Saturday, March 19, 2005

More on Terri Schiavo

A Red Mind In A Blue State says

“People should have the right to die with dignity--but only the person should have the right, and it should be enunciated clearly, soberly, and unequivocally.”

”Not based on the word of a man who wants to get on with his own life.”

This is the crux of the disagreement, and it points out some of the things we have been saying back and forth for several weeks now.

Why do the wishes of parents take primacy over the wishes of a spouse?

When we think of Terri as as the Schindlers’ daughter, we think of her life as an empty vessel, with all sorts of possibilities. It would be a shame to remove the tube from someone who never had a chance to choose.

When we think of her as a 40-plus year old spouse, we have to recognize that she made certain choices.

Even if she did not unequivocally state that she was willing to die in these circumstances -- because, after all, who could predict these circumstances – because, after all, who could make a choice clear enough to satisfy these people anyway -- the fact that she is someone’s spouse implies certain predispositions and certain choices.

It is reasonable to think that a person in love with another person, a woman in love with a man, would not want that man to spend the rest of his life deprived of company, spending the rest of his life caring for her, not as an equal, but as a hospital patient, while she could do nothing for him, while her level of sensation, while her level of acknowledgement, her ability to give back, was very limited.

It is reasonable to think that if the issue was put to her that way, she may consent to removing the tube. It is even more reasonable to think that if the issue was put to her right now, after so many years of having to live this way, with prospects dim (even if not at absolute zero), she may consent to removing the tube.

But in order to make these assumptions, you have to admit that she is someone’s wife, and that being someone’s wife could matter more than being someone else’s daughter.

It is also reasonable that the law can make this assumption as well.

I missed the part where Michael Schiavo became the poster child for spousal abuse and gold-digging. Given the track record of the people making the accusations, I have to wonder where the mud comes from.

But even if some of it is true, Terri Schiavo did make a choice –-- she chose him --- and that has to matter for quite a lot.

Because if your choice of spouse doesn’t matter for anything, then you wind up with --- well you wind up with exactly what you have now.

I don’t see why it is such a bad thing for him to get on with his life. I don’t see why she wouldn’t want him to.