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Girl's end-of-life case could haunt Romney (Haleigh Poutre)
Politico ^ | 9/22/11 | Glenn Thrush

Posted on 09/23/2011 5:20:37 AM PDT by wagglebee

During the CNN Republican debate in June, Mitt Romney — pressed on his switch from pro-choice to pro-life by Rick Santorum- declared: "I believe in the sanctity of life from the very beginning until the very end."

Romney has spent much of the last two presidential campaigns defending his evolving positions on abortion. But his stance on end-of-life issues, another perennial hot-button issue with the party's conservative base, has been far less scrutinized.

But Romney does have a history on the issue, and a controversial one at that. In 2005, aides to then-Massachusetts Gov. Romney pressed vigorously in court for a pull-the-plug order on a severely-beaten 11-year-old girl who appeared to be brain dead, only to rescind the request when the child unexpectedly emerged from a vegetative coma.

In late 2005, with the GOP fight over Terri Schiavo still fresh in the mind of party conservatives, Romney's social service department, presented with a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don't scenario, petitioned the state's Supreme Court to remove life support for young Haleigh Poutre, who was sadistically, horrifically abused by her adoptive mother and stepfather for months.

When doctors examined the girl's brain stem, they were shocked to find it had sheared - an injury most often associated with high-speed car crashes.

In Sept. 2008, officials with Romney's Department of Social Services - admitting they ignored numerous signs the girl was being battered over a period of months — obtained custody of Haleigh, determined that the had "no possibility of regaining a meaningful existence" due to the extent of her brain damage, and began to consider judicial end-of-life options including removal of life support and feeding.

Haleigh's jailed stepfather, possibly trying to dodge murder charges if he was able to keep the child alive, objected; The girl's birth mother and another close relative supported the state's request to obtain a "do not resuscitate" order.

On Jan. 16, 2008, the state's highest court sided with Romney's DSS and gave permission for the removal of a respirator and feeding tube.

But a day after the decision, Haleigh regained consciousness and began responding to simple commands, to the astonishment of doctors at Baystate hospital in Springfield.

A few days later, Romney, who had remained mum on the case up until that point, was pressed by reporters to articulate a broader position on end-of-life, but demurred, telling them:

"My concern is with this young girl and her current status," he told the Boston Globe. "In light of reported improvements in her medical condition, it should be clear to everyone that no action should be taken to end this girl's life."

In the months that followed, Romney tapped a three-member panel to examine the Poutre case and offer recommendations. Their findings: Errors were made by caseworkers and state officials, in the future, would seek outside medical advice and conduct more thorough physical examinations prior to proceeding with any end-of-life requests of people in their care.

Romney implemented the suggestions and told reporters, "The process of deciding to remove life support for a child In state custody has been inadequate," adding, "We must implement a far more comprehensive and robust process."

But he didn't embrace several reforms proposed by right to life groups and the Schiavo family, including more stringent benchmarks for ceasing life-giving care and greater transparency for judicial proceedings involving such cases.

"We do not think the Massachusetts Department of Social Services, under Governor Romney, acted properly by going to the courts to seek permission to remove Haleigh's food and water (via feeding tube) and breathing machine," Schiavo's brother Bobby Schindler, executive director of Terri's Life & Hope Network, a Florida non-profit, wrote in an email to POLITICO Thursday.

"Romney's campaign presents him with a prime opportunity to clarify his positions on crucial life issues. We hope Mitt Romney was encouraged by Haleigh's recovery and will vow to respect the dignity of all life, regardless of disability," he added.

A Romney spokeswoman declined to outline the former governor's overall philosophy on end-of-life cases but said, "Gov. Romney criticized the state's handling of the case, ordered an investigation and put in place safeguards to prevent it from happening again. His actions speak for themselves."

Andrea Saul, the spokeswoman, added: "Gov. Romney was the one who ordered an immediate investigation of Haleigh's case. He appointed a panel to review the entire case history. Once the panel completed their investigation, Gov. Romney ordered implementation of all of their recommended changes for future cases. These include requiring DSS to obtain a second opinion from a physician outside the institution where the child is being treated before any decision can be made on withholding life sustaining treatment as well as a requirement that DSS obtain more detailed medical information from the doctors in the case."

Haleigh Poutre is still recovering at a Catholic rehabilitation center from her injuries and new reports indicate that she has spoken with caregivers about the circumstances of her beating.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: euthanasia; haleighpoutre; mittromney; moralabsolutes; prolife; romney; romneybringsdeath; romneycare; romneydeathpanels; romneyindifference; romneytruthfile; santorum; slickmitt
Romney was fully prepared to stand by and do nothing while an innocent victim of a crime was murdered by the state.
1 posted on 09/23/2011 5:20:41 AM PDT by wagglebee
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To: cgk; Coleus; cpforlife.org; narses; Salvation; 8mmMauser
Pro-Life Ping
2 posted on 09/23/2011 5:22:07 AM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: BykrBayb; floriduh voter; Lesforlife; Sun
Ping
3 posted on 09/23/2011 5:22:41 AM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: 185JHP; 230FMJ; AKA Elena; Albion Wilde; Aleighanne; Alexander Rubin; Amos the Prophet; ...
Moral Absolutes Ping!

Freepmail wagglebee to subscribe or unsubscribe from the moral absolutes ping list.

FreeRepublic moral absolutes keyword search
[ Add keyword moral absolutes to flag FR articles to this ping list ]


4 posted on 09/23/2011 5:23:33 AM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: wagglebee
aides to then-Massachusetts Gov. Romney pressed vigorously in court for a pull-the-plug order

I don't understand why government staffers would do this.

More generally, the problem with Romney is not so much what he says, but that you can't believe him. It's possible that he could explain a dramatic conversion event, as some of the former abortion-business workers have done, that would convincingly display a personal commitment to protecting human life.

However, to the best of my knowledge, he has not done this.

5 posted on 09/23/2011 5:24:39 AM PDT by Tax-chick ( "It is my job to be rational, and I have no doubt at all that I have that power--sometimes.")
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To: Tax-chick
It's possible that he could explain a dramatic conversion event, as some of the former abortion-business workers have done, that would convincingly display a personal commitment to protecting human life.

Myth's "conversion" to pro-life directly coincided with his decision to run for president four years ago. It was a claim he made for expediency and nothing else.

As you mentioned, there have been plenty of abortionists who have converted to pro-life; however, they have always spoken of some catharsis that occurred.

6 posted on 09/23/2011 5:34:35 AM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: Tax-chick

Imho, he is obsessed with becoming president. If he is going to run as a Republican, it’s a benefit to him to proclaim himself to be pro-life.


7 posted on 09/23/2011 5:38:29 AM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: wagglebee

Say it loud and clear. Romney is no friend of people who actually care about lives of the innocent.


8 posted on 09/23/2011 5:44:19 AM PDT by freeangel ( (free speech is only good until someone else doesn't like it)
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To: wagglebee; trisham
... it’s a benefit to him to proclaim himself to be pro-life ... and pro-defense, pro-business, pro-Second Amendment, etc.

Will voters buy it? Personally, I doubt it. I think that as soon as voting starts, Mitt and his pretty hair will be toast.

9 posted on 09/23/2011 5:46:13 AM PDT by Tax-chick ( "It is my job to be rational, and I have no doubt at all that I have that power--sometimes.")
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To: wagglebee

Willard the RINO is Wrong on Sanctity of Life, Wrong on the 2nd Ammendment, and Wrong on Health Care.....that’s 3 Strikes Willard! Back to the dugout!


10 posted on 09/23/2011 5:48:43 AM PDT by 230FMJ (...from my cold, dead, fingers.)
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To: wagglebee

None of the changes Romney implemented would prevent disabled people being euthanized as they intended to do to Haleigh Poutre. He made procedural changes that allow social workers to have more complete records and more control over a situation, but he didn’t offer any protections to the lives of vulnerable people. It was all feel-good measures that allowed Romney to speechify about his version of hope and change, without actually improving the lives of the victims.


11 posted on 09/23/2011 5:49:09 AM PDT by BykrBayb (Somewhere, my flower is there. ~ Þ)
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To: xzins
Ping
12 posted on 09/23/2011 5:50:33 AM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: wagglebee
Dear God...

*snip*

"On Jan. 16, 2008, the state's highest court sided with Romney's DSS and gave permission for the removal of a respirator and feeding tube.

But a day after the decision, Haleigh regained consciousness and began responding to simple commands, to the astonishment of doctors at Baystate hospital in Springfield."

*snip*

"My concern is with this young girl and her current status," he told the Boston Globe. "In light of reported improvements in her medical condition, it should be clear to everyone that no action should be taken to end this girl's life."

********************************************

Well DUH!

This is breathtaking!

13 posted on 09/23/2011 5:51:01 AM PDT by Irenic
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To: Tax-chick

Only liberals are that easily fooled, and not many liberals will vote for a politician with an “R” behind his name.


14 posted on 09/23/2011 5:52:13 AM PDT by BykrBayb (Somewhere, my flower is there. ~ Þ)
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To: Tax-chick

Imho, he can’t possibly win in the south. Anyone who is supporting him is blind to that fact. I can’t see anyone who is or was in the military voting for him, either.


15 posted on 09/23/2011 5:52:40 AM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: Irenic; Tax-chick; trisham; BykrBayb
Yep, Mitt was fully behind killing Haleigh because she was unconscious, the only reason he decided she should live is because she regained consciousness.
16 posted on 09/23/2011 5:54:46 AM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: Irenic
His position was that she was dead, but then her condition improved, so everyone should agree not to kill her. Oh yeah, that's presidential material. LOL
17 posted on 09/23/2011 5:58:52 AM PDT by BykrBayb (Somewhere, my flower is there. ~ Þ)
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To: wagglebee
I recently read about a study which revealed some people tend to believe dead people are more aware than cognitively disabled people. " My grandpa in heaven wants me to stay healthy, but a vegetative patient doesn’t want anything. PVS traps the mind, but death liberates it." We routinely see variations on that argument, as justification for killing people like Haleigh Poutre, Terri Schiavo, and our own parents.
18 posted on 09/23/2011 6:11:28 AM PDT by BykrBayb (Somewhere, my flower is there. ~ Þ)
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To: BykrBayb

That’s interesting. I wonder who offered that as a rationalization? It sounds like something Peter Singer might say.


19 posted on 09/23/2011 6:43:16 AM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: wagglebee

“In Sept. 2008, officials with Romney’s Department of Social Services - admitting they ignored numerous signs the girl was being battered over a period of months — obtained custody of Haleigh, determined that the had “no possibility of regaining a meaningful existence” due to the extent of her brain damage, and began to consider judicial end-of-life options including removal of life support and feeding.”

This is the first I have heard of this.

No concern for her meaningful existence when she was being battered. So the DSS only wanted to take custody when it was necessary for them to kill her. Guess they didn’t want the competition.


20 posted on 09/23/2011 7:21:04 AM PDT by Apogee
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To: Apogee
We had a few big threads on Haleigh a few years ago:

Haleigh Poutre Almost Victim of Euthanasia, Now Making Good Progress

Girl Once Comatose and Scheduled for Euthanasia Will Testify against Attacker

21 posted on 09/23/2011 7:45:51 AM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: wagglebee

This is the first I’ve heard of this. I’m a bit of a Noob. Thank you for keeping us all informed.

May God bless you.


22 posted on 09/23/2011 8:35:05 AM PDT by surroundedbyblue (Live the message of Fatima - pray & do penance!)
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To: wagglebee; 230FMJ; Apogee; freeangel; Irenic; surroundedbyblue; Tax-chick; trisham

Ping to those who have commented here. If you know of anyone else who should see this, please ping them.

Wesley Smith weighs in on this at http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/secondhandsmoke/2011/09/23/dehydrating-brain-injured-people-to-death-still-an-important-political-issue . He includes a video of Haleigh that everyone must see. She’s such a sweet little girl. I hope she’s doing well these days.


23 posted on 09/23/2011 12:34:47 PM PDT by BykrBayb (Somewhere, my flower is there. ~ Þ)
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To: BykrBayb

Thank you.


24 posted on 09/23/2011 1:49:09 PM PDT by Apogee
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To: wagglebee; All

When are the Republican presidential candidates going to start criticizing Romney on ANYTHING? There’s a lot to criticize him about.


25 posted on 09/23/2011 9:01:04 PM PDT by Sun (Pray that God sends us good leaders. Please say a prayer now.)
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To: All
Pinged from Terri Dailies


26 posted on 09/25/2011 12:41:56 PM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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