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Sunday, February 20, 2011

The sad story of Joseph Maraachli

Joseph, a severely disabled Canadian infant, will die in a hospital next week. A judge recently ordered that his life support be removed. The events are reminiscent of the Terri Schiavo saga both in the diagnosis-- persistent vegetative state-- and the intense media interest.

But unlike Terri's case, no one is trying to keep Joseph alive. All parties agree that his condition is terminal. The dispute is about where he will die. Joseph's family wanted a tracheotomy performed on him, so that he could leave the hospital and die peacefully at home. The family was able to do this when Joseph's older sibling suffered from a similar condition. This time, however, the hopsital refused to do a tracheotomy. It's apparently easier for the hospital to just take him off life support.

The judge's ruling in favor of the hospital means that Joseph's last days will not be spent at home. All appeals have been exhausted, and the family is devastated. The removal of life support is scheduled for tomorrow morning; the decision was made on Thursday, but the judge wanted to give the family time to say goodbye to their little boy.

Again, this is not a scenario where anyone's life could have been saved. But it's an important case for pro-lifers to consider in a broader sense. Here is a family that just wanted to make sure that their baby's final days were spent in comfort. They did not have that choice. And yet, the choice to end the life of an unborn baby, by dismembering him or her alive in an abortion, is protected and hailed as a responsible "parenting decision."

What a messed-up world we live in.

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