Wednesday, March 23, 2005

We Have No Right To Die

We have no right to die. Our lives belong to our Creator and it is by His will that we live and die. Our laws do not give us a right to die. Our laws do not permit suicide. When a person attempts to leap from a bridge, we do all we can to intervene. We do not say "jump, that is your right". We have no right to die, and neither do we have a right to kill other humans by starvation.

It is now Wednesday morning and still there has been no word from the higher court in Atlanta which holds the life of Terri Schiavo in its power. It is difficult to understand why the first federal judge did not reinstate the feeding tube to keep her alive while court petitions continue. Her husband, as her guardian seems to be a conflict of interest, as there have been reports that at the time of Terri's collapse she was intending to leave him. Michael Schiavo has since established a family with another woman. It seems he should have relinquished guardianship to his wife's parents. Apparently there is bad blood between the Schiavos and the Schindlers, and that is why we have this predicament. Terri Schiavo may be quite able to drink and eat naturally, when the feeding tube is removed, but the court will not allow that. It is barbaric to deprive basic nourishment to a fellow human. If another Florida caretaker were to starve an invalid, he or she would be prosecuted for neglect, and homicide, if the helpless person died.

Some ethicists believe that the feeding tube amounts to "extraordinary means of prolonging life". So why not at least attempt to feed and hydrate the brain-damaged woman naturally? If she were not able to respond, and she died as a consequence, then it could be considered a natural death. But Terri Shiavo, by court order, is not allowed to be given sustenance of any kind. Meanwhile, the news reports are reassuring us that Terri feels no pain during the starvation. In fact, some say she will enter a state of euphoria. How can they know this, and how can they be so certain of this fact? That this trial is playing out during the holy week of Easter is focusing our minds, as we ponder that the mother of Terri Schiavo cannot place a drop of water on the parched lips of her own daughter.

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