I have good news for you: Simon’s Law (now House Bill 578) was passed by the Idaho House of Representatives last week with a 63 to 5 vote.
Idaho law currently allows doctors to withdraw life-sustaining treatment, including nutrition and hydration, from a minor child without notifying or obtaining consent from parents.
Simon’s Law would close this loophole, ensuring that parents’ rights are protected during these critical times. No parent should have to worry that decisions about their child’s healthcare could be taken out of their hands.
Through working on this legislation, I have gotten to know Sandi Enzminger of Eagle, Idaho. She has showed up to every committee hearing, bringing her delightful family in tow. Her youngest daughter, Tabitha Grace, is always the star of the show—and for good reason.
Little Tabitha was born October 28, 2018. Shortly thereafter, her parents received a postnatal Trisomy 18 diagnosis.
They were stunned to hear the doctor explain that Tabitha, despite being stable, wouldn’t live a month. The potential benefits of the heart surgery she needed weren’t worth the risks, the doctor said. Adam and Sandi were told to take Tabitha home on comfort care and allow the disability and its associated health difficulties take their course.
Thankfully, Adam and Sandi fought for their daughter. They were able to take her to a hospital in Omaha, Nebraska, for heart surgery she couldn’t live without. Now Tabitha is a healthy and developing sixteen-month-old.
Here is what Sandi says about the importance of Simon’s Law to her family:
Shortly after Tabitha was born, we were informed that she likely had Trisomy 18. We understood then that her disabilities would be so severe that it was advisable to “let her die” of “natural” causes. Then, when we pursued heart repair surgery, we were told it was futile and would have little to no effect on the length or quality of her life.
Today, her heart and lungs are functioning normally without assistance. Her hearing is enhanced by hearing-aids, and she has the energy to progress in developmental milestones.
Although this journey has not been easy, time with Tabitha has been worth it. We strongly support Simon’s Law because we felt coerced into making life-ending decisions. We believe that it is only a matter of time before medical discrimination leads to secret “DNRs” for minor children here in Idaho.
When I asked Sandi why she fought so hard for her daughter, she responded, “We value life, and we trusted God to be bigger than any diagnosis.” Needless to say, it has been a blessing to have Sandi, Tabitha, and their family join us for committee hearings in support of Simon’s Law.
Parents should hold the ultimate medical decision-making authority for their children. Before a doctor begins withdrawing life-sustaining treatment, parents should be notified and given the opportunity to transfer their child to another medical provider, just like Sandi Enzminger was able to do for Tabitha.
This post was originally written for Family Policy Alliance of Idaho.