Monday, March 28, 2005

Die and Leave Me Alone!

Doug Gibson in a Standard Examiner article (registration required) offers a cogent opinion on furthering the culture of death in our country. He alludes to a moral imperative to care for those unable to care for themselves, which is a situation in which we may find ourselves someday. This is more deeply explored by Rabbi Aryeh Spero here. Peggy Noonan questions in a Wall Street Journal article (registration required) why some people are so rabidly passionate about killing Terri Schiavo. She concludes:
Once you "know" … that human life is not so special after all – then everything is possible, and none of it is good. When a society comes to believe that human life is not inherently worth living, it is a slippery slope to the gas chamber. You wind up on a low road that twists past Columbine and leads toward Auschwitz. Today that road runs through Pinellas Park, Fla.
Some people seem to think that it would be OK to starve Terri Schiavo to death if it could be proven that this was her will (which Florida state courts have admitted as fact). I do not understand why that is an issue. When someone wants to take action (or have action taken) to cause his or her own death, we call it being suicidal. We don’t assume such people are in their right mind. We assume they need mental health help. Unless you’re Dr. Kevorkian, you don’t advocate or assist them in killing themselves.

Refusing to hydrate and feed a person that would otherwise live is not the same as disconnecting machines that force a person’s organs to function. We are not talking about vital organ failure here. We are talking about forced malnourishment. Infants and many quadriplegics are unable to feed and hydrate themselves, but we would prosecute their caregivers for failing to provide the sustenance they need. This is true even for an animal for which someone is responsible.

Today Michael Schiavo is having his wife slowly murdered with the assent of our legal system. It was not OK for Scott Peterson to kill his wife, but somehow, because Mrs. Schiavo is in a persistent vegetative state, it is OK for Mr. Schiavo to kill her. Unbelievable. Regardless of what the federal and state judges have to say in the matter, it is morally and ethically wrong and it will lead to no good.

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