Good News for Protecting Life and the Disabled

Aug 31, 2010 | 0 comments

The Independence Law Center just received good news in a case involving David Hockenberry, a mentally retarded man whose guardians sought court approval to refuse life-preserving medical treatment. Mr. Hockenberry is not permanently unconscious or suffering from any terminal disease. In fact, he is not currently even sick. His guardians simply want to be able to withhold life-preserving medical treatment should he become sick in the future. The guardian’s request reflects a dangerous trend toward withholding life-preserving medical treatment for those who cannot speak for themselves.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court concluded that the guardians did not have authority to withhold treatment. “We are gratified by this outcome,” said the Independence Law Center’s Randall Wenger. “Our society and our laws should be particularly dedicating to protecting the interests of those who cannot protect themselves.”

The Independence Law Center, in conjunction with the Alliance Defense Fund, filed an Amici brief with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in this matter earlier this year.  The Independence Law Center provides its services free of charge through the support of donors. If you have a situation where the Independence Law Center can help or if you are able to help financially support the law center, please visit us at or call Randall Wenger at 717 657 4990.

The Independence Law Center is affiliated with the Pennsylvania Family Institute, a non-profit, 501(c) (3) organization funded through tax-deductible contributions. Using skilled litigation, policy development and education, we fight to defend citizen rights to exercise religious and other First Amendment freedoms.