That subject again...
In this post from a couple of days ago, I said I would not be posting on the Terri Schiavo case again for a while. Well, I guess you can define two days as "a while". It seems I have more to link and a little more to say.
First, the links:
- Andrea Harris has posted her opinion on this subject. She hits on some uncomfortable truths here:
I think that all this brouhaha reveals that fear of 'tards is alive and well in the twenty-first century. "Ew gross, a 'tard! Kill it!" seems to be an almost atavistic reaction to the sight of a mental defective or the thought of becoming one.
Something in our culture just drains the humanity out of people; how else to explain the fact that starving someone to death is considered to be kinder than just giving them an overdose of morphine, or putting a bullet in their heads. The real reason this method is preferred, of course, is that everyone can pretend that Terri Schiavo isn't being deliberately killed; they are simply "letting nature take its course." Nature -- that we have spent the last ten thousand years or so trying to thwart. Now we let it win one?
- I've never heard of David Gelernter, but I like the way he thinks. Power Line quotes from a recent column of his in the dead-tree version of the Wall Street Journal. Some excerpts:
Professor Gelernter advocates the cause of Terri Schiavo's parents. He asks: "[W]ho dares say you have no right to commune with your gravely ill child? To comfort your child? To pray for your child? Who dares say you have no right to hope that she will recover no matter what the doctors say? Who dares say you have no right to comfort, commune with and pray for her even if you have given up hope? Yes, the woman is mortally ill. Who dares say that her life is therefore worthless, to be cut off at her husband's whim?"
"Thoughtful people have argued: Once you start footnoting innocent human life, you are in trouble. Innocent life must not be taken . . . unless (here come the footnotes) the subject is too small, sick, or depressed to complain. One footnote, people have argued, and the jig is up; in the long run the accumulating footnotes will strangle humane society like algae choking a pond."
(Link via Amy Welborn.)
- William Luse links to some articles about where Terri stands now. He also links to an article about another Terry: Wesley J. Smith - Waking from the Dead:
Terry Wallis recently woke up. For most of us, this would not be news. But for Terry it was a huge event: He had been unconscious for nineteen years due to injuries sustained in an auto accident. Indeed, upon awakening, he believed that Ronald Reagan was still President.
Wallis’ recovery should give great pause to the bioethics movement and members of the medical intelligentsia, many of whom seem determined to read people like Terry out of the human family. In mainstream bioethics philosophy, being a human being is not itself sufficient to a claim of moral worth. What matters primarily is whether a “being” possesses sufficient consciousness or cognitive capacity to earn the label of “person.”
Bioethicists have one version of how society should treat our most vulnerable brothers and sisters; the Wallis family has another. For nineteen years while Terry lay unconscious, they cherished him, visited him in the rehabilitation center where he resided, and even brought him home on special family occasions. In short, Terry wasn’t ever viewed as a burden, he wasn’t cast into the outer darkness of nonpersonhood, he wasn’t deemed killable, he wasn’t seen as being morally equivalent to the dead, but remained a beloved member of his family and society. Indeed, doctors say this special attention may have been a factor in his unexpected awakening.
Now, I have a few more things to say. What has Terri gained from this? A chance, that's what. A chance that she's never really had. Yes, she is still in the clutches of her husband and his lawyers, who don't want to give her one. But the war isn't over yet.
I think that the rejection of starving and dehydrating a helpless woman to death is a rejection of the moral decay, the disregard for human life, that has been going on for sometime in this country. The banning of PBAs is another rejection of this decay. It seems so obvious. It's -- hello? -- WRONG to starve and dehydrate someone to death. It's WRONG to partially deliver a baby, pierce his skull and suck his brains out. I just can't wrap my mind around the rationalizations made for these actions.
This rejection of forced starvation and PBAs actually gives me hope. Perhaps we are turning back from the brink. Many people have said the Schiavo case is significant because a line was being crossed. Once crossed, there may be no going back for our society. The fact that we didn't cross the line this time is a good sign. But what about next time?
Sometimes I lose hope. I often feel like evil always wins. But evil didn't win this time.