Tuesday, March 22, 2005

All things considered -- the Terri Schiavo case

The coverage of the Terri Schiavo case is driving me nuts.

I honestly don't know what to believe about this poor woman's condition. Each side has accused the other of cherrypicking witnesses and "experts" to support their own agenda. I don't know enough about the science of brain injury to ascertain whether Terri is still "with" us at all and, if she is, to what degree.

Nevertheless, there are a few things I just cannot in good conscience overlook:

1. We should not be starving human beings to death. I don't care if Terri has the mental capacity of a turnip, you don't do that to human beings.

2. I find the testimony of those involved in therapeutic and rehabilitative services compelling. I don't understand why a judge hasn't ordered and enforced some sort of regimen of therapy to try to improve her condition. (If any readers know of such an order, let me know.)

3. Michael Schiavo cannot mock his marriage to Terri by living with and having children by a live-in girlfriend and yet simultaneously claim that as her "husband" he has first dibs on her life-or-death decisions. That just doesn't wash.

It's this last point that haunts me. Yes, he has turned down cold, hard cash to keep his wife alive, but please ... why doesn't he just divorce her, live happily ever after with his cupcake and wash his hands of the whole mess? If Michael Schiavo had cared for this woman in his living room for the past 15 years instead of locking her away in a hospice (which is for people with six months or less to live, by the way), I'd be much more inclined to believe that he has this woman's best interests at heart.

But I just don't believe it. I just don't.

It looks like this may be the last stop for Terri. She's been without food and hydration for five days now.

God have mercy on us all.


megabethcom said...

You make some very good points. I find it interesting how nobody talks about the reason why Terry ended up in this situation. She had an eating disorder. With that knowledge, I tend to be a little less sympathetic for her, but I still agree that her husband should have filed a divorce and left the responsibility for her care to her parents.

El Jefe Maximo said...

You pretty well sum up how I feel emotionally about the case. I don't know who to believe.

However, as a lawyer, I'm bothered about what has happened in Congress. Given that the State courts have ruled, I'm not sure that the grant of jurisdiction to the Federal Courts in this matter is Constitutional, even if we could find a federal question in there. Also, as I said on my own blog, the Federal Courts need additional jurisdiction like I need a trip to Krispy Kreme.

But where does this go tomorrow, whatever happens with Ms. Schiavo ? Why isn't everybody in this horrible, horrible sort of situation entitled to federal legislation to address the problem ? Do we want a government of limited powers, or a Federal Make-a-Wish foundation ?

Geek Girl Blonde said...

This is hardly a laughing matter, but I couldn't help chuckling at your "Krispy Kreme" comment. :)

But truly, those are some cogent points you made, Jefe.