Responses - Declarations / DPA / Advance Directives / Talking Points

How to Obtain an Advance Medical Directive

There are 3 different pro-life advance directives available.

In contrast to most “Living Wills”, all 3 pro-life alternatives state that food and water are to be provided (by feeding tube if necessary) unless death is imminent and the person’s body is unable to assimilate nourishment at that point.

(There is nothing to fear about a feeding tube; it is a simple device that has been in use for more than 100 years. The liquid food, such as Ensure, is common and inexpensive…

No one wants a feeding tube, just as no one wants dentures, but if you are hungry, you would probably gratefully accept aid in receiving food. Sometimes a feeding tube is inserted, not because the patient can’t swallow, but because it is more convenient for the caregivers than feeding by mouth.)

Here are the pro-life advance directives:

The Will to Live
National Right to Life Committee
512 10th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20004
202.626.8800
http://www.nrlc.org/euthanasia/willtolive/index.html

Protective Medical Decisions Document (PMDD)
International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide
P.O. Box 760
Steubenville OH 43952
800.958.5678
http://www.internationaltaskforce.org/adneeds.htm

The Loving Will
American Life League, Inc.
P.O. Box 1350
Stafford VA 22555
540.659.4171
http://www.all.org/issues/index.htm (click “End of Life Care”)

Unfortunately, the laws of all but 10 states may allow doctors and hospitals to disregard advance directives when they call for treatment, food, or fluids, according to a report issued by the National Right to Life Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics, on 15 April 2005.

Dorothy Timbs, J.D., Legislative Counsel for the Powell Center said, “It is important to fill out an advance directive like the Will to Live available on our website, to make you wish not to be denied food or treatment clear. However, it is equally important to work for legal reform so that your choice for life will be honored.”

Minnesota and Florida are among the 10 states that essentially protect patients’ directives for life-preserving measures in situations where the health care provider disagrees.

To see the full report and to check the status of your state’s laws, contact National Right to Life, or visit: http://www.nrlc.org/euthanasia/willtolife/statestatutereport.pdf.
[Pro-Life Action News, 6/2005]

 

All states have statutes allowing Advance Medical Directives.

Copies of the document(s) approved in your state can be obtained through an attorney. You do not have to hire an attorney in order to sign these legal documents.

Not everyone is comfortable with the standard Advance Medical Directive language provided in a state statute.

For individuals who want to ensure their advance directive reflects a pro-life/anti-euthanasia position, we recommend a document created by the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide. This document, entitled the “Protective Medical Decisions Document” (PMDD), defines and prohibits euthanasia, as well as stating that “ordinary nursing and medical care and pain relief appropriate to your condition be provided.”

The PMDD is a general Durable Power of Attorney which allows the signer to name a trusted family member or friend to make medical decisions in the event the signer is incapacitated for any reason, not just terminal illness. The PMDD may be used in any state and may be attached to the advance directive form(s) approved by your state legislature.

For copies, contact:
International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide
P.O. Box 760
Steubenville, OH 43952
Or telephone (740) 282-3810
Web: www.internationaltaskforce.org

A suggested donation of $8 is requested to cover shipping and handling.

This fact sheet is intended as general information and does not constitute legal or medical advice. For professional counsel, please contact an attorney or physician. State laws vary regarding the legality and particular details of Advance Medical Directives.

[[email protected]; Focus on the Family; 21Aug02]