Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Goodbye, Terri

Nearly all hope is gone that a federal court will stop Michael Schiavo from having his brain-damaged wife starved to death. James Taranto of OpinionJournal hits the nail squarely on the head in describing the actions of the federal bench:
"Whatever else one may say about the 11th Circuit's ruling in Schiavo v. Schiavo (link in PDF), it is not a work of judicial activism. Quite the opposite, it is a caricature of judicial restraint. The court bent over backward to construe the statute, and its duty in hearing the appeal, as narrowly as possible in an effort to frustrate Congress's intent. Call it judicial passive-aggression."
The rest of the article is equally on target.

There is a lively debate about the case at The Corner (National Review Online).

Here is a link to a page disputing many of the "facts" about the case as we have heard them in the media. (Hat tip: Grizzly Mama)

Kathleen Parker
has this to say:
Even granting Michael Schiavo the benefit of the doubt, however, his insistence that Terri be starved to death when her parents want to care for her borders on the bizarre. Speaking as a parent, imagining some future spouse trying to arrange my child's death puts me in mind of a mama grizzly, whose company would be far preferable to mine should the little outlaw prevail. (Note to self: Clip column for rehearsal dinner toast).
We can certainly see the appropriateness of stopping artificial "life support" operations on a loved one who is suffering and near death. Terri Schiavo was neither before the feeding tube was removed. She is not comatose. Some doctors, believe she is not in a "persistent vegatative state" and that her condition could improve. All agree she could have lived for many years (absent the decision to starve her).

If something drastic like this is appropriate for a patient, then all family members should agree that this is the case. Obviously, Terri's parents don't agree that what remains of her life is not worth having. Who can blame them for that? While they may be wrong about her chances for recovery, they certainly know more about her case than any of the rest of us.

Michael Schaivo is wrong. He may sincerely believe that he is doing the right thing, but he is not. With such a fundamental disagreement with Terri's parents on how to proceed, the only honorable course is to step aside and allow them to take over. The emotional investment of a parent in a child dwarfs that in a spouse of a few years. See Kathleen Parker above, and we know exactly how she feels.

This may be perfectly legal, but it is not right.

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