New Law Prevents Discrimination
Updated: Sep 18, 2018
By Debbie Pease
If you are like me, you watched in horror last year as the plight of UK babies Alfie Evans and Charlie Gard played out in the media. Both children had rare disorders that caused the medical establishment to give up on their treatment. Their parents fought valiantly to save their children, even receiving offers of help from President Trump and Pope Francis. These offers of help were denied by the medical professionals and judges who made the decisions to end treatment on these children over the protests of their parents. Sadly, both children died amid a media frenzy. I had no idea that similar cases were happening in the United States until I went to a workshop at the National Right to Life Convention that featured Sheryl Crosier, whose own baby, Simon, lost a similar battle in the state of Missouri. Simon had a diagnosis of Trisomy 18. At age three months old, Simon’s oxygen saturation levels began to plummet. His parents asked what could be done and were told “nothing” by the medical staff. Later, they learned that a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order was in Simon’s chart – something that was never discussed with either parent. After Simon’s death, his parents reviewed his chart and found not only had the DNR been placed in his chart with out their knowledge or consent, but there was an order in Simon’s chart that he receive only “comfort feeds” which are not adequate for growth or development. He had also been given medications incompatible with his apnea. The Crosiers were outraged at the way their son had been treated and resolved to do something to protect other families. The Crosiers learned that they were not alone. In the award-winning 2014 documentary “Labeled” they learned of many children with chromosomal disorders who were denied life saving treatment. They learned that children with Trisomy 18, Trisomy 13, and other related genetic disorders are commonly labeled as “incompatible with life.” As a result, children with these conditions usually have DNR orders placed in their charts without the consent of their parents. After beginning the legislative battle in their home state of Missouri without success, Kansans for Life championed their cause and helped them achieve victory when Kansas Governor, Sam Brownback signed Simon’s Law on April 17, 2017. The law mandates: 1) Parents receive both written and verbal notification before a Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR) is placed in a child’s medical file. Parents can then allow the order or refute it orally or in writing. Court access for disputes is delineated and the child remains safe during resolution. 2) Parents and prospective patients of any age have the right to request and receive hospital policies concerning “denial of life-saving care” (sometimes referred to as medical futility policies). There is no mandate that hospitals have such policies. Others are now looking at their laws to see if vulnerable patients are protected from unilateral DNR orders, or if they could benefit from a version of Simon’s Law. You can learn more about this issue at simonismyname.com.
South Dakota Life Facts
South Dakota is Ranked 6th most pro-life according to AUL
22 pieces of pro-life legislation passed within the last eight years
472 abortions performed in SD in 2016, one of the lowest per capita rate in the US