Tuesday, March 22, 2005

A Damaging Intervention

A Damaging Intervention
Washington Post editorial
Tuesday, March 22, 2005; Page A16

THE PROSPECT OF a disabled person slowly dying by virtue of a court order issued over the strenuous objections of her parents is enough to trouble even the most ardent advocate of the "right to die." So Congress's lightning-fast passage of special legislation to force the federal courts to review Terri Schiavo's case might make a certain intuitive sense. Certainly one can feel only sympathy for the relatives torn apart by this case. But Congress has an obligation to rise above sympathy and intuition. Its precipitous action this weekend, supported by President Bush, was damaging and unprincipled.



At 2:48 AM, Blogger Lee Killough said...

I know so little about the facts in the Schiavo case (just hearsay), that I wouldn't pretend to know whether it's more "fair" to let her die naturally, or to keep her alive.

I don't like how it has become politicized. How Congress can pretend to know any better...

No-one should be coerced into helping Terri die, or coerced into helping Terri live. Nor would an advance directive from Terri, asking not to be kept alive under circumstances such as these, lessen the moral dilemmas facing those caring for her.

Every action in this endgame stalemate requires the coercion of someone somewhere. The only purely libertarian solution would be to give Terri the next move and hope she can stay alive herself, or ask for help.

In these situations, I think the only thing that can be done is for a judge or jury to review the facts carefully and make a decision.

If the decision starts being ruled from without, by those not acquainted with the details of the case, then it becomes a travesty. Terri becomes a political pawn.

I don't think either political party has principle. Whichever one is in power at the moment, bends their own rules the most.

At 4:16 AM, Blogger Mira de Vries said...

Lee, i.m.o. your summery here is quite fair. I'd like to add just one point.

When a person is unable to speak for himself, the next of kin takes over. The real conflict here is not what is best for Mrs. Schiavo (we can't know that anyway), but who is her next of kin? Her husband or her parents? The courts have spoken on this. All the rest is speculation, hearsay, and politics.


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