Thursday, March 24, 2005
Thoughts about Terry Schiavo
One of the reasons I have not been posting recently is the almost morbid fixation of the country on Terry Schiavo; her case seems to be omnipresent. I have a few, rather conflicted thoughts about the whole situation.
Firstly, I understand her husband's position, although I cannot understand why it took him so long to decide to stop the measures which have prolonged Terri's life (even before the legal battles started). I understand his desire for companionship with another woman, although I am repulsed by what is essentially an open affair with another woman, complete with children. He is still married to Terri, regardless of her condition, and what he has done is violate the vows he took when he married her; in a strictly legal sense, he is in breach of a contract by having relations with another woman while he is still married to Terri.
I can also understand the position of the parents. They love their daughter, and believe that if there is any chance of her ever recovering, they want to make sure she is alive. They also feel that her husband is betraying her, by trying to end her life in order to move on with the woman with whom he now shares a life.
I am not pleased with the role of the federal government in the case; while I agree that the constitution grants the feds the right to ensure the life and liberty of each of its citizens, this is not a case in which congress should ever have involved itself. The local and state courts are the proper venue for this case, and the Supreme Court wisely declilned to intervene. However, several congressmen (some who are acting on principle, but some who are simply looking for publicity) have decided to inject themselves into the case. I am fairly consistently an advocate of states' rights, so my regular readers know that while I may or may not agree with the ends, I most assuredly do not agree with the means. If congress wishes to enact a law preventing future occurances, let them do so (and the Supreme Court can rule on its constitutionality), but the method they have chosen here offends me.
From a personal perspective, my feelings are much clearer. My mother has made it clear to the family that she does not want any "heroic" measures taken to keep her alive; she does not have a DNR on file, but she does not wish to be hooked up to machines to stay alive. I am of a similar mind. In a case like this one, where there is a question about Mrs. Schiavo's mental state, my question is this:
Is there a chance her condition will improve?
If not, she is going to be either a lifeless husk, with no awareness of her surroundings, or (even worse) a consciousness, trapped with no way to communicate with others. I, for one, would hate to be aware of my environment, but lack any way to alter it or to communicate with others; I'd rather be dead than live such a hellish quasi-existence. If Terri is conscious, she has been trapped for 15 years now, in something far worse than solitary confinement. I understand that loved ones often have trouble letting go, but I really wonder if they have thought about what their actions mean to Terri. For those who believe in an afterlife, Terri's soul has either already departed (in which case there is no reason to keep the body alive), or is stuck inside her body, unable to go to its final destination until the body dies. How does she benefit from remaining here?
posted at 06:42 PM | permalink | Comments (4)