A Line in the Sand on Life.

Author:Rosenberger, Peter
Position:MIND & BODY - Hawaii's Our Choice Our Care Act

FROM ONE GEOGRAPHICAL EXTREME to another, U.S. state assemblies have strode into the viability and quality of life issue in groundbreaking ways. Starting with Hawaii's Our Choice Our Care Act launched Jan. 1, medically-assisted death marched closer to being considered "normal." Before the month was out, New York legislators applauded the new freedom extended to the state allowing late term abortions via the Reproductive Health Act.

A common thread weaves through the move by these states. An ambiguity--an arbitrary line in the sand, if you will--presents itself through both actions regarding viability. Hawaii allows patients deemed to die within six months to end their life with medical assistance. Yet, why six months? What group decided that six months is the cut off for a life to possess meaning rather than, say, seven months and 13 days?

In New York, the health of the mother is a factor. A Virginia legislator already introduced the dialogue of health applying to mental health. New York allows nonphysicians to perform abortions. Will those nonphysicians assume responsibility for evaluating the mental health of the mother?

These and other unsettling questions indicate a rush to an agenda rather than to medical reality. If government can designate life as "qualified to terminate" if less than six months remain, when will they adjust that line? If a child is deemed unable to exist outside the womb without care at eight months and 28 days, can that line be moved to nine months? What about 10 months?

The Governor of Virginia, a pediatric neurologist no less, already has pushed the line that New York codified during a radio interview: "If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen: the infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that's what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother."

The Governor later backpedaled that this only would be done with infants with extenuating circumstances, such as severe deformities. The Governor did not offer who or what committee decides which deformities served as a life worthy or not. In addition, one cannot help but notice that the Governor used the word infant--not product of conception, tissue, or fetus.

The lines have been drawn, erased, and drawn again, as an undisguised agenda emerges. Clearly, politicians desire entrance into the who lives/who dies conversation...

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