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October 04, 1994 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-10-04

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The Michigan Daily - Tuesday October 4, 1994 - 5

eCourt tells
doctors to
baby's life
Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - The Supreme
Court, acting yesterday in a case that
has alarmed emergency medical pro-
fessionals, let stand a lower court
ruling that requires hospitals to admit
and resuscitate comatose patients,
even when doctors say there is no
hope for recovery.
0 The ruling grew out of the case of
a baby born in 1992 in Fairfax County,
Va., with most of her brain missing.
Although she was deemed by doctors
to have no chance of long-term sur-
vival, she was placed on a ventilator
and has been repeatedly revived at
her mother's insistence.
Doctors disputed the wisdom of
such aggressive treatment, but a di-
Oided U.S. appeals court ruled in Feb-
ruary that federal law requires medi-
cal professionals "to provide stabiliz-
ing treatment" to a hopelessly ill pa-
tient, even when they "consider it
morally and ethically inappropriate."
Lawyers for several national medi-
cal groups, who pressed the case be-
fore the Supreme Court, said the rul-
ing expanded greatly the prevailing
interpretation of an 1986 federal law
Sat barred hospitals from refusing to
treat poor patients. Unless overturned,
it could require hospitals to treat dy-
ing patients of all ages aggressively,
no matter what their chance of sur-
vival, they said.
But "In the Matter of Baby K, 93-
2076," the justices left standing the
lower court ruling. In response, law-
yers for the medical groups say they
qill ask Congress to amend the law.
"This is the first time to my knowl-
edge that a court has ordered physi-
cians to render medical care over their
protests," said Stephan E. Lawton, an
attorney representing the American
Academy of Pediatrics and the Soci-
ety of Critical Care Medicine.
"Clearly, this is not what Congress
intended, but the case is being cited
now all over the country," he said.
0 The Supreme Court's action yes-
terday does not set a binding legal
rule. But as a practical matter the
precedent in the "Baby K" case is
likely to be followed elsewhere.
Often, the justices refuse to take up
an appeal unless the lower courts are
split on the matter. Lawyers said the
ruling in Baby K's case marked the first
time the 1986 law had been deemed to
andate a level of medical treatment
at was not recommended by doctors.
The U.S. appeals court in Rich-
mond, Va., noted that Baby K "lacks
a cerebrum (and) is permanently un-
conscious." Doctors recommended
the baby be allowed to die peacefully,
but the mother, citing her strong reli-
gious convictions, said she wanted
everything done to keep her daughter
alive. The baby continues to be cared
r at a nursing home, but has been
returned to the hospital several times
for resuscitation.
"It is beyond the limits of our

judicial function to address the moral
orethical propriety of providing emer-
gency stabilizing medical treatment
to anencephalic infants," wrote Judge
J. Harvie Wilkinson for a 2-1 major-
ity siding with the mother.


Clinton stumps for Senator
Robb in close Virginia race

Democrats hope the
president Is more of
a help than a liability
in race against
Republican North,
who is ahead in polls
Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - Virginians
don't care for Democratic presidents
in general. And the polls show most
of them don't like President Clinton
in particular.
Yet in an election year when he is
avoiding many conservatives states,
Clinton yesterday made his first po-
litical foray into the the Old Domin-
ion on a hunch that he could raise
money and deliver Democratic voters
for beleaguered Democratic Sen.
Charles Robb.
The key: The many uncommitted
Black votes that could still enable
Robb to edge ahead of front-running
Republican candidate Oliver North
- and perhaps save Democratic con-
trol of the Senate.
In a year when congressional con-
trol is at stake, the Black vote is im-
portant, said Joan Baggett, the White
House political director. "We're

reaching out for it wherever we can."
Clinton's appearance for Robb at a
pair of fund-raisers underscores a
broader imperative facing the Demo-
crats as they try to hold the congres-
sional seats needed to ensure Clinton's
future viability. In race after race, they
need to energize a Democratic core
that is big enough to be decisive in the
year's many tight races but has sharply
cooled to. Clinton since the Demo-
crats' season of hope two years ago.
The importance of the party base
is always magnified in mid-term elec-
tions, when only one-third of regis-
tered voters are expected to show up,
compared to the roughly one half who
vote during presidential election years.
The no-shows tend to be people lower
on the socio-economic scale - "read,
Democratic voters," said Mark A.
Siegal, a newsletter publisher and
former Democratic Party official.
This year there is abundant evi-
dence from primaries and polls that
while many conservative voters are
feeling jazzed by the election, such
reliable Democratic groups as the la-
bor and black voters are torn by an
ambivalence that could severely de-
press their turnout.
Union members, while pleased at

Clinton's advocacy of health reform,
were disappointed at its failure. And
they actively fought the administration's
efforts on behalf of two big trade agree-
ments in the last year.
More than 70 percent of Black
voters approve of Clinton's perfor-
mance as president, the polls show,
compared to about 40 percent for the
votes as a whole. Yet if they approve
of him overall, their passion has been
cooled by Clinton's advocacy of bud-
get-cutting, capital punishment,
prison-building, and free trade.
And "you could make a good case
that the (Black) turnout - or lack of
it - could decide five or six elec-
tions," says Siegal. These, he said,
could include close Senate races in
California, Minnesota, New Jersey,
and Massachusetts.
But it is not always a simple mat-
ter to turn out the Democratic core
without mobilizing the opposition at
the same time.
Highly visible appearances by the
president, Hillary Clinton or other
national party leaders will bring out
the Democratic fans, but they may
also energize the Clinton-haters and
potentially turn some swing voters as

First-year School of Music students Justin Depuydt (right) and Jessica
Cauffiel put an unconventional spin on the cube yesterday.

A 'softer' Newt ready to take GOP reins next year

Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - Officially,
Newt Gingrich's tenure as his party's
leader in the House does not begin
until the new Congress takes office in
January. But in many ways, the
Gingrich Era has already dawned.
With the Capitol dome as a back-
drop, the combative Georgia Repub-
lican last week led 300 GOP incum-
bents and challengers in signing what
they described as their "contract with
America." It is a 10-point program of
proposed legislation - largely unfin-
ished business of the Reagan revolu-
tion - that the Republicans promise
to enact if they win control of the
House this November.
A GOP majority is something that
body has not seen since the 1950s.
Not a single Republican now serving
has wielded the gavel during a ses-
sion of the House, or even presided
over the most lowly of subcommit-
A Republican takeover of the
House is still a longshot. But for the
first time in decades, no one is laugh-
ing off the possibility.

If Republicans do win a majority
of the 435 seats, it will be due in no
small measure to public disgust with
Congress - a political brush fire that
Gingrich has stoked throughout his
16 years as a legislator. Or, as the
would-be speaker put it: "I've spent
much of my career reporting accu-
rately on a Congress that's worthy of
being despised."
At a minimum, a soured electorate
appears poised to give the GOP
enough additional seats for the fire-
breathing Gingrich and his forces to
forge a working majority on many
close questions.
The prospect has sent shudders up
and down the Democratic ranks and
would seem to represent Bill Clinton's
worst nightmare.
But as Gingrich steps closer to
center stage, some of his colleagues
believe they are seeing - could it be?
- a kinder, gentler Newt.
Indeed, if the Gingrich acolytes
who make up the current crop of fresh-
men Republicans have any complaint
about their hero and role model, it is
summed up by Richard W. Pombo

(R-Calif.) "At times, as a member of
the leadership, Gingrich is softer than
a lot of the freshmen want him to be."
Soft? Newt Gingrich? The man
who once called Senate minority
leader Bob Dole, (R-Kan.), "the tax
collector of the welfare state?"
"He's absolutely shifted gears sig-
nificantly in the last year," said Jerry
Lewis (R-Calif.) a one-time rival for
the top House GOP post whose 1993
ouster from the leadership was engi-
neered by Gingrich.
In Gingrich's view, the affable and
well-regarded Lewis represented the
old-style Republican -the kind whose
pragmatism and noblesse oblige would
keep GOP House members in the
shadow of the Democrats forever.
But now that he is the second-
ranking Republican and heir appar-
ent to the minority leader's job being
vacated by retiring Robert H. Michel

(R-Ill.), Gingrich is confronting the
realities of heading a party that still is
40 votes short of a majority in the
House, and probably will remain at
least 15 behind.
If Gingrich is to get anything done,
Lewis pointed out, he will need at
least a handful of conservatives and
moderates on the other side of the
In their private dealings, the Demo-
cratic leadership with which Gingrich
will have to work has already seen a
shift. 'He does tend to be very con-
structive in meetings. He's very dif-
ferent from his image outside," one
top aide said.
"He's been like a Jekyll and Hyde,"
said Bill Richardson (D-N.M.).
"When he decides to be bipartisan, he
is bipartisan, but then he also has the
capability of wanting to tear down the
institution. The real Newt Gingrich is

still unclear. I don't think he's de-
cided what his strategy is."
At first, Gingrich brushed off sug-
gestions that he has mellowed, saying
he's merely getting older - he's 51
- and warning, "I'm told that at a
later point in my life, I become more
But then he turned to aide Tony
Blankley and asked, "I'm kind of cu-
rious about this. Do you think I've
significantly changed?"
"You pause before you act,"
Blankley replied.
After pondering the question him-
self for a moment, Gingrich concluded:
"One thing that really has changed is
I've learned to listen a lot more than I
did 10 years ago, or even five years
ago. ... When I was younger, I was a
back bencher, and to get heard at all,
you had to virtually scream."

you had to virtually scream."


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