health care

Idaho Doctors Can Now Disregard Advance Directives and Living Wills

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With one stroke of a pen, Idaho governor CL Butch Otter took away the fundamental right of Idaho residents to refuse or limit their medical treatment in the event of a catastrophic event that would leave patients incapable of making their own decisions. 

New legistlation in Idaho now states that if a physician or other healthcare provider deems medical treatment is in the best interest of the patient, that they can proceed with treatment regardless of what existing living wills or advance directives state according to their own conscience. 

This is dangerous legislation because it limits the rights of people, and gives more rights to doctors to do whatever they want. The fact of the matter is, people have the right to determine the type of medical treatment they receive, and even have the right to outright refuse medical treatment. When you take away that right, you take away individual autonomy, the right to liberty, and limit free religious expression (an example of this would be the right of Jehovah's Witnesses to refuse blood transfusions or Christian Scientists' rights to refuse medical treatment altogether). 

With my advance directive in place stating I wish to receive no medical treatment in any event according to the dictates of my own morality and conscience, I'm worried about some doctor blatantly disregarding my advance directive and proceeding with medical care anyway, as they are now protected by law if they choose to do so. 

This new legislation is dangerous. People should have a say in whether or not they accept certain medical treatment, or if they receive medical treatment at all. This bill limits the rights of people, and in the interest of preserving individual rights, needs to be overturned. I want my right to refuse medical services to remain intact, and everyone else should be offered the same rights and protection. 

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