Louisiana, Moving Forward In Reverse

Image: (c) Gage Skidmore

Gov. Bobby Jindal Image: (c) Gage Skidmore

by GENE HOWINGTON

If the war against women’s rights concerns you, avoid Louisiana. In yet another strike against the rights of women, a bill came before Gov. Bobby Jindal this week that is truly horrifying. Of course, he is expected to sign it. Submitted by state Rep. Austin Badon (D), House Bill 1274 specified that if a woman is at least 20 weeks pregnant, the doctor must keep her on mechanical support unless her will specifically states that she wants to be taken off life support if she is pregnant. This language concerning living wills was added when the bill originally went to the State Senate as was language putting the decision power in the hands of the family (submitted by State Sen. J.P. Morrell, (D) New Orleans), but as is increasingly the case, “compromise” was required by those in the “living women have less rights than potential persons” contingent and the language about the patient’s will and family was dropped. The doctors will have to notify family members about the continuing life support, but the law is now silent on those two important matters. This is naturally an invitation to future litigation (and an example of the powers of the silence and editing). However, there is another reason this is a bad idea that may not be readily apparent on the surface.

Sure, the bill is a direct attack on women’s rights from the so-called “Pro-life” contingent but it goes far beyond simply attacking access to abortion services and into interfering with with testamentary rights in the form of advanced directives. In doing so, it not only deprives women of the right to choose their own health care but it attacks a right some would argue is even more important than choice in pregnancy: the right to die with dignity. It also puts a huge burden on the family.  Keeping a loved one on life support for the duration of a pregnancy is no cheap proposition and the fallout could be families buried under medical debt for procedures and processes taken specifically against the will of the patient and/or their family. Such prolonged care could cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Driving an already stressed family into financial ruin because some meddling half-wit pol thinks wrongly that a potential life has more rights than an existing person hardly seems just and is a perfect illustration of the oxymoron that is “compassionate conservatism”.

If all this sounds vaguely familiar, it should. Recently in Texas, a hospital refused to remove a pregnant woman (Marlise Munoz) from life support despite her husband’s wishes. She was brain dead with no hope of recovery. They eventually complied with a court order to remove life support.

We’ll see if Jindal goes forward and signs this bad piece of legislation into law, but if the past is any indication, Jindal has no problem attacking your rights in the name of currying favor with fringe electoral constituencies. From a legal perspective, this marks a new and troubling expansion in fronts in the War Against Women.

What do you think?

About Gene Howington

I write and do other stuff.
This entry was posted in Civil Liberties, Estate Law, Fundamentalism, Health Care, Hospitals, Jurisprudence, Local Government, Louisiana, Reproductive Rights. Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Louisiana, Moving Forward In Reverse

  1. Blouise says:

    ” is no cheap proposition” … makes you wonder what lobby was also at work here.

  2. I think it is no coincidence, Blouise, that Louisiana’s once unique charity hospital system (a remnant of Napoleonic tradition) has also been largely usurped by private corporations under Jindal’s stewardship. He’s a weasel. Thankfully though, he’s also too dumb and generally unlikeable to win any kind of national election. And that statement is keeping in mind that W. was a low-grade moron. Even a goodly percentage of the hardcore Republicans I know in the state hate Jindal’s guts. That’s the high quality of his weasel-ness.

    NOTE: No offense intended to weasels, martens, badgers, otters or other members of the family Mustelidae whom all perform crucial functions in the ecosystem.

  3. swarthmoremom says:

    If you are a woman of child bearing age, gay, a senior citizen that no longer has a driver’s license and wish to vote, stay out of the south.

  4. swarthmoremom says:

    Maybe the Louisiana Republican Party will add “pray away the gay” to its platform like it neighbors in Texas did.

  5. Elaine M. says:

    Gene,

    This story passed completely under my radar. Trying to keep track of all the anti-woman legislation in different states is not an easy task.

  6. bron98 says:

    they force the family to pay for something they may not want to do? Or does the state cover it?

    What allows them to do this?

    Forcing a dead woman to carry a fetus to full term is creepy but since the mother is dead and she dies without her wishes being known, can the state make the child a ward? What about the husbands rights? At 20 weeks, the child is pretty far along. It sounds to me like a back door attempt to limit abortion and define at what point that will be.

    I am not sure this is anti-woman since the woman needs to be dead for this to take effect. Keeping a mother “alive” to save the child is certainly not a bad thing, especially if we have the technology to save a life. The child at 20 weeks is still potential life and may or may not come to full term. Do we sacrifice for potential life? To do this would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, most probably from the tax payers. Is it the responsibility of the citizens to pick up the tab? I would say no, it should fall on the family if that is what they want.

    The family has the right to reject this action because they are the ones who should be paying for it if they want to keep the child viable after the mother’s death. The state shouldnt have a compelling interest one way or the other. Tax payers should not be forced to pay for this procedure.

    This law should not be implemented, not because it is against women but because it is anti-individual rights and could impose a burden on individuals who have no interest in the health of the mother or the child.

  7. Blouise says:

    Why in the world does a woman become the property of the state when pregnant?!

  8. bron98 says:

    Blouise:

    Exactly.

  9. Byron,

    Directly this is an attack on testamentary disposition, specifically living wills, but it is hard to ignore that the same forces driving it are the same forces pushing to make abortion illegal or so difficult to obtain as to be practically impossible. It’s a new front in the culture war so to speak. It is an indirect attack on women, but an attack nonetheless. “You women cannot have the testamentary power to decide your own fate if put on life support if you are pregnant” is a bullshit argument for limiting someone’s right to die under hopeless circumstance and not become a burden to their living family. It’s forcing an religious doctrine – that life begins at conception – on those who may not share that dogma as well. This bill, as they might say on the farm, is all kinda wrong.

  10. bron98 says:

    Gene:

    I would vote against this, it is wrong on many different levels. Jindal would be morally wrong to sign this bill. How would Jindal feel if we used his body to grow mushrooms after he was dead?

    I cant believe a legislator would write something like this, it is pretty bad.

  11. Blouise says:

    OT but funny as hell … Eric Cantor lost to a tea party newbie in a huge upset. Corporations spent hundreds of thousands of dollars supporting Cantor’s primary and it was all for nothing.

  12. Elaine M. says:

    Blouise,

    Poor Eric! My heart bleeds for him.

    🙂

  13. swarthmoremom says:

    David Brat ran on an anti-immigrant and fundamentalist christian platform.

  14. swarthmoremom says:

    Cantor is the only non christian republican in the entire congress.

  15. swarthmoremom says:

  16. Blouise says:

    The tea party gave us Cantor a few years ago … he was their darling but fickleness abounds and their new love is Brat. Looney Toones in VA. Corporate America got hung out to dry on this one which is about the only good thing about it all. Republicans are in big trouble.

  17. swarthmoremom says:

    http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2014/06/11/david-brats-writings-hitlers-rise-could-all-happen-again/ “The full context of his second Holocaust prognostication comes in a section about how if Christian people “had the guts to spread the word,” government would not need to “backstop every action we take.”

    He writes:

    ” Capitalism is here to stay, and we need a church model that corresponds to that reality. Read Nietzsche. Nietzsche’s diagnosis of the weak modern Christian democratic man was spot on. Jesus was a great man. Jesus said he was the Son of God. Jesus made things happen. Jesus had faith. Jesus actually made people better. Then came the Christians. What happened? What went wrong? We appear to be a bit passive. Hitler came along, and he did not meet with unified resistance. I have the sinking feeling that it could all happen again, quite easily. The church should rise up higher than Nietzsche could see and prove him wrong. We should love our neighbor so much that we actually believe in right and wrong, and do something about it. If we all did the right thing and had the guts to spread the word, we would not need the government to backstop every action we take.”

  18. swarthmoremom says:

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jun/11/david-brat-win-eric-cantor-house-majority-leader “To find the Tea Party throughline in this election cycle, you have to look past the ballot counts and toward the policies – the radicalism of which the GOP establishment refuses to recognize, much less censure: voter ID, ratcheted down abortion access, bigotry masquerading as “religious freedom”, concealed carry.

    The Tea Party’s biggest victory is best seen not as an election night upset but a continental drift rightward. Inexorable, mostly invisible, potentially disastrous.”

  19. The idiots who thought up this this POS bill are not doctors. Do they have any idea what will happen medically? First of all, the chances of a successful birth is just about zero. The fetus will either deform horribly or die. Let’s just say it is born, for the sake of argument. It is 100% likely to be badly brain damaged, or have other massive birth defects. Gestation in some areas may arrest, causing limbs and organs to fail to develop. Think the cost stops when they turn off life support? Think again. It will go on for however long the child….or something that was supposed to be a child….lives.

    Is the LA tea party going to pitch in to pay the cost of supporting this “life?”

  20. pete9999 says:

    How would Jindal feel if we used his body to grow mushrooms after he was dead?
    ===============================================

    you do what kind of mushrooms grow in bullshit?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psilocybin

  21. blouise says:

    Here’s an interesting article on Cantor’s defeat that gave me a chance to reconsider the actualities of Brat’s victory. The immigration issue did not play that big a role. This was a cross party lines movement which means Corporate Anmerica really did lose big time.

    http://www.salon.com/2014/06/11/karma_for_eric_cantor_ben_cooter_jones_on_the_open_letter_that_helped_crush_a_political_hack/

  22. swarthmoremom says:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/06/11/did-democratic-votes-doom-eric-cantor/ The voting statistics don’t indicate that there was a democratic crossover.

  23. Anonymouly Yours says:

    I think the Perryster is trying to out stoopid Louisiana. Both corporate chums.

  24. Anonymouly Yours says:

    Or chum monkeys, or chum brothers.

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