Saturday, March 19, 2005

Reactions from the Right on the Schaivo Case

As of yesterday the Judge ordered the Terri Schaivo's tube could be removed according to the wishes of her husband. This morning I was greeted with unusual (I don't know how else to describe them) pictures from Florida where it seemed people where in the throes of wailing and gnashing of teeth regarding the Schaivo case. Again, thousands of these cases occur each year in which a family member decides to pull the plug on a family member in a vegetative state. I am baffled why, if this is such a pro-life issue, why not then go to the crux of the matter and push for legislation on all such cases? Because they know that first of all, it is not the will of the people and secondly there is no basis to do that. But then, it really isn't about a pro-life reading on all such cases, is it? It is about this particular case because a point can be made in this case.

There are thousands of children, innocent children who have died in the Iraq war in the most horrible ways you can think as parents in despair watched helplessly. Many have died slowly in carpet bombings, in sicknesses, diseases, etc. Even if the conservatives don't like the adult Iraqis who deserve it, I'm sure they'd have some compassion to spare for the children? Or is out of sight, out of mind? Why expend all this energy on Terri Schaivo, who did not wish to be kept alive, but be unmoved by the horror of the plight of Iraqi kids dying slowly in this war? There is something so disproportionately out of whack in all of this. It simply doesn't make any sense.

Via HMS blog, I see that Peggy Noonan has a column on the Schaivo case. She says:

Here's both a political and a public-relations reality: The Republican Party controls the Senate, the House and the White House. The Republicans are in charge. They have the power. If they can't save this woman's life, they will face a reckoning from a sizable portion of their own base. And they will of course deserve it.

First of all, pro-lifers are never going to hold the Republicans responsible for anything because the movement is more about putting Republcians in power. They'll blame this on liberals and Democrats. Everything is the fault of liberals and Democrats.

On the other side of this debate, one would assume there is an equally well organized and passionate group of organizations deeply committed to removing Terri Schiavo's feeding tube. But that's not true. There's just about no one on the other side. Or rather there is one person, a disaffected husband who insists Terri once told him she didn't want to be kept alive by extraordinary measures.

That's a lie and she knows it. But lying for a pro-life cause is justified. This is as disingenuous as Senator Frist, a non-neurologist, diagnosing Terri Schaivo with nothing but a amateur home made video.

At the heart of the case at this point is a question: Is Terri Schiavo brain-dead? That is, is remedy, healing, physiologically impossible?
No. Oddly enough anyone who sees the film and tape of her can see that her brain tells her lungs to breathe, that she can open her eyes, that she seems to respond at times and to some degree to her family. She can laugh. (I heard it this morning on the news. It's a childlike chuckle.) In the language of computers she appears not to be a broken hard drive but a computer in deep hibernation. She looks like one of those coma cases that wind up in the news because the patient, for no clear reason, snaps to and returns to life and says, "Is it 1983? Is there still McDonald's? Can I have a burger?"

Again, this is so disingenuous that it baffles the imagination. Noonan is a smart woman and this for her is tantamount to wilfull deception. She knows, as does everyone, that Terri is not "brain dead." To be brain dead is to be officially dead and she knows that.

Then she ask, " is remedy, healing, physiologically impossible?" and answers, "No" How on earth does she come to that conclusion? Here's how she gets there: "Oddly enough anyone who sees the film and tape of her can see that her brain tells her lungs to breathe, that she can open her eyes, that she seems to respond at times and to some degree to her family. She can laugh. (I heard it this morning on the news. It's a childlike chuckle.)"

Again, how intellectually dishonest is this? This is the same type of lying nonsense that the Bush administration and the Republican party have constantly used in the past ten years. She is basing her conclusions on the tape! She knows what she's doing is dishonest. She knows, as well as anyone, that the Persistent Vegetative State is a state in which primitive brain functions exist, and one can sleep, wake, respond to physical stimuli, but is ultimately unconscious. That's the thing with PVS, they appear to interact with their environment, they even laugh, but physiologically, consciousness is simply impossible.

Further in her column she basically says that medicine is full of miracles and that someday they may be able to do something for Terri. In that statement, she's basically undone the Catholic principle of ordinary and extra-ordinary measures. If we adopt the Noonan/pro-life idea here, then everyone should be forced to say alive because we know in 10-25 years, medicine will be so advanced that many present ailments will have succesful medical therapies.

On a final note. I saw this on Don Bettinelli's site:

On Friday afternoon, less than a hour after probate court judge George W. Greer ignored federal subpoenas and ordered that Michael Schiavo remove the feeding tube from Terri which will cause her death by starvation, Terri Schiavo before multiple witnesses indicated that she wanted to live.

According to attorney Barbara Weller, one of the attorneys representing Terri’s parents, Mary and Bob Schindler Sr., when her parents and attorneys visited Terri at the Woodside Hospice where she resides to tell her they were going to remove her feeding tube, Terri began to cry and tried to say “I want to live.” Attorney Weller said she had a difficult time calming Terri down.

You've got to be kidding me!


Blogger Nate said...

You are aware that removing Terri Schiavo's feeding tube, or anyone else's, is blatantly against Catholic teaching, right? There are times when a Catholic can dissent, but there are also times when one has to draw a line if one is going to be Catholic... one does have to believe *something* that the magisterium teaches.

2:28 PM  
Blogger Ono said...

Nathan, my Christianity is not about dissent. I am not liberal because I want to be reactionary or protest. I live and do what I believe, magisterium or not.

Secondly, I am not burdened by labels, I am Christian first and Catholic next. Being in good standing with the Church is hardly of concern to me.

Thirdly, removing Terri's tube is NOT against Catholic teaching. This is simply a stunt by the pro-life movement. Bishop Lynch and the FL Bishop's conference have made it clear that the decision is Michael's.

This case has been going on for years before any "pro-lifers" cared. The Florida Bishops and Catholics have seen this thing unfold and so they are in a better position to judge the circumstances, which are being twisted by publicity seekers.

12:01 AM  
Blogger Nate said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:27 AM  
Blogger Nate said...

We couldn't disagree more on this issue, but I apologize if I said anything that was overly harsh.

5:52 AM  

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