Alfie’s Law passes through committee on party-line vote

Every Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee voted against House File 233 on Wednesday. The bill relates to limitations regarding the withdrawal of a life-sustaining procedure from a minor child.

“It’s a pretty simple bill,” said Republican Rep. Ashley Hinson. Basically it says the court cannot order life support withdrawn from a minor child over the wishes of a parent or guardian unless there is no proof of life, no heartbeat, no brain activity.”

Democrat Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell said a lot of questions have popped up regarding the bill. She wondered what the definition of false artifact is. She also talked with a pediatrician who gave her the process in situations such as these.

A physician will sometimes withdraw from a case when he feels he cannot ethically sustain or keep a child on life support, she said. Provisions regarding abuse needed to either be included or strengthened, she said. And, what happens when parents disagree, she asked.

“This is the first time I’m hearing that you’ve had problems,” Hinson said. “Actually it’s surprising to me. I didn’t realize you had additional concerns. I’m urging my caucus to support the courts should not be overriding parents’ interest in these cases.

“The habit of taking a child off of life support, I think that sends the wrong message for the future of this country in terms of the valuing of life.”

The bill passed 12-9.