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House Bill 519 — Life-sustaining measures for children

House Bill 519 — Life-sustaining measures for children

Lindsay Atkinson
February 25, 2020

Bill description: Under HB 519, health care professionals must consult the parents or guardians of unemancipated minors before they stop engaging in life-sustaining measures.

Rating: +2

Does it give government any new, additional, or expanded power to prohibit, restrict, or regulate activities in the free market? Conversely, does it eliminate or reduce government intervention in the market? 

HB 519 is referred to as Simon’s Law, named after Simon, a 3-month old child who passed away when his life-sustaining measures were ended because health care professionals decided to stop giving them to him. Simon’s Law restricts health care professionals from issuing “[a]n order not to resuscitate, an order to withhold artificial life-sustaining procedures, an order to withhold artificial nutrition and hydration” for an unemancipated minor without first giving a written and/or oral notification to a parent or guardian. 

This requirement supports free market principles. The notice allows parents or guardians of disabled or ill, unemancipated minors to take their child to a new facility that will offer their child life-sustaining measures, if they wish, after realizing that the facility their child is presently at will not. After receiving notice of the current facility’s intent to end life-sustaining measures, the parent or guardian has 48 hours to request the transfer of their child to a new facility. Once they request a transfer, they have 15 days to move the child. 

The demands of this bill are not overly restrictive to health care professionals. If a health care professional cannot get ahold of parent or guardian in 72 hours, they can go ahead with their orders to end life-sustaining measures. The bill also only requires notice to one parent or guardian.


Does it violate the spirit or the letter of either the US Constitution or the Idaho Constitution? Examples include restrictions on speech, public assembly, the press, privacy, private property, or firearms. Conversely, does it restore or uphold the protections guaranteed in the US Constitution or the Idaho Constitution? 

Article I, Section 1 of the Idaho Constitution states that “[a]ll men are by nature free and equal, and have certain inalienable rights, among which are enjoying and defending life and liberty.” HB 519 allows parents and guardians to defend the life of their children, even when it is against the advice of health care professionals.


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