Support for life, politics and money

The case of Terri Schiavo is absolutely heartbreaking. Here is a woman who is existing in an irreversible vegetative state, and her fate is being fought over by her husband and her family.

But while the discontinuing of life support for Schiavo is the top of the news around the country, the fate of Sun Hudson is not.

Last week, the six-month-old Texas boy was taken off life support, breathed his last few breaths, and died in his mother's arms.

In this situation, the mother, Wanda Hudson, did not want her son taken off life support. She fought to have his life extended, and was devastated that the hospital ended Sun's life.

Wanda Hudson's problem is that she didn't have the money or connections to engage in the kind of high-profile political battle that Schiavo's parents did.

She also had to deal with a Texas law that allows the withdrawal of life support from terminally ill patients, even against the wishes of the family, if they don't have money to pay for the care.

Ironically, this law was created with the signature of then-Gov. George W. Bush, who made an emergency trip back to Washington this weekend to sign a bill to help restore life support to Schiavo.

Congressman Tom Delay called the removal of Schiavo's feeding tube "medical terrorism." But what would the congressman from Texas say about Sun Hudson? Wanda Hudson would like to know.

And this is just the beginning of the hypocrisy running through the Schiavo case.

The decision to remove Schiavo's feeding tube was not a spur-of-the-moment decision. At last count, 19 judges have heard this case, and scores of doctors and medical experts have weighed in. This is one of the most examined medical cases in recent history. And in what they thought was the end, the courts decided that Schiavo should be allowed to die.

Schiavo's parents, having failed in the courts, were understandably desperate for a better strategy. They transformed their daughter's case into an abortion issue. This wasn't about the right to die, but a way to demonstrate the principles of the pro-life movement. The family enlisted the services of Randall Terry, the controversial founder of Operation Rescue, to help in the battle.

That transformation got the attention of Florida Republicans and Gov. Jeb Bush, who tried and failed to override the courts.

And despite their stated philosophies of states' rights and keeping government out of private matters, the Republicans in Congress jumped on board. There is nothing like an unfolding drama with a dying woman to spur action. They passed a bill that covers only Schiavo, no one else. In other words, Schiavo is worth saving, but yanking the tubes out of poor babies in Texas is just fine. This is special-interest legislation of the worse kind.

It doesn't matter which side of this issue you stand on. This stinks of political opportunism, at the expense of Schiavo's husband, Michael. He warned that if Congress can barge into his private family affairs, it can do the same to any American.

How would you like it if Congress weighed in on the hardest decision you would ever have to face?

For the Schiavo family, this is a case where there are no winners. But Republicans are trying to make it a winner for them.

And for that, we should all be disgusted.

Kirk Caraway is Internet Editor for the Nevada Appeal and His email address is


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