WARNING: Potentially controversial opinion.
As the brother of a (now deceased, in unfortunate circumstances) profoundly disabled man, I believe I speak with some authority and a sense of understanding here. These are not the utterings of a liberal pro-choicer (although I am both of those).
So, Terri Schiavo has finally died, a fortnight after her feeding tube was removed. And seven long years after the legal fight over her fate began.
This is something that should never have happened in the first place. The right for an individual to die with dignity, to die without life being unnecessarily prolonged when the individual is in a state which they have expressed a desire not to exist, should be enshrined as an inalienable right the world over by whatever means necessary.
I empathise with the feelings expressed by Terri’s parents and siblings, and their desire to maintain her life – she is after all, their own flesh and blood. However, it is frankly cruel to keep life going when the “owner” of that life has made it apparent that certain states of existence such as severe brain damage or extended and incurable disease, are not states in which the individual wishes to exist.
My support goes out to her husband, who can now achieve some sense of closure. In essence, he lost Terri years ago, but has been unable to move on because of the battle he has been fighting. I can only hope the more extreme elements out there who would seek to take action against Michael Schiavo heed the words of forgiveness uttered by Terri’s family this morning.