A mother is asking the Maine Supreme Judicial Court to overturn a state-imposed “do not resuscitate” order for her injured daughter, who is temporarily in the custody of the state.
Four powerful organizations have filed a friend-of-the-court brief arguing the state’s Department of Health and Human Services doesn’t have the constitutional right to deprive the baby of her life.
A hearing is set for Sept. 23 in the case of the child known by the initials A.P.
The DHHS imposed a “do not resuscitate” order on the child, which is in the state’s custody because of an alleged child abuse case. But the mother, whose parental rights have not been terminated, is contesting the state’s decision.
The state argues that it has the authority to consent to a “do not resuscitate” order for any child in its custody if it is in the child’s best interest.
Not so, contend Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys, who filed a brief on behalf of the Christian Civic League of Maine, the Christian Medical and Dental Associations, Concerned Women for America and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland.
The child was injured when her father allegedly shook her, and she’s been in state custody while the case plays out, records show.
The state wants the DNR order on the child on the assumption that the injuries are severe and will at some point be fatal, even though they occurred last year. The mother, the brief explains, is “in court because she wants to give the baby a fighting chance to live while the state wants to hasten her death.”
“Everyone deserves a fighting chance to live. All this mother is doing is fighting for that chance for her baby,” said ADF Senior Counsel Steven H. Aden. “This mother’s parental rights should not be ignored; no one has the authority to deny her the right to save her daughter’s life.”
The ADF brief explains the father has been indicted on a charge of aggravated assault. ADF said doctors at one point told the mother the child was in a coma, and she agreed to a DNR order then.
The legal team said hospital staff “placed the child in the mother’s arms to die, but the child continued to breathe on her own and opened her eyes.”
Written by BOB UNRUH
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