Thursday, June 16, 2005
Autopsy Report for Terri Schiavo Reveals the Obvious  

The autopsy report on Terri Schiavo only reports the obvious fact that a disabled woman was dehydrated to death. With regard to the unanswered questions regarding her initial collapse, the report only indicated that Ms. Schiavo did not appear to suffer from an eating disorder as was alleged by Michael Schiavo and considered a fact by many courts. The report also indicated that there were no signs of abuse on her body.

Regardless of whether Michael Schiavo was the cause of her collapse or not, he certainly was heavily responsible for her death. His demonic bent on insisting that it was Ms. Schiavo's wish that she be denied food and water, which was supported by numerous lawyers and judges, drove Ms. Schiavo to her death. There really is no question of whether this was her wish or not. Although it is clear that it was not her wish and that Mr. Schiavo conveniently "remembered" her wish after receiving a monetary settlement, Ms. Schiavo's death is simply the result of an immoral act.

The problem which has come to light in this case is that for a majority of people what was done to Ms. Schiavo is completely acceptable. There seem to be several levels of acceptance. First, there are the right-to-die advocates who range from the naive to the evil. They consciously support euthanasia which is really a euphemism for killing people who have been deemed unnecessary.

The second group of people seems to be quite large because they have personal experience in situations similar to Ms. Schiavo. It was remarkable to me how many people came out during the height of the coverage of Terri Schiavo's murder who noted that "just last week my family and I had to make a similar decision." When the person gave the details of "the decision", it became clear that it essentially was a decision that Aunt Susan really should not live any longer and that it was fine to deny her some form of ordinary care. In other words, to a greater or lesser degree, these folks had done something similar as to what happened to Ms. Schiavo except there was no media glare and perhaps only a perfunctory review by a medical ethics committee as opposed to a court case. Most of the people in this group seem to really be simply ignorant of what is happening and they have a naive trust in medical personnel who unfortunately seem only too willing to help terminate a person's life.

The last group of people are those approach this issue with an apathy that really amounts to tacit approval of what was done to Ms. Schiavo. Most of this was characterized by statements which indicated that, "Surely Michael Schiavo would know Ms. Schiavo's wishes and that it really was not the business of Ms. Schiavo's family or the courts to be involved in this 'private' matter." I could not tell whether the people who made these statements were just lazy and went with the status quo or whether they had their heads in the sand.

All three of these positions are, of course, very disturbing. However, it is not position one, but positions two and three that are the most troubling. Position one is the expected completely opposite position from one which respects human dignity no matter a person's condition. Position two shows the widespread effect that the right-to-die supporters of position one have had over the last several decades. If you doubt that, check out how many states consider food and hydration to be "medical treatments" or how many states allow doctors to ignore the wishes, written or otherwise, of patients. Finally, position three shows that much of the battle has been won by pro-death advocates because the default position of many people seems to be in favor of allowing someone to be dehydrated to death. If a person does not have a strong opinion on the issue, more likely than not they will side with the right-to-die group.

This majority support for euthanasia is born out by survey research which I included in an earlier post. That post noted that a Gallup poll had found 75% of Americans in favor of euthanasia with Evangelicals (61%), Weekly Churchgoers (51%), and self-described conservatives (63%) having majorities in support of euthanasia. The upshot seems to be that Ms. Schiavo's death was simply another loudly proclaimed victory for the right-to-die movement. Those who respect human dignity, have a large, uphill battle ahead of them.

Posted by David at 2:15 AM  |  Comments (0)  | Link


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