Thursday, June 16, 2005

Terri Schiavo at Peace

The New York Times and The Washington Post published reports today on the autopsy of Terri Schiavo. It was unusually thorough and involved a number of expert physicians. It showed that her husband was right about her condition and did nothing to cause it.

Many conservative ideologues and Republican politicians made fools of themselves in this case. Liberals and Democrats didn't perform much better. It became a political cause célèbre when it really was a private family matter. I won't repeat here the detailed argument in an earlier post, Terri Schiavo.

However, some people won't give up. According to The Washington Post,

Asked whether he had any regrets, Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), who visited Schiavo at the hospice in her last days, responded, "None whatsoever." He added: "If a state court decides to take the life of someone, there should be a federal review."

I have to wonder if Senator Santorum has given any thought to the contradictions between that statement and other tenets of conservative political philosophy. Probably not.

Despite the efforts of politicians and activists, Terri Schiavo is finally at peace.


Blogger John Walter said...

I've got to side with Santorum on this one, Tom. Santorum sees, and so do I, a chasm opening which will lead to legalized euthenasia in this country.

Assuming Michael Shiavo sincerely had his wife's best interests at heart, I think he made a mistake by requiring a closed autopsy and cremation of the body. I suspect questions will now follow this case forever. Twenty years from now, we will see books published with titles such as What Really Happened to Terri?

That poor woman may be at peace, but her memory won't.

9:12 AM, June 16, 2005  
Blogger Daldianus said...

Santorum is a moron.

9:46 AM, June 16, 2005  
Anonymous Raven said...

I agree with what you say about the Terri Schiavo case, it was crazy to see how it got so much attention. There was a similiar, almost identical case like this in my family. Years ago my dad's brother's wife suffered a brain damage, nobody knew why, the same evening, her husband told the doctors, that she had told him how she wanted to donate her organs, if she was in situation like this. Minutes later, they came and took her organs and she died that way. She left two kids and her husband, she could have lived for as long as Terri did, in that situation, but usually that's not how it works in this country. I live in Norway and nobody really make a fuss, about these things here, it's a private matter. If it's legal, it's legal. My dad's brother cared about his wife and everyone supported and understood the decision that was made. The Terri Schiavo case, was used as a political tool, in my eyes, for different political and religious groups. It had nothing to do with the right do live.

5:37 PM, June 16, 2005  
Blogger Anastasia said...

The Schiavo case, and others like it, always seem to inspire every single Right to Life organization and I find this (these groups and their actions) hypocritical. They’re supposed to stand for Right to Life, but when the life issue concerns many impoverished children in Third World Nations or ‘Underdeveloped’ nations (anyone can insert their own preferred term), these groups don’t really protest. There are people in the world that die so that ‘we’ can have our share of electricity and material goods. The reality was that Schiavo was in a vegetative state that would not have improved - ever- and yet there were people going on and on about it. I lean more toward the Peter Singer perspective when it concerns these cases. In functioning ancient societies, before the advent of supposedly moral religious institutions, people didn’t have to go through bureaucratic and ideological debate over such matters. Now, however, everyone has their own selective definition for what is ‘significant’ in terms of life. A woman in a vegetative non reversible state, for the Right to Life movement, is more significant than children (who have a life ahead of them and are the next generation) under the age of ten who are dying in the most trivial circumstances (abuse, prostitution, disease, starvation) and no one sees Right to Life talk about them or address them because ‘they’re’ living in a developing nation so far away so ‘who cares?’

It’s a joke. I couldn't believe the Schiavo case was a big deal even here in Australia.

definitely a political, religous and ideological tool

6:32 PM, June 16, 2005  
Anonymous Keith said...

Just a quick question. you state that her husband had nothing to do with it. Well, what caused it? You must know since you are so certain of her husbands actions.

11:30 PM, June 16, 2005  
Blogger Junebugg said...

I have no problem with letting Terri Schiavo "ease into the night". What bothers me is she starved to death. We give our pets more humane treatment. There should have been a shot or something that would have "put her to sleep". I relize that's not the popular view, but it is mine. If I get in a simular condition, give me a little help and let me go. None of that long drawn out stuff for me. Who knows for sure what she could feel or think if she was unable to communicate.

11:54 PM, June 16, 2005  
Blogger John Walter said...

L'etranger: You have some interesting thoughts, but I disagree with you on two points.

First: I see nothing hypocritical about Right to Lifers not being just as active in fighting world hunger. That is called "choosing your battles", and there is nothing wrong with choosing that battle which arouses your passion. For the record, I've never met a right to lifer who sniffed at the problem of world hunger. I have met many, myself included, who conttribute and are active both in pro-life and food-for-the-poor ministries.

Second, I have often heard that the devaluation of life in ancient civilizations is part of the reason why those ancient cultures are now refered to in the past tense. As Dennis Prager of has argued in several of his articles, it is unconditional respect for the weak and and the creation of objective moral norms-- an innovation by ancient Israel-- which made it possible for the people of Europe to finally begin a decisive technological and cultural progression. This progression allowed Europe to break out of the ancient cycle of one civilization succeeding another without truly advancing and, ultimately, create the modern world.

Which means: Peter Singer's philosophy really does mean a new barbarism, for his morals are those which would accompany a collapse of civilization in general.

5:47 PM, June 17, 2005  
Blogger Tom Carter said...

John, I don't think anything will shut down the conspiracy theories that will be promoted by the nutcake fringe in the future. I don't know what you meant about the "closed" autopsy. Information from the autopsy was widely released, including documents, graphics, and photos. And cremation may have been a smart move. Puts an end to this, and that's probably best. As for your second comment--persuasive argument, but I'm not sure I buy it.

Raven, I think I like the Norwegian approach better.

L'etranger, you're right that some people pick one extreme case to publicize and ignore major problems that would seem consistent with their beliefs and certainly deserve attention. Maybe it's an effect of extremism.

Keith, read the post again. I didn't say that I'm so certain. I simply commented on the autopsy findings. However, it would seem to me that the pathologist, supported by a number of other experts, made a pretty convincing case.

Junebugg, you make good points. Starving people slowly to death is certainly worse than giving them an injection and letting them die peacefully and immediately. They're both forms of euthanasia, so why is one worse than the other?

1:21 PM, June 18, 2005  

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