March 31, 2005

Worst Case Senario: Terry Schiavo

I know this is a difficult topic and there are varying opinions on what should or should not be done, but I am going to attack this issue a little differently - from the precedent perspective. (I am publishing this after she has died because I do believe in right to die)

Personally, I do not think that a Judge should have the right to say who lives or dies. I think there is a reason you should have a living will, and Terry Schiavo is a great illustration of that reason. I may never write a living will, but if I do ever get married I will write a will that puts that decision squarely into my mother and brother's hands, not my husband's. No spouse should ever have to make that decision, because the truth is that love is a decision we make daily, but if you think about your family you don't think about if you love them (in the best case scenario). You know you love them and you would do anything for them; whether that means unplugging the machines or plugging in the machine.

Terry Schiavo's husband has moved on, and I don't blame him for that. Any person would want to move on and have a full life. Nobody in their right mind would want to be tied to a person in a vegetative state. I don't know that I would be any different. Many times during the course of this the argument was made that as long as she is not surviving on state welfare then she should not be unplugged. I'm sorry, that shouldn't be a defining factor. The defining factor should be a) is she breathing on her own? and b) is her heart beating on it's own? If a baby is born with severe brain damage and abandoned at birth is it now going to be okay to withhold food? After all, he or she will never lead a productive life and will only be taking away from the world in which it lives.

And this is where I see our country heading after this episode. I know many people talk about the Right wing being Nazis. However, at least the Right wing stood up in this case, I would like to point out that the Left did not. And now they have one thing in common with the Nazis: the desire to rid the world of those who do not add to it. Because alone with the Jews and Poles and Gypsies who were thrown into Concentration Camps there was one more group: the mentally and physically disabled. Today we know that many people who suffer from cerebral palsy are just as intelligent as any other person, but do you think they knew that in the 30s? Who are we killing? We can't even be sure that people don't suffer from pain, but we think they don't and is that enough?

Many will say that Terry didn't want to be kept alive, but she didn't write a living will and this is based on the comments she (allegedly) made to her husband and a friend. Let's be honest, most of us wouldn't want to be kept alive in her condition. And I could say with all certainty that almost all of my friends (with the notable exception of one) has told me that they would not want to be kept alive in such a state. However I seriously doubt that even one of them has a living will.

My main point with all this rambling: a Judge shouldn't decide who lives and who dies and what one might have meant to do after one is in a vegetative state. You either have a living will, or you don't and your family agrees on what to do. If one group wants to keep you alive I think you should be passed off to them, especially if that group is your blood related family.

Comment away, I'd love to hear everybody's opinions!!

Posted by 10lees at March 31, 2005 07:17 PM