More on Terri Schiavo… from the New York Times

February 24, 2005

The New York Times is also reporting the Florida Department of Children and Family Service’s request to intervene in the case to seek a delay to allow it to investigate abuse allegations. This paragraph from the Times article caught my eye:

Ms. Schiavo, 41, suffered severe brain damage when her heart briefly stopped in 1990. Though she left no written will, the courts accepted her husband’s testimony that she told him she would not want to be kept alive artificially. Her parents maintain that Mr. Schiavo wants her dead so he can marry another woman with whom he has two children. The Schindlers are urging the Legislature to amend state law so a spouse cannot serve as a guardian if he is living with someone else.

I realize most of this is old news to many of you, but I think, given the circumstances, there is reason to be skeptical of her husband’s testimony that Terri told him she would not want to be kept alive artificially. Please tell me how likely it is that a young, healthy lady would have had this conversation with her husband at all? Granted, these discussions occur way more than they used to in society, but I don’t think most people, except when forced to because they are in the process of their estate planning, contemplate sustaining an injury that would leave them incapacitated. And if Terry has no Will or Trust perhaps she didn’t ever entertain such thoughts. Does evidence exist that she told anyone else? Should we allow such hearsay to stand in lieu of the formal requirements most states have? Shouldn’t we demand strict proof when it comes to terminating human life? Or are we going to continue to be casual about it in our societal rush to devalue human life? And if Terri’s husband truly is interested in remarrying, does he not have the most flagrant conflict of interest imaginable on an issue that just doesn’t get any more important, i.e., terminating human life? What is going on — or might be going on — in front of our eyes is potentially horrifying. It may all be completely legitimate. I don’t know. But again, there is no urgency that should preclude the state from ascertaining all of the facts, however long that takes. But pro-death forces are relentless and so continued opposition to a full airing of the facts is predictable.