Blogs > Liberty and Power > One More Thought on Schiavo

Mar 20, 2005 5:00 pm

One More Thought on Schiavo

Our HNN neighbor Judith Klinghoffer writes, in a post titled THE TERRY SCHIAVO CASE MAKES ME LOVE DEMOCRACY:

"And yet, I find the specter of the most powerful people in the only superpower drop[sic] everything to focus on the destiny of a single badly disabled woman edifying."

I could not disagree more. Whatever one thinks of the merits of the husband's case, the idea that our esteemed legislators are concocting a bill to save the life of one woman, and calculating the electoral benefits thereof in the process, is precisely what I dislike about democracy. This is just the kind of abuse of Congressional power that gives democracy a bad name. It is antithetical to any reasonable understanding of the rule of law, not to mention the tax dollars being spent as lawmakers rush back to DC to vote on this bill while procedure allows them to.

And the notion of using the subpoena power to resolve a case of this sort is hardly what one thinks of when one thinks of the merits of democracy - at least not the type framed by a meaningful constitution.

Rant over.

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More Comments:

Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

We treat dogs better because at present, Terri Schiavo's cognitive state is irreversibly at a lower level than that of a functioning canine.

I wish those of you prone to emoting on this subject would confront the fact that Terri Schiavo is in a persistent, irreversible VEGETATIVE state. How exactly is such a state compatible with being a human person? So far, I haven't gotten anything remotely resembling a cogent answer to that simple, fundamental question from any of you "horrified" types.

An entity that can neither engage in a single species-specific activity, nor has any potential to do so, is no longer a member of the relevant species. And the idea that Terri Schiavo could "decide to put back the tube" is simply preposterous. Short of magic, a person in an irreversible vegetative state cannot simply jump up one day after n years, achieve lucidity, and make "decisions".

The judge can't give her a lethal injection because the same people who want to keep her alive think that there is a fundamental distinction in this context between killing-by-injection and letting-die-by-starvation, i.e., between euthanasia and refusing treatment. Equating euthanasia and even suicide with murder, they insist that anyone who wants 'out' in a medical context do so the hard way by refusing treatment and "letting nature take its course"--to use their ludicrous phrase. Not a savory thought? Well blame them, not the judge. It happens every day, hundreds of times a day, in hospitals across the country.

By the way, if you feel "sick" about this being the second go-round on starvation, you might want to ask such elementary questions as: Whose fault is the delay? Why exactly IS it the second time? And assuming that Michael Schiavo is telling the truth about his wife's wishes, who is responsible for stomping all over those wishes and using her body as a political football? Maybe you should feel "sick" about some of that.

Judith Apter Klinghoffer - 3/21/2005

The need to respond to the will of the electorate led elected officials to inconvenience themselves. The absence of such a need is leading a judge to delay action (of any kind!) while a woman is starving and parents awaiting. I have a daughter and the idea of a callous judge letting her starve (possible for no reason if she ultimately decides to put back the tube) horrifies me. No. This is NOT political for me but very personal. Indeed, I wish the judges had the gots to order doctors to give her a lethal injection if they determined she would wish to die. Two week starvation (this is the second time. Last time she starved for 6 and a half days)is making me sick. We treat dogs better!

Sheldon Richman - 3/21/2005

Why is Terry's action in the Cruzan case ironic? Wasn't he being consistent with his intention to use any means to further his principles?

John Arthur Shaffer - 3/20/2005

How ironic that the family's spokesman is Randall Terry, who if empowered would quickly put the apparatus of the state in force to insure Ms. Klinghoffer carry a pregnancy to term. Politics makes strange bedfellows indeed.

Another irony is that Mr. Terry fought the Cruzan parents tooth and nail to prevent their daughther's feeding tube from being removed. Members of his organization were arrested for trying to break into her hospice room to rehook up the equipment after the final court order came down and the tube was removed.