Thursday, March 24, 2005


I believe in the "right to die". This case is not about the "right to die". Of the many distinctions between the court ordered death of Terri Schiavo and that of a condemned murderer, the most pressing is that the murderer isn't slowly dying while his case is still being appealed. Just imagine officials cutting off food and water to a convict whilst awaiting word from the Supreme Court. Ironically enough, we give the murderer a last meal prior to a swift and painless death.

I would have imagined this distinction would have been more powerful than it apparently was to those who ostensibly wish Terri be put down as quickly as possible.

A second, less obvious distinction is how the debate would change if we weren't using the euphemism "letting her die" and were giving her a lethal injection instead. The great irony being death by lethal injection is much more humane than starvation and dehydration - a punishment the courts would never permit on the grounds of "cruel and unusual".

This case is not about the "right to die". This case is about the standing of a husband, who has remarried in all but name to another woman who bore two of his children, to make this choice. Thus, Mr. Schiavo's sincerity regarding what is best for Terri is not the issue. Even if he had written authorization to choose life or death (which he does not), it would be proper to address his conflict of interest.

This case is not about a "personal family issue". It is about the continuing confusion over Terri's true condition. No MRI, activist "expert" testimony, ambiguous video, conflicting witness testimony, etc... Recently, an expert claimed that many who starve feel "euphoria" as they die. Since vegetables do not feel euphoria, why bring it up? Another claimed her brain waves are flat. Others respond this is impossible since the only life support she requires is for nourishment. Her heart, lungs and other vital organs are functional. All indicate brain activity. When most people think about removing "life support", they think of respirators and heart pumps. Death comes quickly; 5-10 minutes. Terri's agonizing death won't come for a week to 10 days.

This case is not about "States rights". It is about an out of control, unelected judiciary that ignores the wishes of the people's elected representatives. Under the guise of process the Judiciary has rebuffed the clear intent of a Congressional act, which was not to overturn the decision, but merely look at it anew. An act signed by the President of the United States at 1:08 in the morning.

What I don't understand why those who only chose to see this as a "right to die" issue poo-poo, sugar-coat or ignore all the extenuating circumstances of this case. What is it about the death of this poor woman that makes them behave in such a manner?

Judicial vs. Legislative. Legal vs. Moral. This is the true divide.


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