Sunday, March 20, 2005

George W. Bush and His Vegetative-state Bill

Now which bill would that be? The one in 1999 or the one in 2005? Back in 1999, when George W. Bush was governor of Texas he signed a bill that gave Texas hospitals the right to pull the plug on brain-dead patients who can’t pay their hospital bills. But today, midst media hoopla and ranting and raving about life being sacred, George W. Bush has rushed back to Washington, DC from his ranch in Crawford, TX to sign a bill to force a Florida hospital to reinsert a feeding tube into Terri Schiavo who is in a “persistant vegetative-state”--brain-dead. According to the New York Times today, Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council (one of the groups demanding that Congress act to save Schiavo’s life) said, "Today it's Terri, tomorrow it's another disabled person. We've tolerated abortion in this country for the last 30 years, and now we're talking about eliminating those who cannot speak for themselves." No. Today we’re talking about life being sacred for people whose hospital bills are paid. Tomorrow when another indigent, disabled person goes into a vegetative state and can’t pay his hospital bill, George W. Bush says it’s okay to pull the plug. In Crawford, TX, White House press secretary, Scott McClellan, said, regarding George Bush rushing back to DC to sign the bill to keep Schiavo alive, "Everyone recognizes that time is important here. This is about defending life." No. This is about defending the life of a woman whose hospital bills get paid. The man who rushed pell-mell from Texas to Washington, DC in order to enact a bill to save Schiavo’s life, enacted legislation to permit St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital in Houston TX to terminate Spiro Nikolouzos’s life because Nikolouzos is poor. At one and the same time, the family of Terri Schiavo in Florida, and the family of Spiro Nikolouzos in Texas are fighting to save the life of a family member who is brain dead. George Bush says Schiavo must live because her hospital bills are being paid, but Nikolouzos life can be terminated because his Medicare funding is running out. That paragon of morality who has been charged with unethical behavior, Texas Republican and House Majority Leader Tom Delay said, “We should investigate every avenue before we take the life of a living human being. That is the very least we can do." Wrong. If Tom DeLay is so hipped on life being sacred, the least he could have done is to raise a stink when the Governor of his state, George W. Bush, enacted legislation to allow indigent brain-dead people to die when they can't pay their hospital bills. Tom DeLay who has been pushing for an intervention for Terri Schiavo did nothing to fight for the lives of people like Spiro Nikolouzos who can't pay their hospital bills. So let’s stop all this gnashing of teeth and GOP political nonsense about life being sacred. It could not be more clear. The GOP says: YOUR LIFE IS SACRED IF YOU CAN PAY YOUR HOSPITAL BILLS, IF NOT, DIE AND GOOD RIDDANCE!

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