I'm happy to let you know that I've been asked by the UTD Pro-Life Mavericks to give a talk on involuntary passive euthanasia provision that is part of the Texas Advance Directives Act and an update on Baby Tinslee's case (what I can say publicly, that is).
I'll be there on Monday, February 3, 2020, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. The talk will be in "The Commons" at 440 West Nedderman Drive, Arlington, Texas 76013. There is a parking garage nearby at 804 UTA Blvd.
As you know, I admire Wesley J. Smith a great deal. (He's quoted in the side panel as well.) He is a world-renowned bioethicist (as in, he is a real ethicist; you know, one with actual ethics). I've written here about him coming to Texas as recently as last spring to testify on a bill, SB 2089, which I covered extensively, which would have prevented this mess we're in with Baby Tinslee (and helped and saved so many others in Texas, now and in the future).
He just posted an article that very clearly and succinctly boils down the issues here - and let's make no mistake - the issues are the same no matter who the patient is, what their diagnoses, prognoses, or any other particular may be.
Please pay attention to this point: The patient is not refused care that is failing. No, the treatment is withdrawn because itis working keeping the patient alive — when continued life is precisely what the doctors/bioethicists don’t want. In other words, strangers have the ultimate power to decidethis most intimate of decisions instead of patients and families.
(Emphasis by Smith.)
This is the critical point in every case I've been involved in. He made this same point in his testimony last spring. You can read his written testimony in its entirety or watch his oral testimony. Now, think about the implications of this in general. Read the entire article. It's short and to the point.
Let’s assume that both parents and doctors are all acting in good faith and want the best for Tinslee. The bottom line here is who should have the final say in making such a crucial and ultimate decision? Parents who love their baby and have to be presumed — absent proof — that they have their child’s best interests at heart, or doctors/bioethicists who believe that their “quality of life” beliefs should trump even the decisions of parents?
I vote parents. The Texas law should be overturned in this appeal or repealed by the Texas Legislature — as I have testified in support of previously.
We agree, Mr. Smith. We agree.
Please keep praying for all involved in this case and the overall issues at stake here which go well beyond this case.
There is great interest in this case for obvious reasons. Your right to determine your medical care, your rights as a parent, and even your right to live is at stake. Section 166.046 of the Texas Health & Safety Code, part of the Texas Advance Directives Act ("TADA"), is not a dispute resolution process. It is far from it.
We’re going to go to the end – not just for her but for you. For every patient in every Texas hospital, this fight needs to be resolved favorably. Not just for Trinity and Tinslee, but for you and your family as well.
For her part, when asked what her greatest fear was, Trinity said:
I’m not going to say my biggest fear is losing her because I know that everybody has to pass away, but my fear is them pulling the without me… being able to make that decision for her.
Those of us who fight TADA are often accused of "not getting it" and of "not knowing when to let go." Those are not the words of a mother who does not "get it" or "know when to let go." Listen to the rest of the press conference and the hope that there is for this child.
Regarding the press conference, I posted this about it on social media:
Trinity, Tinslee's mother, along with her advocates and legal counsel (one of them anyway, 😉), just set the record straight. The audio is a little hard to hear, but you can make it out and this is the entire press conference. [NOTE: The video embedded here is a good version, easy to hear.]
As I've indicated, things have not been accurately portrayed. Until now, we've remained quiet about it and worked as hard as we could behind the scenes on the legal and transfer issues. (Let me tell you, this has been hard for me in particular. As a pro-life activist and blogger, I like the record being clear and public, but that is not always appropriate once litigation starts and I'm involved as an attorney. So for those that have been asking me questions I cannot answer, this is why.)
But some things needed to be made public today - by the family and their lead attorney - not through the press releases and conferences held by Cook, which does not have the permission of Trinity to discuss Tinslee's case publicly (although it has, repeatedly). Listen to this carefully.
An important highlight here is that Tinslee is a candidate for other procedures to treat her underlying conditions and other facilities if she had a trach. Cook has refused to trach her even before it invoked the statute to remove her life-sustaining care against Trinity's wishes. (I understand that well before invoking the statute; it initially offered to do it then rescinded that offer almost immediately.) Efforts are ongoing - on our part - to find a doctor who will come here to do that. This child is not terminal, nor is she - as Cook has repeatedly said even under oath in court - "hopeless." Our people have talked to physicians who have said this time and again - she is not hopeless or terminal, but does need a trach to make progress toward other things. There is more, so please listen to the entire thing.
Now, please pray as those of us working on this case do our parts as well as we can to get this child transferred and fight this unconstitutional statute. As Attorney Joe Nixon said, this is not just for Tinslee but for all of you. As Trinity said, she wants to be the one to make the decisions for her child - as you should for you and your family.
Here is the press release from PTFK:
So, that's where things are and what I can say publicly for now, except to add two things: First, the only ones with access to firsthand information and authority to discuss Tinslee's medical condition in any detail are Tinslee's legal team, especially Joe Nixon, Texas Right to Life, and Protect TX Fragile Kids (which is working on finding placement for Tinslee, among other things). Such information from any other "source" will not have firsthand information and/or authority to discuss the medical details of the case. Remember, there are HIPAA laws to protect unauthorized use and sharing of private medical information. Those are taken seriously.
Second, in the press conference Joe Nixon gave an update on the status of the appeal, on which I am working as well, so I will not say more than that. Public filings are available here. He also mentioned the Dunn appeal.
Please do continue praying for all involved - and I mean everyone involved. In Orthodoxy, we are constantly reminded that we must pray for everyone, including especially those with whom we disagree or...worse. It is a good lesson for us all and one I work very hard to adhere to myself.
Pray also for others who may be or are in the crosshairs of TADA. Yes, there are others. It seems there are always others.