Barbara Bush: We Should Have Pulled the Plug on Our Daughter


Austin, Texas

It’s well-documented how W. Bush and Tom DeLay used the Schiavo case for cynical political purposes. But these colossal hypocrites both have instances in their own families which show they or their mothers do not favor "erring on the side of life" in such cases in their own families.

DeLay’s instance of agreeing with a decision to pull the plug on his own father when he was in a coma is more widely known than Bush’s instance.

In 1953, Robin Bush, a younger sister of W.’s, tragically died of leukemia at the age of 3. The family tried to extend Robin’s life with painful blood transfusions and bone marrow transplants, but she died seven months after being diagnosed.

I found a very interesting quote from Barbara Bush in Fortunate Son by J.H. Hatfield, which I could not find in any other book or document or through an Internet search. The late Hatfield apparently obtained the quote from another source, either her autobiography or another book or article, as he does not footnote it, but he lists many sources at the end of the book for the entire chapter.

The quote goes:

"[Dr. Dorothy Wyvell, Robin’s pediatrician] gave us the best advice anyone could have given, which of course we didn’t take," Barbara Bush said. "She said, ‘Number one, don’t tell anyone. Number two, don’t treat her. You should take her home, make life as easy as possible for her, and in three weeks’ time, she’ll be gone.’"

How’s that for supporting a young girl’s right-to-life?

To be fair, Bush was only 7 at the time of his sister’s death, and his parents did not even tell him his sister was terminally ill. I could not find any statement by him agreeing with his mother, but it’s interesting, to say the least, that Barbara Bush holds such a view.

Another insensitive aspect of this case was how friends of the Bushes in that Texas town treated young Robin in her final months – they wouldn’t let their kids near her, ignorantly fearing that leukemia was contagious.

JACKSON THOREAU can be reached at: jacksonthor@gmail.com


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