I heard on MSNBC the other day that there is talk of changing laws to allow parents to have rights over (or at least equal to) spouses with regard to dying children. I think it would be terrible to allow parents to supercede the bond (both legal and emotional) that comes with marriage.
Now, we’re not talking about when a spouse tries to kill his partner or something equally sinister. I’m talking about cases such as the circus being played out in Pinellas Park, FL. Should a parent be granted rights over that of the spouse?
This might not be the worst idea I’ve ever head, but it comes close.
My wife knows me a whole lot more than my parents do. Heck, my parents still like to think that I’m Catholic, even though I’m a very ‘out’ atheist. My wife knows my wishes in the event that I become incapacitated- and that’s how it should be. Even if something were to happen in our marriage, and we becam divorced, I’d still trust her to make the call if I were not remarried.
Parents do, on the whole, do what they believe to be in their children’s best interests…but parents can be capable of an incredible amount of self-delusion when it comes to their kids.
People don’t get to pick their parents. They do get to pick their spouses. With a law like this, you could end up with parents that have been estraged from their children for years coming back to throw a wrench in the process.
Yes. And this self-delusion seems to increase as the child gets older, moves out, and basically begins a whole new life which does not include the parent on a daily basis. Even not-estranged parents lose touch with the person their child has become, simply because they don’t hang out as much. I’m pretty close with my mother, but a lot closer with my husband.
So yeah, I think these proposed laws are horrible.
Actually, it gets worse – Charles Krauthammer, among other conservative insta-pundits, has proposed “Terri’s Law,” which would allow “granting authority … to whatever first-degree relative (even if in the minority) chooses life and is committed to support it.”
So it doesn’t even have to be a parent overruling the spouse; it could be a very concerned and life-affirming sibling overruling the spouse, the parents, and the 47 other family members who agree that there’s no point in prolonging the inevitable.
But then, Krauthammer has always been a bit of a :wally , so this is hardly a surprise.
You’re kidding? That would be hell for me! My brother would have a say in this? Shoot, he’d totally go with what my sister-in-law suggests. That would really suck for me.
I can see it now, I’m forced to remain alive for years surrounded by my sis-in-law’s country kitsch decor and cross stitch hangings that say “Angels Walk Amoung Us.” Some Clear Channel country station would be playing in the background. The TV would be on to the latest Lifetime movie. In December I’d be dressed in Christmas sweaters! I’d have a perm!
Well, you have to admire the consistency of the Neopharisees. Seems like only yesterday the gay people here and their supporters were bitching because they didn’t have the same right to have their beloved spouse make the life-or-death decisions that straight couples did. So now they’re removing that right from the straight couples too.
6 months ago I would have bet my left kidney that a Republican held Congress would never have gotten involved in something like this. Either it’s a good thing I never had anyone take me up on it, or there are aspects of the function of Congress I’m missing. Any help in that regard would be good to have.
Living wills, people. Living wills. And make them free so everyone can file one. Of course, Congress is filled with lawyers, and they know what lawyers will do even with a living will. I don’t think this will ever be figured out. (There will be laws made. But nobody will get it right. One side will want to hobble the other’s idea and they’ll all fuck it up.)
Whoa… so that’s it for “so Man shall leave his father and his mother and cleave with Woman and they shall become one flesh” ? That’s seriously ate up. But it doesn’t surprise me. Too many people do seem to indeed believe that marriage is just a license to have sex w/o getting smote by God.
I already have my living will, complete with my “pull the plug orders”. My attorney also told me that while it should prevent any future problems, there is never any guarantee of anything. Laws do change. Like, what if Those Who Know What Is Best For Me decide to change the law, negating the “don’t make me a vegetable” clause. Get the living will. Make it as blunt and immune to “interpretation” as you possibly can. Then just cross your fingers and hope.
A couple of friends of mine, a father and his son, are Jewish. One of the other kids became a born-again Christian and has nothing to do with his family other than trying to convert them. The idea that this person should have control over his family is either terrifying or ridiculous, depending on how close to reality it is.
As for living wills, I told a friend of mine about a clause I intend to have inserted into mine saying no politician shall be allowed any say in the matter. He suggested one further codicil: anyone who overrides the wishes expressed in the living will is to be held personally responsible for all medical expenses incurred as a result. I doubt it’ll hold up in court, but it’s worth a shot and they can’t say I didn’t make my wishes clear.
Yes, but for every such example, there is an example of a couple that is on the verge of divorce, they argue every day and hate each other’s guts.
The idea that one of these spouses will have the final say on whether their spouse lives or dies is also terrifying and ridiculous.
50% of marriages end in divorce. What % of people become estranged from their parents?
Maybe the solution would be for each person to have a designated person to make such decisions for them. If you never designate anyone, the default person will be your spouse. But, if you are having serious problems with your spouse and don’t trust them anymore, you can legally designate someone else (maybe a parent, maybe even a friend)
I am reasonably certain there are already answers for all of this (with the caveat IANAL).
If a family member believes that your spouse is not acting in your best interests/counter to your desires they may take the spouse to court and try to prove it. If the court agrees they may well strip the spouse of their authority over your you. The difference with the Schindler’s/Schiavo was that the Schindlers went to court over and over and over again trying every tactic in the book. I think generally people have one or two goes at a remedy like this and then give up if the court keeps telling them it is not buying their argument. Certainly 25+ court cases would seem to be at the extreme.
By default your spouse SHOULD get the right to make decisions on yoru behalf. While some may be on the outs and not have your best interests at heart then too so might you not be on good terms with your family. The law has to land somewhere and with the spouse is the right place. As of right now I would trust my ex-wife to make decisions for me before my parents and I get along with my parents. My ex simply knows me MUCH better. I would appoint most of my friends in this regard as well before my parents.
All of that said I do believe legal mechanisms exist to change the person who makes decisions for you away from your spouse if you so wish. Here’s a link for a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care for the state of Michigan. With that I think you can say who it is YOU want making decisions for you. Of course, this may well change state-to-state and its overall legal effectiveness I cannot speak to (as usual consult an attorney who does know) but it does seem you can try to set this up the way you would like and others then have the uphill battle of trying to get it removed if they see the need.