Schiavo Writ Large

March 22, 2005

I am so concerned with the urgency of Terri’s condition and predicament it’s hard for me to get into the constitutional issues and even the implications of this case for other cases, but I do want to touch on the latter to some extent.

This case is more and more chilling. I am increasingly convinced that Terri Schiavo is not and has not been in a vegetative state and that we are witnessing the state sanctioned murder of an innocent human being. Our Culture of Death is so casual about life anymore that many of society’s major players don’t give these things a second thought. They don’t even seem to bother to discriminate as to different medical conditions that might give rise to these kinds of issues.

How can people think that removing a feeding tube from a severely disabled lady who is conscious and probably sentient and wants to remain living is morally justified unless they have much less respect for life than I consider remotely decent? I know this will cut against the grain for many people, but I’ve believed for many years that we have made these end-life decisions so routine and downplayed the life aspects of them so much that we are woefully desensitized to death. As a lawyer I sometimes think we’ve made these decisions almost faddish: everyone needs a Living Will. I realize that to some extent this situation has been brought on by our medical advances that keep people alive in situations where they wouldn’t have been earlier, but have we gone too far?

I sometimes think we have come to rely too heavily on a medical community in these situations that might, because of its frequent experience with death, have become a tad too calloused about death itself. Loved ones rely so exclusively on the doctors’ advice, I just wonder how many times doctors have advised to “pull the plug” when the patient’s condition was not necessarily terminal, but the “quality of life” of the patient was deemed, by the doctor, not to be worth saving.

And now we’re removing a feeding tube from a lady who otherwise isn’t remotely terminal. How many other people who cannot feed themselves will be in jeopardy after this? Don’t pooh pooh this, folks. Tell me what the difference is between, say, an Alzheimer’s patient who can’t express a desire to live and who can’t feed himself versus Terri, who presumably can’t express her desire to live.

People keep talking about her stated wishes to Michael. Well, based on recent, multiple revelations, he is not a trustworthy person, he’s not a nice person, he’s not a compassionate person, he’s not in love with Terri, he’s living with another lady with whom he has children, and he denied her rehabilitative treatment. How could the courts have ignored this compelling evidence when there is no urgency that Terri be killed? Why does she need to be killed? There’s no evidence that her medical condition is causing her any pain or suffering; in fact that’s one of the arguments the pro-death advocates use: she doesn’t know what’s going on, she’s feeling no pain; just end it.

I am convinced, as evil as this sounds, that many of the pro-death advocates want to make sure Terri dies because they believe there is a potential slippery slope in these cases. That is, if we get persnickety about protecting life in this case, the pro-abortion movement will lose some of its momentum. I know what I’m saying and I mean what I’m saying. The pro-abortion movement is not pro-choice, it is pro-death, because it believes that choices to preserve life dilute its power. Women must not be deterred from decisions to abort because that might eventually lead to the outlawing of abortions again.

Can you imagine the predisposition of those who are only receptive to the “evidence” that Terri is in a vegetative state and have a completely closed mind as to the growing evidence that she is conscious and capable of rehabilitation? They might say the same thing about people who believe like I do: that I am close-minded as to the evidence that Terri is indeed in a persistent vegetative state. That’s not true. I consider it as a possibility, but if there is doubt, we MUST RESOLVE IT IN FAVOR OF LIFE, especially in the absence of a Living Will, and considering the conflict of interest of Michael Schiavo.

But I also listened carefully to the doctor (starts with an H) on Hannity and Colmes last night wherein he basically said, if I understood him correctly, that he is the only doctor who has examined Terri who isn’t being paid by one side of the dispute or the other. There are not, he said, a plethora of doctors arguing that Terri’s in PVS. And this doctor is specifically an expert in this area. He has a track record to prove it. He’s convinced Terri can learn to talk again. Now we have nurses coming out of the woodwork who are testifying as to Michael’s abominable behavior and about the positive aspects of Terri’s condition and her ability to communicate. Why are the pro-death forces ignoring these chilling facts? How can any judge allow her to be killed in such circumstances?

As for slippery slopes, I’m telling you this is a turning point in the Culture War. I want to emphasize that I’m not primarily motivated to write about this, though, because of what terrible things it portends for the future, but rather because each and every life is so precious. But we will have to deal with the ramifications of this case very soon.

I pray so sincerely that Terri be permitted to live, and to get better, then to communicate that she did in fact want to live. If she is killed we’ll never know what she truly felt and the pro-death forces will always repeat the propaganda that she was a vegetable incapable of rehabilitation. Something is horribly wrong with this picture. Our system is condoning, indeed inviting Godlessness more each day and we are spiraling out of control.

One last point real quick: I vigorously reject the idea that “our side” is motivated by politics. Such cynical notions are born of a guilty mindset on the part of our accusers who are, once again, engaged in an infernal process of classic projection. I am not concerned with the political ramifications of this right now. I — and I believe the overwhelming percentage of those on our side — am interested in Terri’s life. We are watching a state sanctioned murder unfold before our eyes. If we’re wrong, no harm no foul. If we’re right, a precious, innocent life will be tragically snuffed out, which I suppose wouldn’t even bother the Orwellian Left, which believes society ought to be able to make decisions to terminate those who are inconvenient or a burden on society. We can rationalize anything when we excommunicate God and devalue life created in His image. In my opinion, it’s hard to imagine this being a much bigger deal than it actually is.

This has been a disorganized stream of consciousness, for which I apologize. End of rant for now. Probably more later.