Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Ethics — Rick Moran @ 8:11 am

I find myself this morning asking a question that’s been gnawing at the outside of my consciousness for days now. Why is it that the advocates for Terri’s death don’t have the courage of their convictions and push for a quick, painless death rather than this agony of thirst and hunger being endured by an otherwise healthy but cognitively disabled woman?

Is it any more proactive to give Terri a lethal dose of drugs than removing her feeding tube? Both actions will have exactly the same effect; the death of Terri Schiavo. But where one would be very quick and relatively painless, the other option entails a grotesque litany of symptoms that most people wouldn’t wish on a rabid dog, much less a human being.

I think that the way someone dies is relevant. Even if you believe that Terri’s life should be snuffed out, how can you wish it to be done in such a harrowing manner? According to some estimates, there are as many as 25,000 adults living in the United States who are as severely or more severely disabled than Terri. I guarantee you that the relatives and guardians of these poor unfortunates are watching this case very closely. If the government in the person of the state and federal judiciary get away with this (and all indications are that Terri will not last much longer) there will be a virtual avalanche of petitions before the courts.

Am I being an alarmist? I sincerely hope so. But the burdens-both emotional and financial-of maintaining the life of a cognitively disabled person are very great. It would make it easier for even a loved one to rationalize the death of a spouse or a child by claiming that “this is what they would have wanted” if the standard of proof used by Judge Greer-the testimony of a conflicted spouse-is accepted as a baseline for proceeding against these individuals.

It does no good to say that each situation would be reviewed on a “case by case” basis. The fact is the legal precedent will have been set. I don’t think proponents of euthanizing Terri realize what makes this case different; it lowers the bar for ending life. To those of us concerned that the culture of death is making serious inroads into the mainstream of American values, allowing euthanasia to achieve the status of something that’s routine rather than a process that should be used in only the rarest of cases with clear and unambiguous legal and moral rationales, would be a travesty.

Which brings me back to having the courage of your convictions. If you’re really serious about wanting to lower the bar and allow this death to occur by starvation, I accuse you of being a moral coward. If you can justify to me that by sanctioning starvation rather than out and out euthanasia, advocating a position that’s coherent both morally and intellectually, I will retract that charge and apologize. But if you can’t find any arguments to buttress your support for starving someone to death and denying water to an individual until their tongue swells up and their lips erupt with excruciatingly painful sores, then perhaps you should ask yourself why.

Why not just demand the government open up euthanasia centers where people can bring the old, the senile, the incurable, the severely cognitively disabled - those weakest links in our society whose lives have no meaning because they can’t enjoy being human to the fullest due to an injury or affliction? I submit that this is the logical and inevitable outcome of the position you are advocating.

Do not try and tell me that “she won’t feel anything.” Those who’ve been present at these kinds of deaths (and I was horrified to learn that they occur every day in this country) know differently. Even a dumb brute of an animal feels pain, despite not knowing what is happening or why. That’s why we euthanize our beloved pets with a shot.

If we did to them what the government is doing to Terri, we’d be arrested, tried, convicted, and sent to jail. What does that say about the value we place on human life?

I’m listening. Convince me.


Ed Morrisey has a post about the nurse, Carla Sauer Iyer, who cared for Terri at a nursing home and claims that Michael was adamant about not giving Terri any rehab:

Iyer also claims that one time when she put a washcloth in Terri’s hand to test her reflexes, Michael Schiavo would get upset and say, “that’s therapy — take that washcloth out.”

The Captain also calls this case what it is:

The federal court has instead decided to disregard the clear language and intent of the emergency bill passed by Congress and abstain from a new process of finding fact in Terri’s case. In doing so, they will allow a non-terminal, disabled woman to die a slow death on the word of an estranged husband and his years-long repressed memory. It will be the first federal endorsement of euthanasia, a precedent setting case that will allow for the disposal of many such disabled people in the future.

Get used to it people. As I mentioned above, this case will open the floodgates.


Ace reports that via a tip from Alicia, if the Florida Senate passes the anti starvation measure today, Jeb Bush will go to the hospice and bring food to Terri himself.

This is really starting to get on my nerves. The intervention by the US Congress was distasteful, but necessary in my opinion. But with the National Right to Life Spokesman Randall Terry running around breathing fire against Republicans who he will hold “personally responsible” if Terri succumbs and asking President Bush to use “police powers” to save Terri, it appears that some of our right wing brothers are attempting to play a nasty political game here.

And into this charged up, emotional atmosphere, Florida Governor and putative Presidential candidate Jeb Bush rushes to the rescue like Dudley Doright rescuing Nell from evil Snidely Whiplash. Even if the Governor would be doing this from the purest of motives the appearance of doing it for political gain will now color every action he takes and every statement he makes.

That’s the price you pay for the scrutiny given by the national press. Your every waking thought will be analyzed as it relates to some mythical horse race. And in that context, the Governor’s instincts here are just plain wrong.

Let the parents feed their child if the law passes. They don’t need anyone from the government to help them do that. After all, they were doing it while Jeb Bush was still in books.


  1. I found this blog through a comment someone posted at LGF. Thank you for collecting all this information and sharing your insights about this gruesome affair. I’m behind you 100%.

    Comment by Don Muertoburgos — 3/23/2005 @ 11:44 am

  2. Ther are so many things wrong with The CAptains statement that I don’t know where to begin. First off Terri is by far not the first Euthanasia case to come before the courts. Not even remotly close to being the first. Go th Find-law, West law, Lexis-Nexis, or Med line and sheperdise the case for youself. This case is NOT setting precedent.. infact the judges are relying on decages of case law to back thier decisions up. And it’s a damn good thing that the courts ignored what Congress did because Congress had no business getting involved in what is esentially a states rights case. The courts should not be a puppet of congress. The courst should rely on the law to render thier judgements.

    Comment by judgemc — 3/23/2005 @ 1:16 pm

  3. Great post! Excellent questions. They keep talking about allowing her to die with dignity, but their point is mute when it comes to the cruel method they are advocating. I’m firm on my convictions she should live. But for them to call their death wish mercy is just sickening.

    Comment by Jay — 3/23/2005 @ 1:23 pm

  4. Bonfire of the Vanities
    Welcome, one and all, to the Bonfire of the Vanities–a collection of this weeks absolute worst posts, submitted by what would normally be asute, intelligent, coherent bloggers. Though from this pile, you’d never know it–its worse than the second 15…

    Trackback by The American Princess — 3/29/2005 @ 4:35 pm

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