This is disgusting on so many levels

by Sal on November 6, 2005

in Culture,Judicial Watch

The Boston Globe has a story today about a young 11 year-old girl, Haleigh Poutre, who is on a breathing machine and a feeding tube. Her step-father is accused of nearly beating her to death, and her brain is likely permanently damaged. What has happened, however, is that the state has taken legal custody of the child from her step-father, and now intends to end her life by removing the feeding tube and breathing machines so that they can proceed to bring murder charges against her step-father. Her step-father is launching a legal battle to keep her alive.

This is not the same as Terri Schiavo, who was alert and only required nutrition. Young Haleigh requires a machine to help her to breath, and her brainstem is severed. A reasonable person could argue that to end her life by removing the machinery that sustains her would be morally permissible (not the deprivation of food, of course).

But what disturbs me here is that the state is the one charged with deciding her fate. The biggest problem with that is that the state has a conflict of interest. In order to bring murder charges against Haleigh’s step-father, they need to end her life. Her step-father, on the other hand, has a selfish interest in keeping her alive, to avoid murder charges. On the other hand, he has not been convicted of any crime to this date, and may very well be innocent of the charges (in our justice system, he is presumed so). If that is the case, not allowing him the choice is irreversible, and morally repugnant.

There is enough disgust to go around in this case. Who should decide Haleigh’s fate? I don’t have the answer to that question, but I am hesitant to turn that power over to the state under any circumstances.

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Haleigh Poutre, Miracle Child, and the Sanctity of Life | Axis of Right
November 20, 2008 at 12:58 pm

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