The pro-life legal watchdog, the Thomas More Law Center, slammed the Kentucky Supreme Court’s decision on August 26 to grant authority to the state of Kentucky to end the life of an innocent ward of the state.
The center explained in a press release that Matthew Woods, a mildly retarded black man, suffered a cardiac arrest at the age of 54 and was placed on a ventilator. He was in an unconscious state. Three weeks later the state requested permission to remove his life support, contrary to the wishes of Woods’ guardian ad litem (beside the bed), who challenged the request.
Woods died of natural causes during the litigation process, however, the Court agreed to rule on the legality of the state’s request because of the legal questions involved.
Based on the Kentucky Living Will Directive Act, the Kentucky District Court, Circuit Court, and Court of Appeals approved the request.
During his life, Woods had never stated in any way whether he wanted life-supporting measures removed,.
The Thomas More Law Center and cooperating attorney Robert Cetrulo submitted an amicus brief to the Kentucky Supreme Court, urging the Court to apply Kentucky’s guardianship for disabled persons statute, which would prohibit the state from authorizing the removal of a ward’s life support without his consent.
A majority of the Kentucky Supreme Court disagreed with the Law Center’s position, however, and determined that the “Kentucky Living Will Directive Act” constitutionally permits the Commonwealth to authorize the withdrawal of life-sustaining medical treatment from an incompetent ward of the state without any evidence of the ward’s desires regarding such treatment.
“This decision is another step down the slippery slope toward a culture of death where the government decides which lives are worthy to be lived,” commented Richard Thompson, Chief Counsel for the Thomas More Law Center, “Kentucky should protect the welfare and rights of all of its citizens, especially those who are most vulnerable. The state Supreme Court has now declared that the lives of some of its citizens are not worthy of protection.”
Justice Wintersheimer and Justice Stumbo agreed with the Thomas More Law Center’s position and strongly dissented from that of the other justices: “It is deeply disappointing that this Court would decide to allow an agency of this State to end the life of a totally innocent ward of that very same State,” read their statement. “It is even more shameful to realize that the State would seek to terminate the innocent human life of a person entrusted to its care and protection.”
“Today, this case involves a mentally deficient ward of the State. Who knows whom it will involve in the future? Only by making the mistaken assumption that it could never happen, the power of the State has been unleashed to kill its own citizens,” warned Justice Wintersheimer.