Mark Kleiman has a must-read post on the appalling hypocrisy revealed by the conservative movement’s reaction to l’affaire Schiavo:
Sun Hudson, a six-month-old boy with a fatal congenital disease, died Thursday after a Texas hospital, over his mother’s objections, withdrew his feeding tube. The child was apparently certain to die, but was conscious. The hospital simply decided that it had better things to do than keeping the child alive, and the Texas courts upheld that decision after the penniless mother failed, during the 10-day window provided for by Texas law, to find another institution willing to take the child .
Where, I would ask, is the outrage? In particular, where is the outrage from those like Tom DeLay, who referred to the withdrawal of Terry Schiavo’s life support as “murder”? If it’s appropriate to Federalize the Schiavo case, what about the people being terminated simply because their cases are hopeless and their bank accounts empty?
Sun Hudson is dead, but 68-year-old Spiro Nikolouzos is still alive, thanks to an emergency appeals court order issued yesterday. However, his life support could be cut off at any moment. A nursing home is willing to take him if his family can show that he will be covered by Medicaid after his Medicare runs out. Otherwise, the hospital gets to pull the plug.
It seems worth noting at this point that the overwhelming majority of the Republican caucus voted last week to cut Medicaid benefits. Like the cowards that they are, no specific cuts were on the table, rather they wanted to force Governors to undertake unspecified cuts. We do know, however, what Medicaid spends the bulk of its money on — long-term care for ailing elderly and disabled people — so we know what would have been cut. Nor do the handful of Republicans whose defections blocked the cuts in the Senate deserve one iota of credit. They, too, voted for the steep tax cuts that will make Medicaid cuts necessary. And of course the sort of situations under discussion here are the direct result of a law that George W. Bush himself signed.
For a bit more, gird your stomach and then read Digby.
Republicans acknowledged that the intervention was a departure from their usual support for states’ rights. But they said their views about the sanctity life trumped their views about federalism.
An unsigned one-page memo, distributed to Republican senators, said the debate over Schiavo would appeal to the party’s base, or core, supporters. The memo singled out Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), who is up for reelection next year and is potentially vulnerable in a state President Bush won last year.
“This is an important moral issue and the pro-life base will be excited that the Senate is debating this important issue,” said the memo, which was reported by ABC News and later given to The Washington Post. “This is a great political issue, because Senator Nelson of Florida has already refused to become a cosponsor and this is a tough issue for Democrats.”