Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Michigan Bill Would Ban Medical Decisions if Adultery is Involved

Detroit Free Press Via Steve Gillard

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- A Michigan lawmaker is working on legislation that would prohibit a spouse having an affair from denying food, fluids or medical treatment to a wife or husband who cannot make such decisions.

Rep. Joel Sheltrown on Tuesday said he wants to avoid a situation similar to Terri Schiavo's.

The 41-year-old Florida woman has relied on a feeding tube to keep her alive since suffering severe brain damage in 1990. Her husband, Michael Schiavo, has fought for years to have her feeding tube removed because he said she would not want to be kept alive artificially.

The tube was disconnected Friday on the orders of a state judge, and a federal judge on Tuesday refused to order it reinserted.

Terri Schiavo's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, appealed the decision the same day to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, warning that their daughter was "fading quickly" and might die at any moment.

The Schindlers have said Michael Schiavo wants their daughter dead so he can marry his longtime girlfriend, with whom he has young children. They have begged him to divorce their daughter and let them care for her.

Sheltrown, a Democrat from West Branch, said Michigan should strengthen its protections before a similar situation happens here.

"While people, in happier times, may trust their spouses to make future medical decisions for them, situations change," Sheltrown said in a statement. "In a situation where an incapacitated patient lives at the mercy of an adulterous spouse, it is in the patient's interest to make a presumption in favor of life."

Michigan law already prohibits the denial of life-sustaining treatment, such as food and water, unless the patient has expressed that such action be taken, said Sheltrown, who expects to introduce the bill in about three weeks.

Matt Resch, spokesman for Republican House Speaker Craig DeRoche of Novi, said House leaders will review the bill when it is introduced and decide which committee to assign it.

Howard Brody, a professor at Michigan State University's Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences, said it would be irresponsible to take up legislation related to Terri Schiavo's case as it continues to develop.

Brody said the current judicial process to consider such issues is a good one.

"Who would be the person to best know Terri's wishes and who could best report to us what Terri wanted? That person might well be the person who lived with Terri day in and day out," said Brody, who added that a court has not stopped Michael Schiavo from being his wife's legal guardian.

"Who are we to say that they're wrong?"

We might as well get really Christian here and make sure we have a very very Christian definition of adulteryy.

Mt. 5:28 "But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."

Mt 5:32 "But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery."


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