Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Schiavo Shame

As I write this, Congress is assembling to make a political statement for right-wing fundamentalists, trampling on the life of a young woman and her family in the process.

For the second time in a decade, the Republicans have disliked the outcome of Florida's law and courts, and have chosen extra-constitutional methods to overrule and federalize the case. Not, as in the 1960s, to protect civil or human rights, but rather the opposite: to deny rights to the citizens of Florida. In 2000, the Supreme Court intervened to take away the right to vote as Florida defined it, requiring all vote counting to stop in order to certify the Republican as a winner. Now, in 2005, Terri Schiavo's right to die in peace, with dignity, is being turned into a right wing political football. "Culture of life?" No. It's about overriding a woman's choices, above all.

The greater tragedy is that the issue of "advance directives" and the right to die is very complicated and not amenable to solution by slogans like 'err on the side of life." You don't have to study this issue to long to realize this. The fact that Terri Schiavo has no right to undergo a lethal but painless dose of morphine, but can only starve herself to death, shows you how messed up the debate has become. These are serious issues that require open public debate. Not midnight votes as a sop to the the so-callled Christians of the religious right.


US West said...

Not only is this inappropriate, to say the least, in terms of extend federal power (something Conservatives are loathe to do), it is loaded with irony.

GW, to my knowledge, didn't offer a single stay of execution or pardon when he was governor of Texas, but he believes in a "culture of life". And he will fly back to sign a bill just for one person! As Christians, shouldn't these people let Terri go? By keeping her alive, they are trapping her soul in her body and preventing her from going to God. Oh, I am sorry, they expect the rapture any day now.

Here is another irony: Her heart attack was brought on by an eating disorder. And they are arguing over taking away a feeding tube! Hello! I can see Jay Leno doing a hell of a dance with that!

I can't help but feel that if Terri Schiavo were a poor black woman, no one would care. This is complete pandering. I am not a big fan of euthanasia. But a case like this makes me wonder.

Raised By Republicans said...

Frankly, I'm surprised no one has suggested harvesting her eggs before she dies. I mean all those potential humans have rights too don't they?

But seriously, this is why it is so important to have a living will. According to her husband, she never wanted to be left on a machine like this. But her parents either don't believe his account of their daughter's wishes or (more likely) don't care about their daughter's wishes and are thinking mainly of their own wishes and beliefs. The resulting disagreement between next of kin #1 and #'s 2 and 3 has made this mess. And of course the Christian Theocracy movement has pounced.

In my own family we nearly had to deal with this sort of thing. As my Grandfather's health failed he made it clear that if he collapsed in his home he wanted no "herioc measures" to revive him. He had a sign prominently posted on his fridge addressed to any paramedics tell them of his wishes. This caused a bit of a problem with my uncle who is an MD (and a Republican). He flipped out and was convinced it wasn't my Grandfather's idea...that he was being manipulated somehow. Grandpa had to confront him about it.

To further complicate it, my Grandfather's evil, gold digging 2nd wife was not trusted by our family. And when his health started to get really bad, she seemed to resent him more and more - actually throwing him out of her house on Christmas Eve (my Mom and I had to drive hundreds of miles to Michigan of all places to essentially rescue him). Had she been in charge of the final decision to stay on the machine or not, I'm sure my family would have fought her regardless of what decision she made. The only thing that would have prevented that was a clear statement to them by my Grandfather.

Now, if we go around adding government authority into this and also various political ideologies/theologies, it will only get worse!

Raised By Republicans said...

On a legal note: couldn't this be seen as bill of attainder (forbidden by Article 1, section 9, paragraph 3 of the Constitution??

I found this website about it

US West said...

This isn't about anything but politics. There were memos circulating around the Right side of the isle explaining the political ramifications. In addition, Jeb Bush intervened last year to have her put back on tubes. Can this have anything to do with 2008 elections? Humm . . . .

The legal ramifications of such an act are huge! It is an extension of federal power and a trespass, yet again, on the balance of powers laid out in the Constitution.

The whole thing is sickening. The bottom line is that doctors don't know what is really going on with this woman. My dad was in a semi-conscious state after a heart attack and was hooked up to all sorts of machines. They couldn't really tell us what would happen if we unplugged him. He had a living will. And he we did unplug him. The doctors said he could live weeks like that. He died within an hour.

I say that Mr. Schivo should be allowed to get on with his life. LTG, is there a law that would allow him to re-marry or divorce? I mean he can’t divorce her since she can’t sign the papers. She hasn’t abandoned him. She isn’t dead. So what are his options?

What Terri's mother has is a pet. This is as much a psychological problem on the family’s part as anything else What the far right has is a "new cause". And only the BBC has had the guts to say, that you care about one women while not caring about the thousands killed in Iraq. And to that I add, what is Terri was an illegal immigrant? Then the right would be complaining that government money was keeping an illegal alive, that is assuming that they would bother to notice.

US West said...

Oh, and incase anyone is interested in finding out how to do a living will, go to:

Dr. Strangelove said...

The courts, the doctors, and Terri Schiavo's family have been dealing with this complex, heart-wrenching issue for nearly 15 years. The repeated, consistent, and painful decision of the courts was no doubt arrived at by careful consideration of medical advice, morality, and the law.

I do not know enough to say what should be done. All I know is that the lengthy, deliberate process that has been used by the courts, however flawed it may be, is a hell of a lot better than the ad hoc legislative stunts that the Republicans are pulling out of their asses at the 11th hour.

How arrogant for anyone else to pass jugment after watching one short videotape or reading a newspaper article! How apalling for the Republicans to use Terri Schiavo's body as a political football! Tough questions deserve thoughtful answers, not mindless slogans. One cannot build a culture that respects life by ignoring the profound realities of death.

The Law Talking Guy said...

A bill of attainder is one that punishes an individual, usurping judicial functions. It is not, strictly speaking, any bill regarding only an individual. In fact, such "private bills" are routine in Congress, usually for mini-awards and planting trees and such.

The Law Talking Guy said...

It would be even more fun if Terry Schiavo were gay.