Written on: Updated on:
Since March 18th I’ve been following the American case about Terri Schiavo and her right to Life, or death depending on how you look at it. What has interested me mostly is the apparent lack of respect to a disabled persons right to live.
For those who don’t know what this is all about let me give you some background info. In 1990 Terri suffered a heart failure which left her lifeless for about 5 minutes. As a direct result of this Terri suffered brain damage and effectively became a vegetable. Although she is brain dead she is not on any kind of life support system but does require that food and water be pumped into her through a tube.
At the time of the incident her husband (and legal guardian) said that in a discussion with her one day she allegedly mentioned that should anything bad happen to her that she would want her machines turned off as she didn’t want to suffer. Based on this conversation her husband pursued a court interdict to have the tube removed and grant Terri the right to die.
Terri’s parents however feel differently about the situation and claim that she is not brain dead in the normal sense. They claim that she is responsive to them and with the proper treatment she could recover quite considerably. To cut a long story short the courts have approved the removal of her tube three times in a 15 year period and at the last minute Terri’s parents have always been able to get another court to order the re-insertion of the feeding tube.
I went directly to the family website: Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation and found an interesting timeline of events since the incident some 15 years ago. It is very apparent that the courts have thought long and hard about this issue and at the end of the day they all favour Terri’s husband and feel she should be left to die a long and painful death.
This is by far the biggest right-to-die case in the US and probably in the rest of the world and it leaves me questioning a lot of my own moral issues. My main thought is who but Terri can actually decide that she should die? Does the legal guardian really know what’s in the best interest of Terri? Should we not ALWAYS ebb on the side of life as opposed to death? America bases it’s whole constitution on the right to life and this does seem to contradict it somewhat.
Terri’s situation is dire. Six days ago the tube was removed and it is not looking good for her parents and the mission of trying to get the tube inserted once again. Today signified probably the last chance that they had and it was denied by the courts.
Looking at my own situation if any of my loved ones were in this place I too would fight to the bitter end to save their lives - NO MATTER WHAT! Life for me is always the most important aspect and no one has the right to decide this for you. Unless there is something strictly in writing (which there isn’t) then you have to let the person live despite what others may be saying. It is arrogant to assume that we as human beings have the right to decide when another person should die!
For me this is the fundamental problem with our society today. We try to play God too much and forget that we are just grains of sand in the universe. No one has the right to terminate another ones life and to do so is a disgrace on our society. The biggest problem with today is that we as citizens allow this to happen and do very little to change the situation on hand.
We as humans are the masters of our own destruction and we chose to ignore the real things in life like love, respect and humanity. Somewhere along the way these areas became grey areas and we are at a point where we have no way of actually turning it around.
It has been 6 days since Terri’s feeding tube has been removed and at best she will have about a week left before she dies of starvation.