Alarming News

March 28, 2005

My personal last word on Terri

I don’t have the capacity to think any more about Terri Schiavo. I have been spared most of the mania because I don’t watch TV but bloggers have, obviously, been all over this story and I feel like I have little to add. I’m pro-tubist because I think starving a woman to death is never the right thing to do, not because Jesus tells this Jewish woman that that’s the right thing to do.

I have even less patience for the hysteria coming from some quarters that religious fanatics are at the helm of the Republican party. Again, I am not religious yet have come to the same conclusion as the people standing watch outside Terri’s room: this woman should not be killed. It’s not that complicated. We don’t starve dogs, we don’t starve killers, why are we starving her? Like I asked a few days ago, what kind of people are we?

Anyway, two of the funniest writers around, Jeff Goldstein and Mark Steyn have excellent, serious pieces on the subject. Jeff is on the political implications while Steyn writes about things that are wrong even when not illegal. Must reads.

Posted by Karol at 12:28 PM |

And we’re still misspelling her name half of the time. And by “we’re” I mean “you’re.”

Posted by: Dawn Summers at March 28, 2005 at 1:41 pm

At least the Bush Administration did not defy a court order as Clinton did in kidnapping Elian Gonzales and sending the kid to live under the thumb of a ruthless dictator in Cuba.

Posted by: Jake at March 28, 2005 at 1:54 pm

If nothing else, I think the Florida legislature should take a good look at the legislation that caused this mess. Should “artificially provided sustenance and hydration” be deemed a “life-prolonging procedure” as it currently is under Florida law? Should the procedure for determining an incapacitated person’s intent to discontinue a life-prolonging procedure require more than a single judge’s determination that there is clear and convincing evidence? I suspect the definition won’t change, but the procedure might. I am not sure if a higher burden of proof (then again, the courts already use the highest burden of proof generally available in civil litigation) or the use of a three-judge panel would ever make anyone’s doubts about intent go away, but I think they might eliminate some concerns regarding the procedure used.

Posted by: Alceste at March 28, 2005 at 2:19 pm

“We don’t starve dogs, we don’t starve killers, why are we starving her?”
Because the more humane alternative — a lethal injection — is illegal.

Posted by: Joe Grossberg at March 28, 2005 at 5:11 pm

She should have picked her husband more carefully if she really didn’t want to die.
I want to be kept alive though. Only one life here on earth after all.
Fill out your living will!

Posted by: Downtown Lad at March 28, 2005 at 10:41 pm

They are starving her to death because the Christian folks won’t let her die any other way, because killing her would be a sin. The starvation dehydration option is forced on us by religion and is religions fault.
I would want my God to let her die, quickly and painlessly.

Posted by: PAUL at March 29, 2005 at 11:20 am

Paul, I’m not Christian (as I keep saying) but I still think it’s wrong to kill her. It’s not a religious issue.

Posted by: Karol at March 29, 2005 at 11:27 am

I know your not Christian, silly!
I’m now confused by your post.
1. Do you think it’s wrong to kill her or let her die, period.
2. Do you just think it’s wrong to starve her to death (which is what your postings on this matter led me to believe).
If you answer 2. Would that change if you knew for sure she would want to die?

Posted by: PAUL at March 29, 2005 at 11:49 am

Sorry, Disregard my last sentence!!
it’s supposed to read: 1 not 2.
If you answer 1. Would that change if you knew for sure she would want to die?

Posted by: PAUL at March 29, 2005 at 11:52 am

Yes, for me it’s an issue of choice. If we knew that she wanted to die (beyond mentioning it in passing to her husband), I would be ok with it. Since we don’t, I think we should error on the side of letting her live.

Posted by: Karol at March 29, 2005 at 11:53 am

After reading your post, I thought you were opposed to allowing anyone to refuse a feeding tube.
From reading your comment though, is your complaint now that the court simply got Terri Schiavo’s intent wrong when it decided that she would have wanted to refuse treatment? (I do not dispute that this is certainly a possibility.)
If you also had the testimony of Michael Schiavo’s brother and sister-in-law (who happened to be Terri Schiavo’s best friend), would that make a difference to you? It clearly did to the court, which refused to take Michael Schiavo’s word at face value.
And if the additional testimony wouldn’t make a difference in determining Terri Schiavo’s intent, is there anything that would?
I suppose the broader question is – as a general matter, do you think a state should be permitted to utilize judicial procedures to determine an incapicated person’s intent to refuse medical treatment – including a feeding tube – in the absence of a binding legal document? Or do you think that the possibility of an incorrect decision in a particular case outweighs the potential benefits of any such procedure?
Of course, please feel to disregard any and all of the above. :)

Posted by: Alceste at March 29, 2005 at 12:22 pm

I feel that in the absence of a legal document, we should side with life instead of death. The thing about witnesses is that they’re likely to just reinforce their own opinion on what they’d like to happen to them.

Posted by: Karol at March 29, 2005 at 12:48 pm

Great questions Alceste.
Read this.

Posted by: PAUL at March 29, 2005 at 1:19 pm

In the absense of a legal document stating her own wishes the decision falls to the husband.
I would want my wife (if I had one) to decide my fate before I would want a judge I never met do it.

Posted by: PAUL at March 29, 2005 at 1:23 pm
Post a comment