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Schiavo case prompts Missouri legislation

March 31, 2005
By: Tim Carnahan
State Capital Bureau
Links: SB547

The struggle over Terri Shiavo's death today has lead two Missouri legislators to propose laws giving Missouri power to award custody of patients, or even take over patient care. Tim Carnahan has more from the state Capitol.

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OutCue: SOC

The two bills would affect custody and control over the care of patients unable to make medical decisions.

One, offered earlier in March by Saint Louis County Republican Senator John Louden earlier in March, would allow the state to assign custody of patients in a persistent vegetative state -- who do not have a living will --- to whomever is willing to continue care.

Senator Louden says it's an issue of maintaining life.

Actuality:LDNLFE1
RunTime: 17secs
OutCue: "...let's err on the side of life."
Contents: "In this case you have people arguably loving on both sides in a death struggle. So, what I would do, my legislation would say, hey look, if one side steps forward and wants to preserve the life then let's err on the side of life."

Senate Democrat Chuck Graham expressed concerns that under Louden's bill anyone could take over care, regardless of their relationship to the patient.

The second bill, offered hours after Schiavo's death by O'Fallon Republican Representative Cynthia Davis, would require the state to continue caring for patients who do not have living wills and no one taking responsibilty for their care.

From the state Capitol, I'm Tim Carnahan.

###TDC###

Hours after her passing, Republican legislators in Jefferson City are attempting to prevent the Terri Schiavo case from happening in Missouri. Tim Carnahan has more from the state Capitol.

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The Terri Schiavo case prompted O'Fallon Republican Representative Cynthia Davis to propose one bill which would require the state to take over the care and feeding of patients in a persistently vegetative state who do not have a living will, nor anyone wishing to continue care.

Boone County Democratic Senator Chuck Graham, says the bill represent confused Republican priorities.

Actuality:grhmrep
RunTime: 15secs
OutCue: "...on Medicaid."
Contents: "You know what the Republicans ought to do at this point? They ought to provide resources to the people who need them, who currently get them on Medicaid."

Earlier in March, Saint Louis County Republican Senator John Louden introduced a bill to the Senate that would let the state to allow whoever would take on care of a patient in a persistently vegetative state to take custody.

Jessica Robinson, spokesperson for Governor Blunt, has said the Governor considers current law adequate.

From the state Capitol, I'm Tim Carnahan.