March 5, 2014 | by Texas Catholic Conference
Continued misrepresentations about the Advanced Directives bill from the 83rd Texas Legislature have prompted the Texas bishops to issue a letter correcting the specifics of the reforms and how they comport with Catholic moral teachings. The bi-partisan legislation (H.B. 1444 and S.B. 303) endorsed by the Texas Catholic Conference would have protected the lives of patients, respected the wishes of families, and safeguarded the consciences of medical providers at the end of life. It was a tremendous improvement over existing law, which fails to protect life by allowing unilateral Do Not Attempt Resuscitation orders for patient's without notice, permits withholding of nutrition and hydration to hasten death, and discriminates against the disabled when deciding to end treatment. The reform bill endorsed by the bishops prohibited withholding of food or water, required patients and families be notified of their rights to reject DNARs, and provided a clear, balanced procedure for resolving disputes between doctors and families.