Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The 10-Day Law (aka TADA) is NOT a "Dispute Resolution Process"

"Woe unto them that call evil good and good evil;
that put darkness for light and light for darkness...!" Isaiah 5:20, KJV

I keep reading statements made by those who support Texas' draconian 10-Day Law - which I have often referred to here as TADA (it is Texas Health & Safety Code Sec. 166.046 of the Texas Advance Directives Act) - as a "dispute resolution process." They describe it as if it is a give-and-take, back-and-forth dialogue between a patient and their doctor with equal consideration given to all viewpoints and an agreed upon resolution. That is NOT how it is used; that is NOT what it is by the very language of the statute itself. 

I have described how the process works as well as the Constitutional due process violations inherent in the law most recently here. In this post, I also explained TADA in great detail including why it deprives patients of their rights to due process. You can see similar posts throughout this blog. 

Nothing defenders of this law say contradicts any of this. It simply cannot be contradicted because that is literally how the law is written. That is the effect of the law. It is both facially unconstitutional and unconstitutional as applied to patients. That there is a "procedure" in place does not mean that there is due process. Due process is a particular legal term with certain requirements, e.g., the right to be heard, to have counsel, to be heard before an impartial tribunal, to appeal, etc. Not a single one of those exists in TADA. You may attend the hearing, you may or may not be allowed to speak. You have no right to speak. You are not entitled to counsel, you may be allowed it, but you have no right to it. And so forth and so on as I described in the links above.

Important for you to know is that those that describe it this way do not in any way help patients navigate the system at all. They have little to no firsthand knowledge of how this law actually works in the real world and certainly not from the patient's point of view. They don't help place patients in a new facility. They do not understand the special challenges involved in trying to save lives under these extraordinary circumstances. They do not retain lawyers to help anyone attempt to get a Temporary Restraining Order to try to get more time to transfer a patient. Again, they do not know how the system works in this context. Texas Right to Life certainly does. To a much lesser, but growing extent, so do I. So do many of us that oppose it. In fact, no one that supports it is involved in how it actually works for the patient. Keep that in mind. 

With no hint of irony, they like to claim that any media entity or anyone criticizing this law is "uninformed" or "confused" about it. I've been watching this for years. People asking these questions  are not confused or uninformed. In fact, they are digging into it. I've been asked dozens of questions in the last two weeks about it. As intellectually honest people learn more about this little known risk to their lives, they are horrified. They cannot believe that their right to life could be taken so hastily and with no recourse. 

What they actually do is work to keep this law in place and continue to deprive patients and their families of their Constitutional rights to life and due process under the law. And they ally with pro-abortion entities to keep this law in place. 

The result of all of their efforts is a continuation of involuntary passive euthanasia. Here is a reminder of why some of us call it that: 

Let me begin with a note about terminology. I've discussed this before but let me recap. Why do I refer to TADA as "involuntary passive euthanasia"? First, TADA allows a hospital to withdraw your life-sustaining care against your will; it does not require anyone to consider your thoughts on the matter at all. Thus, if it is used against you against your will, you are subjected to something that is involuntary. Second, "passive euthanasia" is distinguished from "active euthanasia." "Passive euthanasia"is death brought about by the denial of something without which you will die. It can be air (ventilators), nutrition, hydration, etc. "Active euthanasia," on the other hand, is that which Jack Kevorkian promoted - a shot or pills, etc. are administered - to directly and quickly bring about your death. TADA allows for passive, but not active euthanasia. But allowing the one sets up a slippery slope. There have already been calls to allow active euthanasia in Texas. 

The primary pro-TADA faux life group releasing press statements - in which they admit that they have only second-hand information - also claims it does not support euthanasia. Interestingly enough, it does just that by supporting this law. Indeed, it's own staffers have written in support of euthanasia (although they did not actually call it by that name, what they described is the very definition of it).

They also like to say or heavily imply that the Courts have rejected a Constitutional challenge to TADA. That is inherently, demonstrably false. I explained that here. The Courts have never addressed the merits of the law. In other words, the Courts have not said it is Constitutional. They have just not ruled on that at all. The appeal was rejected because the Court decided that the entire case became moot upon the person's (Chris Dunn's) death. That is not a correct holding and it has been appealed. The Texas Supreme Court initially rejected the Petition for Review, but a Motion for Rehearing has been filed and it has not decided that at this time. As I mentioned in that post, I am one of the attorneys on the case and I will say no more about it right now other than that. But what I have said is all a matter of public record. You can easily pull the briefs and opinions and read them yourself.

One other thing the Usual Suspects like to claim is that this law is about protecting doctors' consciences and that to continue caring for a patient is to "force the hand of the doctor." I - and many others - have repeatedly said that different doctors have different consciences and the solution here is to transfer care to another doctor or facility, but with sufficient time to do so. I have never received an answer as to why the only solution they will contemplate is killing a patient by withdrawing their life-sustaining care against their will if a person cannot be transferred in 10 days. (See, e.g., here and here.) The amount of time here is not enough. Full sets of documents cannot even usually by acquired by then. Often, much of that 10 days falls on weekends, as in the case for Tinslee. Remember, also that the Usual Suspects  still inexplicably opposed an amendment to TADA that would extend the time to transfer to 45 days. 

One would think that after the Carolyn Jones debacle, and the amount of egg on so many faces, that these types would back off at least from publicly trying to glom onto a case to attempt damage control and try to gain their own publicity without firsthand information. They really never learn. 

So there you have it: a few clarifications of some of the things you may see floating around out there. Trust the information coming from those with firsthand information about Tinslee's case, how this law works in the real world, and those who are truly pro-life from conception to natural death with no exceptions. There is only one such group in Texas: Texas Right to Life. They will be putting out updates from time to time that I will try to link here just to keep the record up-to-date, so to speak. Often times it is useful to come back and review things. 

Please keep praying for Baby Tinslee and all involved. Pray for the conversion to life of all people.

Thanks for reading! 

Update on Baby Tinslee: More Time Granted

Texas Right to Life has this update on Baby Tinslee:

Baby Tinslee Lewis, the 9-month-old at the center of a 10-day dispute with Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth, will be protected until December 10, 2019. Texas Right to Life’s lawyers and Cook Children’s agreed to extend the temporary restraining order, allowing our patient advocacy team more time to secure a transfer.  
Originally, the TRO was set to expire this Friday, November 22. 
We praise God for this extension of time, which grants Tinslee more than a month of life after the hospital was initially set to pull the plug on the baby on November 10. 
We call on Governor Greg Abbott to convene a special session to end this deadly 10-Day Rule.

Please keep praying as this process continues...for everyone involved on all sides. And, do please call the Governor and ask for a Special Session to end this law.

Thanks for reading! 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

More on Tinslee & the Law: CBS 11 DFW's Report (Wherein I'm Interviewed)

Baby Tinslee is being represented by the very best attorneys, Joseph M. Nixon and Emily Cook, who is with Texas Right to Life. But they are both in Houston. Today, the local DFW CBS affiliate called Joe and asked him for an on-camera interview. He was not able to, so I got the call to step in for him and also serve as a spokesperson for Texas Right to Life. 

The media is asking keen questions about this law and how in the world this situation can happen. That is great news! They were shocked that so few know of this law. They wanted answers as they continue to cover Tinslee's case - and to make people aware. This is the report that just aired and I think it was very well done.

The written article with video interviews are here. I was honored to be able to help explain this law and the effect it has on Texans and do my part to bring more awareness to it.

CBS 11 also interviewed Natalie Gregory of Protect Texas Fragile Kids, which has been advocating on behalf of Tinslee and children like her as well. Natalie's daughter has been on life-sustaining care to aid her breathing for many years; staring with a ventilator like Baby Tinslee. She is now five and thriving. That gives us such hope, doesn't it? All people deserve that chance.

I was grateful that in yet another context mention of a Special Session was made. Governor Abbott could help fix this by showing leadership and calling a Special Session to address this (and other issues that were not fixed during the Regular Session). The legislature could have if they had been willing. The Senate was and passed SB 2089. The House - at least certain key leadership - was not and killed the bill leaving Texans vulnerable to this law; the worst law of its kind in the nation. That wrong could be righted right now.

I pray that as people become more aware, they will demand change and that if the opposition to repealing this law cannot see the error of their ways, that at least politicians will realize that there are more voters than lobbyists. No one wants to have their life ended prematurely against their will. No reasonable person supports this.

I also pray that the law will be declared unconstitutional by the courts. However it happens, it needs to so that there are no more victims - or would-be victims - of this law!

Pray for Tinslee and all involved! Pray that a transfer can be secured.

Then please call your state representative, state senator, and Gov. Abbott and ask for a Special Session to pass the Lone Star Agenda!

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

UPDATE on Baby Tinslee: More Time Granted by Court

Make no mistake about it - your calls and emails made all the difference! Thank you! 

Texas Right to Life is reporting a victory in the Baby Tinslee case: a judge signed a Temporary Restraining Order today - on a Sunday - which bars the hospital from withdrawing her life-sustaining care until November 22. At that point, things will have to be re-visited by the judge in the case. Hopefully, she can be transferred in the interim. How this will play out ultimately, only time will tell. But Tinslee has the very best representation. Continued prayers are very much needed for all involved. 

A press conference was held today where the family, Representatives Tony Tinderholt and Tan Parker, and Rich DeOtte, a board member of TRTL, spoke. Rich explained very clearly why this law is a problem and puts families in a crisis situation unnecessarily. All were very grateful for the reprieve and very complimentary of the care Tinslee has received at Cook Children's. There is no doubt, it is a very great hospital. 

That many may disagree with a decision to use TADA does not change that. It is very likely that only a few people made the decision to use it. Given some of the reporting, I sincerely doubt there is total unanimity among all doctors and staff with regard to involuntarily passively euthanizing Tinslee. Overall, it is a great hospital. But it should not be euthanizing children - and certainly not involuntarily. Texas law should not allow this. 

Cook Children's issued a statement today saying that the baby is suffering, care should be withdrawn, that they've tried to find other facilities, etc. We've seen this before. Of course, euthanizing someone to stop suffering is the very definition of mercy killing, which is prohibited under this statute, as I mentioned previously. Whether Tinslee is suffering is hard to know and her family does not seem to agree based on their interactions with her and their belief that she needs more time.

You should also note that many have lived very long lives on similar life-sustaining care as Tinslee; e.g., Steven Hawking. And, many defeat the odds. They just need some time. Tinslee is only 9 months old. Her family is just wanting more time and a chance to find another facility. Please pray for these efforts. 

The bottom line with all of these cases remains that this is a situation that no one should be in. Texas law allows a hospital (or a few people at a hospital) to choose to euthanize someone by way of withdrawing their life-sustaining care against that person or her family's will with no due process and a mere 10 days to find an alternative facility. 

Note that Tinslee's mother received the notice on Thursday, October 31. The 10th day was today, a Sunday. That means that 4 of the 10 days were weekend days; or 40% of the time she was given to find a new facility were weekends where administrative offices are closed. The final day was a Sunday. 

You should also know that there were many miracles that occurred along the way here that allowed this TRO to happen on a Sunday. Your prayers were answered. Please keep them coming. 

TRTL and others continue to ask Governor Abbott to call a special session to fix this, among other things, that didn't get done this past session. There is a call to action in TRTL's press release to that end. They are asking that your Senator be contacted for this effort. A link is provided where you can easily do so. 

It troubles me greatly to see this law invoked so frequently. That paints doctors and hospitals in a bad light, when many (most) do not deserve that. But, the fact is, lives are on the line every time it is invoked and action must be taken. The fact is, this is involuntary passive euthanasia. The fact is, patients do not have due process rights under the law here. The fact is, this is a part of the Culture of Death that must be opposed. 

Keep the faith and keep fighting the good fight. This is not over. But today, there was a victory along the way. 

Thanks for reading! 

UPDATE on Baby Tinslee - Keep Calling, Emailing, & Praying

I posted an urgent call to action last night about Baby Tinslee - the latest intended victim of TADA. I have some updates for you and rather than update that post, I thought I'd just create a new post.

CBS11 had this news story about Tinslee last night:

About half an hour ago, Robert Montoya who is the Metroplex Bureau Correspondent for Empower Texans, reported as follows:

Not only that, Ross Kecseg, also with Empower Texans, reports in a comment to Robert's post, that Representative Tony Tinderholt, who has been at the hospital today:

That's just outrageous behavior on the part of the hospital. If the hospital has it's way, this is Tinsel's last day and they want to tell the mother whether or not she can photograph her child! I hope you're seeing a pattern emerge here.

But note this from my friend, Yvette DeOtte, who is quite plugged in here:

Let's go back to what I said last night about motivations:

NOTE: Anticipating what TADA supporters always say in defense of these things, let me nip that in the bud. There are no assertions that anyone's conscience is being pricked by continuing to care for this child. I have never heard that used in a hearing as a reason. That only ever comes up during legislative testimony by lobbyists for euthanasia and the occasional brief in court. Even were that the case, there are many, many doctors in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Other doctors who are pro-life and understand who makes what decisions would continue care for her, I am certain. 
Anticipating another thing they might say - she's suffering. Actually, that was not a given reason. Also, killing people because of suffering is the very definition of euthanasia. Yeah, it is. Mercy killing is also, ironically, prohibited by TADA. See Tex. Health & Safety Code Sec. 166.050.  
Anticipating and responding to what others have said or asked about the role of money here, let me address that as well. Doctors and hospitals always vehemently deny that money plays any role in any decision they make. In one place on social media, one lady said she called and mentioned money and the receptionist defensively said money had nothing to do with their decisions. I've been in cases where the intended TADA victim had insurance or would qualify for Medicare or Medicaid soon if given enough time. To be honest, I actually don't think money is the biggest motivator for these cases for the decision-makers. 

When I add 2 + 2 I get 4. What do you get?

If a doctor doesn't want to treat, there are clearly other doctors - at that facility - who would. More than that, if this facility wants this kid out - if she's costing them too much money or whatever - another facility will take her. With more time, additional facilities likely could be found. So, why be dead set on pulling the plug today? Why indeed.

It's not at all clear to me who is making the decision and pushing this. But it doesn't matter. The facility has made this decision. And a child's life hangs in the balance. 

Please keep calling and praying. If the voicemail is filled up - as I've been told it is - then leave messages at the main number.

Call Cook Children’s now!  Ask to speak to administrator Stan Davis and tell him to save Baby Tinslee Lewis! 682-885-4000 or stan.davis@cookchildrens.org

Thanks for reading! 

Saturday, November 9, 2019

URGENT Call to Action: TADA Is Now Being Used to Kill a Baby & YOU Can Help!

Texans, we still have a problem. And, we need you to act very quickly right now! A child's life is in imminent danger of being ended tomorrow through the use of the insidious euthanasia law ("TADA" or the "10-Day Rule" or "10-Day Law") in Texas. Please read on and contact the hospital immediately and ask them to spare her life! 

Texas Right to Life, as usual, is leading the effort to save Baby Tinslee. TRTL describes her condition and provides the contact information that you need as follows:

Baby Tinslee is a 9-month-old girl with congenital heart disease and is breathing with the assistance of a ventilator. She is sedated but conscious. Cook Children’s Fort Worth Hospital informed Tinslee’s mother, Trinity, on October 31 that they would pull the plug on her daughter against her directive in 10 days, scheduling her to die tomorrow, November 10, under the Texas 10-Day Rule.  The hospital committee cited no physical health reason for their decision to seize Tinslee’s ventilator against her mother’s will but instead cited their own “quality of life” judgments. Now, Baby Tinslee’s mother is in a race against the clock to save her daughter. Texas Right to Life provided a lawyer to defend the patient after the family contacted us for help, but the Texas 10-Day Rule legally allows this form of euthanasia.  The hospital needs to hear from you! 
Call Cook Children’s now!  Ask to speak to administrator Stan Davis and tell him to save Baby Tinslee Lewis! 682-885-4000 or stan.davis@cookchildrens.org
(Emphasis added.)

As you know, the Texas Advance Directives Act ("TADA") is still law and it allows a hospital to withdraw life-sustaining care against your will with 10 days notice. There is no due process. No appeal. No review. It is very, very difficult to get more time from a court and very difficult - usually impossible - to get a transfer to another facility in this amount of time. I wish I could tell you this is unusual. It is not. Other babies have been killed by Texas hospitals using this law. This is euthanasia! These quality of life decisions belong to the family - and only the family. 

As you will recall, there was an excellent bill, SB 2089, that would have made great strides into righting much of what is wrong with this now 20 year old law. As you will recall, it passed the Senate, but the House leadership killed it. As I see it, those who made the decisions to kill that bill as well as those who lobbied them to do so and who opposed SB 2089 - the ones I refer to as the Usual Suspects which includes the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops (all of whom flat out support euthanasia) - may soon have more blood on their hands. 

Because of these anti-life forces, right now in Fort Worth, nine month old Baby Tinslee is set to be killed tomorrow by having her life-sustaining treatment withdrawn by Cook Children's Hospital. She has congenital heart disease but is not brain dead. In fact, as you can see above in video taken just this morning she responsive even while sedated. (Again, even if she were brain dead, I could not countenance the imposition of involuntary passive euthanasia.) 

NOTE: Anticipating what TADA supporters always say in defense of these things, let me nip that in the bud. There are no assertions that anyone's conscience is being pricked by continuing to care for this child. I have never heard that used in a hearing as a reason. That only ever comes up during legislative testimony by lobbyists for euthanasia and the occasional brief in court. Even were that the case, there are many, many doctors in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Other doctors who are pro-life and understand who makes what decisions would continue care for her, I am certain.

Anticipating another thing they might say - she's suffering. Actually, that was not a given reason. Also, killing people because of suffering is the very definition of euthanasia. Yeah, it is. Mercy killing is also, ironically, prohibited by TADA. See Tex. Health & Safety Code Sec. 166.050

Anticipating and responding to what others have said or asked about the role of money here, let me address that as well. Doctors and hospitals always vehemently deny that money plays any role in any decision they make. In one place on social media, one lady said she called and mentioned money and the receptionist defensively said money had nothing to do with their decisions. I've been in cases where the intended TADA victim had insurance or would qualify for Medicare or Medicaid soon if given enough time. To be honest, I actually don't think money is the biggest motivator for these cases for the decision-makers. 

And, let me just say this - I don't care if money is the issue - you don't kill people. And let me go one step further: If you think that just because someone may be poor that they deserve to die sooner, you need to check yourself. That's a terribly elitist, eugenicist attitude to have. Only the well-to-do are deserving of life? Only the most healthy? The most educated? The most....? What other qualifications will you set? Will race or ethnicity play a role? Religion? Gender? Genetics? Where does it end? Read history. You're literally in Nazi territory there. God help you. You'd better step back and re-evaluate things. Like right now. And, yes, I've been seeing things like this on social media, including by those who love to say, "I'm 100% pro-life but...." No, honey, you're not.  

In my opinion, people decided that this child does not deserve to live because she is ill. I think it likely is a "quality of life" decision, just as they said. It's philosophical. It's eugenics plain and simple. And it's diabolical. I've heard doctors and hospital administrator-types say things like this myself in other cases. I've heard and read advocates of TADA and proponents of it say just that. And, their actions and advocacy scream it louder than any blog post or tweet could. This little baby who is ill should be put down like a dog according to them. No! No! No!

Surely, you can see how wrong this is and the long-term consequences of it. I don't care who supports it, if they were a cardinal's hat, have a Ph.D. or an M.D. or whatever else. It's just wrong. In Europe we see the next phase of this already - a duty to die. But more on that another day. 

But wrong as it may be, this is now well-established law and medical practice in Texas and beyond. You think you're safe? Think again. You're one heart attack, car accident, brain aneurism, or God only knows what away from being in this situation yourself. Or your spouse. Or your children. 

Our so-called "pro-life" Republican legislature and governor could have done something about this months ago and it would have been effective law by now. But they didn't. What does that say about them? By their fruits... 

Frankly, I think this last session made it pretty darn clear that the majority of those in the House who claim they are pro-life - and I'm being generous here - really have only a nodding acquaintance with the term. (It took quite a lot of effort to get the Senate to do the right thing, but they finally did.) By their actions and inaction, the House leadership and others deliberately killed not only SB 2089, but SB 1033, which would have stopped discriminatory abortion of the preborn (another form of eugenics). Very, very few who were not in leadership, as far as I can tell, were even working behind the scenes to try to get anything done. They've certainly been hiding from not just the pro-life organization, but other conservative orgs and the grassroots. It's all quite telling. 

And while I'm at it, I'll just say this, too. While the Texas governorship is a weak position relative to the legislature and compared to how other state governments are structured, there is room for executive leadership here. Sadly, we've seen time and again that Governor Abbott is no Governor Perry when it comes to pro-life leadership. When pro-life legislation didn't get passed in the regular session in 2012, Perry called a Special Session where it did. When a bill was moving in the session in 2012 that would have made TADA worse, he made sure that once it was dead, it was dead. Whatever other problems there may have been with Perry, he did the right thing on these life issues. I cannot say the same about his predecessor (who gave us TADA) and his successor (who won't do anything to help get rid of it). As I mentioned in my last post, I never had much confidence in Abbott. I would love for him to prove me wrong. 

But right now, Baby Tinslee and her family need your voice. Be a voice for those who cannot advocate for themselves or by themselves. Fill up the voicemail and email inbox of Stan Davis. Leave messages with the staff. Then, spend as much time in prayer tonight and tomorrow as you can for this family, the hospital staff, our "leaders", those at Texas Right to Life and who are working to advocate for this family, and for the overall state of things. That ought to keep us all busy and out of trouble.  

Follow Texas Right to Life on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date and please spread the word! 

Thanks for reading!