-law-denying ethics committee process itself is a sham: It isn't even mandatory:

    (8) The ethics committee review as provided in this section shall be purely voluntary. Nothing in this chapter shall require a health care facility to establish or utilize an ethics committee, nor shall this chapter require a health care provider or surrogate decision maker to submit a matter to the ethics committee before withdrawing or withholding health care to a patient.

I guess that means the doctor has the right to just say no based on his or her own biases regarding the "quality" of a patient's life!

Doctors should not have the right to decide whose life is worth living. As German physician Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland stated back in 1806, which I quoted in Forced Exit:

    It is not up to [the doctor] is happy or unhappy, worthwhile or not, and should he incorporate these perspectives into his trade...the doctor could well become the most dangerous person in the state.

That was true then, and it is true now. We give physicians the literal power over life and death at each of our perils.

Contact: Wesley J. Smith
Source: Secondhand Smoke Blog
Source URL:
Publish Date: March 9, 2009
Link to this article:


The IFRL is the largest grassroots pro-life organization in Illinois. A non-profit organization, that serves as the state coordinating body for local pro-life chapters representing thousands of Illinois citizens working to restore respect for all human life in our society. The IFRL is composed of people of different political persuasions, various faiths and diverse economic, social and ethnic backgrounds. Since 1973 the Illinois Federation for Right to Life has been working to end abortion and restore legal protection to those members of the human family who are threatened by abortion, infanticide and euthanasia. Diverse though we are, we hold one common belief - that every human being has an inalienable right to life that is precious and must be protected. IFRL is dedicated to restoring the right to life to the unborn, and protection for the disabled and the elderly.   Click here to learn more about the IFRL.

Bookmark and Share