A spokesman for the Diocese of Fort Worth told CNA Jan. 3 that the bishop's offer of assistance had been passed to the Lewis family by Cook Children's, and that "a representative of the family has contacted the Diocese."
For its part, the hospital said it "has been devoted to this precious baby her entire life, providing compassionate, round-the-clock, intensive care and attention since she arrived at our hospital 11months ago. Her body is tired. She is suffering. It's time to end this cycle because, tragically, none of these efforts will ever make her better."
The hospital also noted that it had contacted "more than 20, well-respected healthcare facilities and specialists over the course of several months, but even the highest level of medical expertise cannot correct conditions as severe as Tinslee's."
Trinity Lewis stated, "I am heartbroken over today's decision because the judge basically said Tinslee's life is NOT worth living. I feel frustrated because anyone in that courtroom would want more time just like I do if Tinslee were their baby. I hope that we can keep fighting through an appeal to protect Tinslee. She deserves the right to live."
Trinity Lewis had also asked that the '10-day rule' be found unconstitutional by the court.
She is being supported by Texas Right to Life, which said that "the ruling not only disregarded the Constitution, but also sentenced an innocent 11-month-old baby to death like a criminal. The 10-Day Rule has robbed countless patients of their Right to Life and right to due process. We pray the appellate court will identify how the law violates Baby Tinslee's due process rights, revoke her death sentence, and strike down the deadly 10-Day Rule."
Not all pro-life groups agree with Texas Right to Life's assessment.
Texas Alliance for Life, another pro-life organization, noted that the case centers on the dispute resolution process in TADA.
"We don't see how [Marion] could have ruled any other way. As we have stated previously, Texas Alliance for Life supports TADA. It is good public policy, it is constitutional, and it provides a balance between the patient's autonomy and the physician's conscience protection rights to do no harm."
Texas Alliance for Life, along with the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops and several other pro-life groups, disability advocates, and medical groups, submitted an amicus curiae brief in the case Dec. 11 stating that TADA "helps achieve their essential objectives" and arguing for its constitutionality.
The brief noted that the Texas bishops' conference "generally supports the framework" of the act "as a balanced dispute resolution process that respects patient dignity and healthcare provider conscience," while also supporting "continued legislative improvements to the act."
The brief concludes by saying that "through the Texas Advanced Directives Act, the Legislature has provided families and physicians with a framework for resolving difficult end-of-life decisions. This design includes a safe harbor encouraging physicians and medical institutions to provide multiple layers of review, culminating in a period of time for families to secure a transfer to another medical facility, during which life-sustaining intervention will continue to be provided. The amici believe that the framework created by TADA is essential and constitutional."
Disagreement over end-of-life reform is among the three criteria on the basis of which the Texas bishops' conference urged parishes in March 2018 not to participate in the activities of Texas Right to Life.
The bishops said they "have been compelled to publicly correct Texas Right to Life's misstatements on end-of-life care and advance directives, in which Texas Right to Life implied that the legislation the bishops were supporting allowed euthanasia and death panels rather than the reality that the legislation reflected the long-standing Church teaching requiring a balance of patient autonomy and the physician conscience protection."
In its Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, the US bishops' conference notes regarding the seriously ill and dying that "we have a duty to preserve our life and to use it for the glory of God, but the duty to preserve life is not absolute, for we may reject life-prolonging procedures that are insufficiently beneficial or excessively burdensome."
The directives state that "a person has a moral obligation to use ordinary or proportionate means of preserving his or her life. Proportionate means are those that in the judgment of the patient offer a reasonable hope of benefit and do not entail an excessive burden or impose excessive expense on the family or the community," and that "a person may forgo extraordinary or disproportionate means of preserving life."
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"Disproportionate means are those that in the patient's judgment do not offer a reasonable hope of benefit or entail an excessive burden, or impose excessive expense on the family or the community."
Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton released a joint statement Jan. 2, after the temporary injunction was denied, saying that "the state will continue to support Ms. Lewis's exhaustion of all legal options to ensure that Tinslee is given every chance at life."
"The Attorney General's office is involved in the ongoing litigation, fighting to see that due process and the right to life are fully respected by Texas law. The Attorney General's office will be supporting an appeal of this case to the Second Court of Appeals. The State of Texas is fully prepared to continue its support of Ms. Lewis in the Supreme Court if necessary. We are working diligently to do all we can to ensure that Tinslee and her family are provided the care and support that they seek."
Carl Bunderson is managing editor of Catholic News Agency. He holds a BA in economics from the University of Colorado Boulder and a BPhil from the Pontifical Lateran University.