Sunday, March 20, 2005

Vita aut Mortis

Whether Terri Schiavo should be allowed to live or be starved to death has been fought over for many years. Her parents and siblings have been fighting for her life, her adulterous husband for her death. Details can be found at Two days ago, a judge ordered that she not be fed or given water.

Terri is declared by her husband to be in a “persistent vegetative state”, although this diagnosis has been contested. Whether it is true or not is hard to say considering the fact that he will not allow proper tests to be run on her. But really, whether she is in a “persistent vegetative state” or not is completely irrelevant. She is a living, breathing, responsive human being. She is not on life support, she is simply being fed directly into her small intestine instead of through her mouth, as are many other people.

When is it acceptable to end human life? Is it dependent on one’s mental status? If so, then infanticide, killing of retarded people, and killing of senile people must be acceptable. Is it dependent on one’s ability to survive independently? I once saw a young man who had been in an extremely bad car accident, and had a 2x4 crush his throat. He had to have a stomach tube (just like Terri’s) put in because he could not swallow. When I saw him, he was walking, had full mental capacity, and could (though barely) talk. Should his parents be allowed to have his tube removed and starve him to death because he cannot swallow?

A question that has been in my mind is “why is Terri’s husband (Michael) so insistent that she be killed?” He got a girlfriend a decade ago, and has had children with her, so the excuse of wanting his wife “out of misery” kind of gets thrown out the window. If he has managed to start his life with someone else he can’t have too many sincere feelings for her. Another interesting fact is that he wants her cremated as soon as she dies. Yet another interesting fact is that the only evidence for her not wanting to be kept alive artificially is his testimony. Since there is only speculation as to why Michael wants Terri dead, I will not comment further on this subject. Google “Michael Schiavo” if you would like to read some ideas.

Even if Michael is Mr. Innocent and has his wife’s best interests at heart, why is it so important to him that Terri die? She is obviously not suffering. By all accounts she’s happy. Her family wants her alive, and would be totally willing to take her off his hands and let him go on with his life. Why is it so important?

If Terri is starved to death, not only will an innocent life be taken, but also a precedent will be set for future cases similar to hers. Roe v. Wade has already resulted in the murder of more that 40 million people, let’s pray that this case does not result in similar consequences.


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