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A Man Needs A Fish Like A Woman Needs a Bicycle
Monday, March 21, 2005
SOME THOUGHTS ON THE SCHIAVO HYSTERIA: I was taking my occasional stroll over to TAIR for my daily dose of robust debate. I was immediately taken with a comment from LC Staci (no webpage link), who asked:

"but bottom line, how is keeping Terri alive and allowing her to recieve therapy infringing on Michael's rights? HOW??!!"

I don't know about his rights--but what about Ms. Schiavo's rights? If she had written down that she would want to die in the medical circumstances that she now finds herself--would folks who are currently demanding intervention be alright with her decision? I ask this question of all of those who favour intervention to stop her feeding tube being removed?

If you say, "no way, she doesn't have that right" then I could think that your point of view is consistent and I don't have a problem with what is after all, a point of view.

But if you hold that in that case (of having made her wishes to die known to others before this situation developed): "Yes, she should be allowed to die, since she wishes not to live a degraded life" then I am at a loss as to what distinction you are making in order to support your position to keep her alive now.

My point is this: I get the sense that a lot of this debate is motivated not so much by a desire to respect Terri Schiavo's rights, but by a desire to give Michael Schiavo his comeuppance (deserved or not). We do not know what Michael Schiavo's motivation is for sure. Even if the man was an evil son of a bitch who was everything his detractors said he was (and I don't get the sense that he is--rather, he is a human being struggling mightily with weighty issues, and trying to handle them with some dignity)--would this matter if Terri's wish was actually to have her life terminated in these circumstances? I can understand a natural reluctance to trust Michael Schiavo, but what if this is in fact what Terri Schiavo wanted?

One other observation: a good summary of the terri schiavo case can be found at wikipedia . It appears to suggest that her cerebral cortex is basically gone (which is what the state courts based their decisons on). The cerebral cortex is the seat of our higher function. It is what contains the elements of our personalities and what makes us basically "who we are." Would one want to be alive if that which makes us recognizably human is gone?
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