Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Post-Schiavo Legislation?

See this AP dispatch:

Congress is turning to more traditional means to help protect the rights of the incapacitated after failing in its efforts to intervene in the Terri Schiavo case by staging emergency midnight votes and summoning the brain-damaged woman to testify.

* * *

Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, an advocate for the disabled, is working on a bill to provide for additional federal court review in cases where the wishes of the incapacitated person are not known and there is a dispute among family members.

Harkin's spokeswoman, Allison Dobson, said the senator is talking to legal experts and members of the disability community and wanted to make sure that his bill would respect the advance directives of patients and would apply to a limited number of circumstances.

Andrew Imparato, president of the American Association of People with Disabilities, said he was pleased that Harkin, one of the more liberal senators, might work with conservatives such as Sens. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., and Mel Martinez, R-Fla., to come up with legislation that would be acceptable across the political spectrum.

Imparato said their hope was that "we can set aside the politics of the culture of life and abortion, and focus on the implications for people with disabilities."


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