Turn, turn, turn…

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.

2 Replies to “Turn, turn, turn…”

  1. My family went through a similar fight over my uncle Stan. He had Parkinson’s and angina and was hospitalized after a massive stroke with no chance of recovery. The family were united in wanting to let him die with dignity but the doctors wanted to do everything possible to keep him “alive”. After a while the family persuaded the hospital to back off to just a saline drip and finally we persuaded them to put him on just a morphine infuser. He lasted another ten days. Before the stroke he’d been calling up various family members and saying goodbye. He would not have wanted his suffering to have been prolonged. He’s at peace now – and so is Terri Schiavo after so much terrible suffering. I hope everyone will take a deep breath and let her have that peace.

  2. But there are two seperate problems with that.

    1. There was no proof or documentation that she wanted to die instead of living.

    2. Because of that, we should err on the side of living not death.

    3. Her husband had already moved onto a new relationship, and because of that, guardianship should have been removed.

    Why are so we eager to have these people die. Suffering is sad, but dieing, when there were opportunities for healing or cures, is very sad.

    There is always ways to life, but it’s self-destructive to pursue a right to death.

    Then we could look at anyone who wasn’t perfectly healthy or happy or unbalanced and say they don’t deserve to live because they’re not completely healthy.

    I realize we don’t want people to suffer, i sympathize with that.

    But before we push for a Right to Death, let’s really think about what the true consequences of this will be like.

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