Friday, February 25, 2005

Terri Schaivo Update and My Thoughts

My mood was bad enough tonight before I came across this (hat-tip Flown to the Roll):

Man Cleared to Remove Wife's Feeding Tube

I have promised a couple of people that I would better articulate my position on the assisted suicide issue in general. This isn't going to be that piece. The specifics of this case take this so far beyond the general point, that I'd rather concentrate just on that alone tonight.

From the judge we get this:

"The judge wrote that he was no longer comfortable granting delays in the long-running family feud, which has been going on for nearly seven years and has been waged in every level of Florida's court system. He said the case must end. 'The court is no longer comfortable granting stays simply upon the filings of new motions,' Greer wrote. 'There will always be 'new' issues.'

All Things 2 All responds:
It is disturbing to hear a judge sounding irritated because there will always be reasons why a beautiful woman should not be starved death. The issues are not new - they are the same issues that have needed to be addressed. Terri Schiavo is not on life support, she simply needs a feeding tube when nutrition and hydration are required. She is not comatose nor is she terminally ill, she is disabled. There are conflicting medical reports about her neurological functioning, and eye witness accounts that she can speak some words and is emotionally responsive and interactive with those she knows. Despite Michael Schiavo being awarded over $1 million for her rehabilitation she has never received any therapy. Her opportunity to regain more function has been prevented from being explored. Most importantly, a person should not be deliberately starved to death because some-one who has legal guardianship finds their existence inexpedient. The issues are the same, and one hopes they will finally be heard. Terri Schiavo is a woman in God's image. "Whatsoever you do to the least of my brethren, that you do to me" - Jesus

If you're thinking about this case in some abstract sense of the right to die, you're fooling yourself. When they starve this woman to death in three weeks it will be murder. Legally approved murder. Like what they do to only the very worst convicted criminals - and only then after exhausting every other possible legal appeal.

Only it won't be exactly like that, because starving a convicted fellon to death violates the Constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. For good reason. It is without a doubt both cruel and unusual.

And for those who argue that maybe her mind is so far gone she won't even be able to comprehend, I respond with this: Did you just say, maybe?!!! Maybe we're not sentencing an innocent person to an agonizing death we don't even give to people on death row?! MAYBE?!!! To me that "maybe" screams STOP. This isn't some minor quibble. If you think that maybe you are about to treat an innocent human being worse than the law allows you to treat a felon on death row, or a dog for that matter, you don't go ahead and do it!! The side basic ethics requires you to err on here is crystal clear, and all the legal pleadings and abstractions can't change that.

This isn't a debate in philosophy 101, this is a real human life. What's more she has real parents who are asking the courts for nothing more than allowing them to take over her permanent care, since her "guardian" would prefer to snuff her.

Just to reiterate, she is not on life support, nor is she unconscious. She just needs assistance to eat and drink. So does my 10 month old. So do a lot of people.

In related news (yes it is), the Pope is recovering, though he required an operation to provide him assistance to breathe. Others I will not link to are starting to pipe up about what a worthless life he now leads. They're not exactly calling for him to be "euthanized." Not yet anyway. But there is a definite correlation between the way Terri Schiavo's life is devalued, along with the lives of others who become frail and vulnerable, and no one is so powerful to be immune from the sentiment.

If your mind is "maybe" persuaded the life-devaluers have a point, how about maybe erring on the side of caution and life, instead of leaning the other way?


Blogger Judd P said...

It is amazing the russian roulette we'll play with human lives. Good take on this and the issues surrounding the Pope. Why are we so fast to want to kill people?

8:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more with your views if only more people agreed and our government would also apply the same rules to wars of agression. "Whatsoever you do to the least of my brethren, that you do to me" - Jesus

8:55 PM  
Blogger Army of Mom said...

Good points.

I keep thinking that I would NOT want to live like she is living, but the way that she would die is so awful. I don't understand why the husband doesn't just walk away from it all and leave it to her parents to care for her. He is entitled to a life regardless of how much he may have loved her before her accident. I just know that I wouldn't want my husband to be tied down with caring for me if I were in that position. It is a very sad case and I'm glad I don't have to make any decisions in it.

10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please see on guardianship abuse which is widespread in Pinellas county where Terri Schiavo. As I see it, Judge Greer is behaving as he usually does, favoring guardians over families and sanctioning both fraud and abuse. Greer called the Chief Auditor for the county a "hit man" for his efforts at cleaning up fraud in guardianship. The auditor was frustrated by the courts, the guardians and their attorneys. It remains business as usual. Wards have fewer rights than criminals. Guardianship is a national disgrace and I wish that this case would focus peoples attention on thie problem instead of the "right to die" which is really not the issue here.

6:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to TRA: Unfortunately what this is all about is the fact that Terri and Michael are catholic and can't get divorced. It's til death do us part. He can't marry his long-time fiancee whom he has two children with if Terri is alive! He even had Terri's two cats killed when he moved in with his girlfriend because his girlfriend owns a dog! This man is SICK!

11:37 AM  

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