Monday, March 21


Xpatriated Texan, which I've just added to the blogroll, makes a couple of very thoughtful points about the Schiavo case that I haven't heard considered:

The problem with the Republican Party “defending life” to this extreme is that they simply are not thinking about what it means beyond this case. If Terry Schiavo has a right to her life, even if she doesn’t want it, then every other person on earth has the same right to the life they do want. For the federal government to step in now only makes sense if they are ready to step into every single life and guarantee that no one every goes hungry or without medical care. This expense of this proposition is staggering.

The problem is also that it fails to address two propositions that might actually make the case about a humanitarian effort. The first one is that there is no way a doctor can legally hasten Mrs. Schiavo’s death. Rather than granting her the same humane death that the State of Florida uses to execute heinous criminals, she must starve to death. Why should a man who kidnaps, rapes, tortures, and kills a seven-year-old girl be granted greater mercy than a woman whose only fault was a dietary imbalance and no immediate access to health care?

The second is the possibility that human stem cells might hold a cure for Mrs. Schiavo. My understanding is that her cerebral cortex is damaged. One of the possible uses for stem cells is to rebuild such damage. How can we say that Mrs. Schiavo has a right to live, but not a right to a treatment that would help her become fully functional? Again, a man who kidnaps, rapes, tortures, and kills a seven-year-old girl will be offered rehabilitative care if he is injured in prison – why should an innocent woman be any different?

The only reasonable answer to these questions is that they don’t really care about Mrs. Schiavo as a person – they only care about her as a cause. Anyone who really didn’t want to see her suffer would seek either her full rehabilitation or her merciful death. There is no reasonable way to defend the idea that she can die – but only through the most painful method available.


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