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Florida vs. Texas: Jerry Brown on the death of a 6-mo.-old child taken off life support & the Terri Shiavo Case

Florida v. Texas
The death of Sun Hudson - a 6-month-old with a fatal genetic disorder who was taken off life support against his mother's wishes in a Texas hospital last week - adds some depth to the emotional debate over the fate of Terri Schiavo. The MSM are hanging on every twist and turn in the Schiavo case, and protesters have descended on Florida to denounce what they call "murder."

Wanda Hudson, Sun's mother, also considers her son to be a victim of murder. Just as Terri Schiavo's parents believe she could emerge from her vegetative state one day, Ms. Hudson thinks Sun could have defeated the odds with more time on a respirator. President Bush, who signed a bill to allow Schiavo's parents to fight for her life, is in an awkward position on this one.

From an editorial in the Concord Monitor:

On the same day President Bush interrupted his vacation to rush to Washington to sign the Schiavo bill, a Texas hospital removed the breathing tube keeping 6-month-old Sun Hudson alive. According to the Houston Chronicle, the hospital's action, the first of its kind, was made possible by a 1999 bill signed into law by Bush, then Texas's governor.

That law allows hospitals to discontinue life-sustaining care even when doing so runs counter to the wishes of the patient's guardians. Before ending the patient's life under the law Bush signed, however, two conditions must be met. Doctors must deem that there is no chance for recovery and the patient must be unable to pay the hospital bill for continuing care.

It is almost impossible to watch the news and not see Terri Schiavo's face or hear her name. But virtually no one knew of Sun Hudson, who, thanks to another law signed by George Bush, died yesterday. A Texas bioethicist defended the hospital's decision by saying that it was not killing but "stopping pointless treatment."

Many blogs are hosting discussions on this topic - most notably Daily Kos, Sue Bob's Diary and Lean Left. The very different treatment of Terri Schiavo in Florida from that of Sun Hudson in Texas raises questions about what principles are actually driving these actions:

1) A juridical right to life

2) Marital and family values requiring deference to the appropriate family member charged with end-of-life decisions

3) State authority versus federal, congressional or judicial decision making

4) Political exploitation of fundamentalist convictions

What do you think?

The President said: "This is a complex case with serious issues, but in extraordinary circumstances like this it is wise to always err on the side of life."

I think Wanda Hudson would agree.

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