Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Terri Schiavo

I've just heard that Terri Schiavo has been ruled against again, this time by the 11th Circuit Federal court in Atlanta, 2-1. I have to say that I like millions of others , have been horrified by the happenings in this case. Michael Schiavo stands to gain financially from what I've read a very large amount of money, he has denied rehab for his wife for the last 15 years, is living with another woman with two kids, seemed to be waiting for his wife's death and seeming to look forward to it (from sworn depositions from medical staff looking after Terri), and gives conflicting stories about whether she did or didn't say she wanted to die (he only remembered she did several years after her medical problems began, and after he received an award of around 1 million dollars which he said he would put towards Terri's care - he's not spent it on her care...the court approved him spending it on legal bills to kill Terri instead). The courts have ruled her to be in a Permanent Vegatative State (PVS) on the basis of two or three doctors (one of the main ones being a doctor who used to be on the board of the Euthanasia Society of America), while by all accounts dozens are willing to testify she is not, including one doctor nominated for the Nobel Prize for his work in exactly this area. Indeed, Michael Schiavo has refused a PET scan or MRI scan for Terri, which would give a far more reliable picture of whether she is indeed in a PVS. There are even allegations of possible abuse against Michael Schiavo against his wife. Yet in light of all these facts, because he has a ring on his finger it seems, Michael Schiavo gets to decide, it seems, whether his wife lives or dies. I can't even begin to explain how horrific all of this is to me...and while almost 2 dozen judges now (my congratulations to the one in Atlanta who voted for Terri) have ignored clear evidence against Michael Schiavo, refusing to listed to many depositions against what Michael Schiavo has been saying, Terri enter's day five of her state sanctioned starvation to death. As many have pointed out, even death row prisoners get treated better, and are permitted to die with far greater dignity.

For those who may come across this blog, the following links give some good commentary on the issues, and outline the facts:

From the National Review (mostly Andrew McCarthy's articles):

Starving for a Fair Diagnosis (on the lack of necessary care provided by Michael Schiavo)

Too Vigourously Assisted Suicide

Torturing Terri
Conservatives and Terri Schiavo
Lingering Questions
Ducking Tough Questions

From Other Sources:

Terri's Fight (the official site, with videos of a happy Terri with parents etc)

Terri Schiavo and the Law: The Case for Life(Wall Street Journal Editorial)

Blogs for Terri(a collection of many relevant articles from all over the Web)

It seems to me that the culture of death is just making further inroads into our society, and it's saddening - too soft a word - sickening, to see so early into my move to this new country the way in which the fragile vulnerable woman has been treated by those who should be defending her. I can't believe it's come to this - a week ago I was sure they would find legal remedy, but against a generally misinformed and misinforming media (purposefully?), and a largely untroubled population (there are many who feel as I do, but it seems to be a minority), the family and supporters of Terri Schiavo have lost - even the government could not overcome the courts.

And that for me is one of the scariest thing about the whole story. Beside the terrible tradgedy of a vulnerable and weak life being cruelly and inhumanely taken by court sanction (and there should be no surprise there - with countless millions of unborn babies having gone the same way in the last three decades) is the ever growing power and unconstitutionalism (if there is such a word) of an ever growing liberal reactionary court, not defending the law, but making it (and arguably bending if not breaking it). How they can go against the obvious will of congress and government in the bill passed over the weekend is , I think, frightening. Legistlation from the bench is never what the founders envisioned, and yet here it is happening before our eyes again, and precedent is being established making the taking of the life of family members all the easier. How the courts cannot agree with the President that we should err on the side of life is beyond me, but the fact that they can, and that they can enforce the starvation of a helpless woman is, frankly, terrifying. I have to say in light of the happenings of the last few days, the much talked about nuclear option in the Senate has to surely become a reality, lest the Supreme Court become simply a wing of the more liberal elemnts in our culture to legislate in the way they cannot acheive through the elected government.They say the law is an Ass - I wish it were that harmless.

The Terri Schaivo case says very unsavory things about the world in which we live, and gives me a sense of forboding about the my new country will go in the next ten years - I can only hope the backlash is enormous, and my sense of gloom is misplaced. I fear it is not. But at the center of all of this lies a woman, slowly, painfully, starving to death, and a family grief-stricken by the ever growing likelihood of the death of a daughter and sister. So pray for our country, but pray hard for Terri, and for her family. What they are suffering I cannot imagine.


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