Monday, March 21, 2005

Terri Schiavo

Here's a lesson for all you folks out there. If in the event that you become incapacitated or injured beyond the point where you are able to care for yourself and you have special wishes, make a living will so that whatever it is that you require will be taken care of for you.

Sadly, Terri had no such will.

Who is going to decide what happens to her now? Her husband has asserted his view which is allegedly Terri's view. Terri's family wishes to keep her alive and give her therapy.

The video I've seen of her was surprising in alot of ways. From the descriptions of a vegetative state I expected to see a lifeless body connected to tons of life support equipment. But instead she just appears to be a heavily brain damaged person that moves and responds to stimulus. Her only life support is a feeding tube; something that is used frequently for stroke patients that have long lost their ability to swallow.

I'll admit that I know precious little about her health. There are tons of doctors that have chimed in and have said that she has no hope of recovery and a few others that say her condition could improve with therapy. All of the doctors agree that without the feeding tube, she will die. (This tube was ordered removed by a judge in Florida)

Now the Federal Congress has tried to intervene with a bill that would prevent her from dying as a result of starvation/dehydration. This bill is addressed to Terri specifically. I have a huge problem with this.

***Warning - the next paragraph mentions the constitution...if this bores you or you don't care about the constitution then please skip down two paragraphs.***

Let me bore you now with a little bit of talk about the US Constituion. The constitution states that no bills of attainder shall be passed. This kind of bill was usually used in the British parliament where lawmakers would decide the guilt of a person without the benefit of a trial. The founders of our nation did not want our federal government dealing with matters that involved a single person, but instead these decisions were to be handled by the courts. This was to ensure the separation of powers.

***This ends the talk of the constitution -- begin reading below***

The big problem here is that our federal congress wishes to pass a bill that will impact only one person, therefore overriding the courts. Republicans often complain about "activist judges" that make laws from the bench, but apparently they have no problem making judicial rulings in congress. Of course both practices are wrong. Hopefully the Supreme Court will declare this bill unconstitutional. At the very least this should be decided at the state level.

Personally, I want Terri to live, yet I understand that my wants mean nothing here. All of the doctors agree she is not terminal and there are no legal documents declaring her wishes to die. This is not assisted suicide. To remove her feeding tube is to let her die of starvation and dehydration.

This would be anything but "death with dignity."

3 comments:

Robert the Grump said...

This is an interesting case to say the least. You are absolutely right that Congress has no business making up laws to affect one person. Obviously, this is nothing but a play to the voters, most of the members of Congress could give a rip about Terri Schiavo or what her husband feels about this.

And that gets back to your orginal point. If someone dies without a will, or is incapacitated like Schiavo, who is responsible for the estate and who is the person legally responsible for the welfare of the dead/incapacited person?

Answer: her husband. He says that she had no desire to live like this, and that should be the final word.

The rest of the world has a right to disagree, but NO RIGHT to prevent Schiavo's husband from doing his legal duty and making the difficult decisions in this case.

There is something really dangerous going on here, and it's not that Terri Schiavo will die; if you believe practical science, it is clear that she died years ago and only a shell with no human personality remains. The danger is that Congress will actually reconvene to illegally interfere in one person's business. Do you really want that?

Do you want Congress to have the right to step into your personal business one day, and tell you what to do regardless of the situation, the law and the constitution?

Sorry about Terri Schiavo and her parents, but this is wrong.

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