By Gualberto Garcia Jones, Esq. — Arline Lester, the 91-year-old woman from Long Island, New York, whose son recorded a video of her pleading for her life, died yesterday after being heavily sedated and removed from her ventilator and feeding tube. Her forced euthanasia took place behind a shroud of secrecy and shocking judicial overreach in a state that’s pushing to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia this year.
The killing of Arline Lester
The killing of Arline Lester was shrouded in secrecy after Judge Julianne Capetola of the Nassau County Court (NY) allegedly issued a secret gag order forbidding the parties, attorneys or witnesses from communicating any details of the case.
The gag order, which was never made public, was reported to have been issued out of concern for the privacy rights of Arline Lester, but sources close to the family say the gag order was simply a way to cover up the inevitable killing of a woman against her express wish to live. Attempts, including in-person visits to the court of Judge Capetola by the Personhood Alliance to obtain the gag order in order to verify its existence, content, and scope, were unsuccessful.
The secret gag order was used to threaten pro-life organizations such as LifeSiteNews and the Personhood Alliance who had re-posted the video recorded by Ed Lester and first published by local NY media outlets. Neither the NY Post nor the Personhood Alliance took down the distressing video, not having been able to confirm the existence or scope of the alleged gag order. Parties, witnesses, and attorneys related to the case that were contacted refused to comment for fear of the secret gag order. The video is below.
The Personhood Alliance also published a second video of Arline in our original article on this story, which was taken by a friend in her hospital room. The video shows Arline alert and speaking on her own. When asked if she is in pain, she shakes her head no and clearly says, “Thank you.”
Family sources, who refused to give any details of the court proceedings and who requested anonymity for fear of being held in contempt of court, told LifeSiteNews that Arline Lester died yesterday after having her respirator removed while being put on “palliative sedation,” a term that refers to aggressive pain medication that inevitably leads to the death of the patient.
This could be coming to all of New York
The case of Arlene Lester is especially alarming at a time when New York’s Democrat-controlled legislature is considering legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia. In fact, the same legislators, lobbyists, and organizations who supported the “Reproductive Health Act” are backing the assisted suicide and euthanasia efforts.
Many pro-lifers worry that if the courts are willing to enforce an old “living will” against the express wishes of an elderly woman who was conscious enough to orally communicate them, then what guarantee will there be that people who change their mind at the last moment about assisted suicide or euthanasia will have their right to life respected and protected?
As we reported in our original article on this story, for the last few weeks, Arline Lester’s two sons had engaged in an acrimonious battle in the Nassau County Court over two competing living wills. The first will, which Arline signed decades ago, directed that no life support be administered in case she was incapacitated. The second will was drafted recently after Arline suffered medical complications for which she required the insertion of a feeding tube and ventilator at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan.
The son who was taking care of Arline, Edward, told ABC7 NY that his mother had asked him for help to revoke her “living will” 17 times, after which he helped her hire a specialized attorney who drafted the new living will. In other comments to News12, Edward stated that “My mother’s perception of a living will was, ‘If I’m a vegetable, if I’m brain dead and I’m laying there…pull the plug,’ but that’s not the situation we have now.” To support his claim that his mother’s clear wish was to live, Ed released the video in which Arline clearly communicated that she did not want to die, but wanted to live.
As the NY Post reported, Arline’s other son initiated the lawsuit asking Judge Julianne Capitola in Nassau County Supreme Court to declare him Arline’s sole guardian, acknowledging that he hoped to take her off life support—but maintaining this is what their mother wanted.
Once the dramatic video of Arline mouthing the words “I want to live” was published, the court issued the alleged gag order, prohibiting any of the parties, witnesses, or attorneys from sharing details of the case with the press.
From that point forward, the repeated attempts from the Personhood Alliance to be shown the gag order or be given any information on the status of the case or Arline’s medical condition were denied by Judge Julianne Capitola’s court.
We are deeply saddened and angered by this case. We ask that you continue to pray for all involved.
Gualberto Garcia Jones, Esq., is the president of the Personhood Alliance and a licensed attorney in the commonwealth of Virginia. He is a human rights advisor to the Holy See Mission to the Organization of American States and works in Washington DC to stop the expansion of abortion in Latin America.
This article originally appeared on LifeSiteNews and was edited for republication here.