[Paleopsych] schiavo

Michael Christopher anonymous_animus at yahoo.com
Thu Mar 31 04:13:43 UTC 2005

>>The central weakness of the liberal case is 
that it is morally thin.<<

--I haven't seen such a clear-cut distinction between
liberals and conservatives on the case. Many liberals
feel starvation is repugnant, many feel it's wrong to
take her husband's word for it. Many conservatives,
even Evangelicals, feel the government is intruding
and that the issue should be addressed by changes to
state laws and clarification of how disputes between
spouses and family members should be resolved in the
absence of a living will. It's a complex issue, and
can't be used to slander liberals or conservatives as
a mass. 

My own view is that Michael should have given Terri's
parents custody and walked away. If she is
non-sentient, she won't mind being kept alive for the
sake of her parents' peace of mind. Florida law could
be changed to prevent the removal of feeding tubes
without a living will, or if the spouse has remarried
or is in a new common-law marriage. But under state
law, Michael is her next of kin, and he was able to
establish in court that Terri did not wish to be kept
alive on a feeding tube. If that is a bad outcome, the
best way to prevent future cases would be to change
the law, not target the judges for character
assassination. They're not "anti-life" judges. They
just read the law and ruled on it. I just wish we'd
have a broader discussion of health care, global
starvation and other issues. Terri Schiavo is a tragic
case. Will we use her as a symbol, or will we look at
the suffering of others with as much focus and

>>Once you say that it is up to individuals or 
families to draw their own lines separating life from
existence, and reasonable people will differ, then you
are taking a fundamental issue out of the realm of
morality and into the realm of relativism and mere

--Families DO make their own decisions, normally
without controversy. People have been taken off
feeding tubes before, without the amount of attention
Terri Schiavo has gotten. The difference is that
Terri's case is a unique custody dispute, where the
husband has the right to do what he believes was his
wife's will, over the objection of her parents. In the
Schiavo case, the courts did exactly what they're
supposed to do, they interpreted state law as it was
written. They were not "activist judges", rewriting
law to suit an agenda. Those who wanted state and
Federal judges to override Florida law were asking for
"activist judges". It is, apparently, all right to be
an activist judge, as long as you're an activist on
the right side.

Ironically, less attention has been given to the
infant in Texas taken off life support over the
objections of the mother. The hospital has the right
to do so, and money is taken into consideration. The
bill allowing hospitals to make that decision over the
next of kin's objections was signed by George W. Bush.
I do not know if social conservatives will call Bush
"anti-life" or if they will focus on future political
gains made possible by Terri Schiavo's death. I
imagine they will pressure Bush to appoint a Supreme
Court member based on the litmus test of abortion, but
I do not know if they will remind Bush of the bill he
signed in Texas.


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