The illusory political appeal of the Schiavo case

The illusory political appeal of the Schiavo case

: An ABC poll shows strong opposition to Congressional and Presidential interference in the Schiavo case:

The public, by 63 percent-28 percent, supports the removal of Schiavo’s feeding tube, and by a 25-point margin opposes a law mandating federal review of her case. Congress passed such legislation and President Bush signed it early today.

That legislative action is distinctly unpopular: Not only do 60 percent oppose it, more ó 70 percent ó call it inappropriate for Congress to get involved in this way. And by a lopsided 67 percent-19 percent, most think the elected officials trying to keep Schiavo alive are doing so more for political advantage than out of concern for her or for the principles involved.

This ABC News poll also finds that the Schiavo case has prompted an enormous level of personal discussion: Half of Americans say that as a direct result of hearing about this case, they’ve spoken with friends or family members about what they’d want done if they were in a similar condition. Nearly eight in 10 would not want to be kept alive.

In addition to the majority, the intensity of public sentiment is also on the side of Schiavo’s husband, who has fought successfully in the Florida courts to remove her feeding tube. And intensity runs especially strongly against congressional involvement.

Included among the 63 percent who support removing the feeding tube are 42 percent who “strongly” support it ó twice as many as strongly oppose it. And among the 70 percent who call congressional intervention inappropriate are 58 percent who hold that view strongly ó an especially high level of strong opinion.

Views on this issue are informed more by ideological and religious views than by political partisanship. Republicans overall look much like Democrats and independents in their opinions.

But two core Republican groups ó conservatives and evangelical Protestants ó are more divided: Fifty-four percent of conservatives support removal of Schiavo’s feeding tube, compared with seven in 10 moderates and liberals. And evangelical Protestants divide about evenly ó 46 percent are in favor of removing the tube, 44 percent opposed. Among non-evangelical Protestants, 77 percent are in favor ó a huge division between evangelical and mainline Protestants.

Conservatives and evangelicals also are more likely to support federal intervention in the case, although it doesn’t reach a majority in either group. Indeed, conservative Republicans oppose involving the federal courts, by 57 percent-41 percent.

[via Joe Gandelman]

  • Brad

    Has anyone done any diggging on Judge Whittemore and his politics?

  • EverKarl

    The politics — and they are certainly mixed when you consider that Tom Harkin sees it as a disability issue — have little to do with the polling numbers Jeff has posted. The numbers politicians are interested in are saliency numbers. That is, how strongly do people feel about their position. You see the same dynamic with issues like gun control or abortion. A poll might show, for example, that a majority approve of some gun control measure, but any Congressman knows that it’s probably not a voting issue to that majority, but is a voting issue to NRA members in their state or district. The topline of the polling is just the beginning for a Congressperson.

  • Mike

    I would hazzard a guess that about 95% of those who answered the poll have no idea the facts of this case.

  • plunge

    If anything, those that answered the poll have been grossly misled as to how functional Terri is, and that Michael is basically some sort of serial killer.
    Judges aren’t all political. Whittemore was appointed by Clinton, but back then there wasn’t as much emphasis on getting heavily partisan judges into office, just good judges.

  • http://www.conservativefriends.com drew

    I think the last paragraph in the article is quite telling of the results.

  • eduardo

    Judges aren’t all political. Whittemore was appointed by Clinton, but back then there wasn’t as much emphasis on getting heavily partisan judges into office, just good judges.
    Uh huh. Why Clinton didn’t have a political bone in his body!
    And his appointees were all high minded dispassionate centrists with only the good of all in mind and no perceptible ideological tendencies at all.

  • http://www.akkamsrazor.com rzklkng

    Mike, why do you think that 95% don’t know the facts?

  • gawdamman

    I have a real problem believing any poll taken by the MSM…..for obvious reasons.

  • http://maarten.typepad.com Maarten Schenk

    Hi,
    As part of my ongoing experimental web-based RSS aggregator site builder, I threw together this page listing the latest news in the case:
    http://www.superblog.org/planet/schiavo
    It might interest some people here…
    In case you want to make your own page based on RSS healines/articles, go here.

  • Mike

    rzklkng, call it a hunch, OK. It was simply a way of showing that I believe a poll run by ABC news is complete crap, especially considering the bias they have displayed in the government’s role in all of this.

  • Celcus

    A good rundown of the legal facts can be found here:
    http://abstractappeal.com/schiavo/infopage.html
    As usual they bare little resemblance to what is being reported

  • http://d2brutallyhonest.blogspot.com David 2

    Well that’s fine and dandy that a poll says that most Americans feel that Congress abused its power over the matter.
    The problem is that members of Congress don’t care one whit about what some polls says! They didn’t stick their finger in the wind to see which way it blew before assuming control of the issue.
    This was a case of the GOP pandering to their special interest masters. The evangelicals told the GOP to jump, and the GOP responded with “how high, masters?” Now the GOP is telling America to jump, and they also expect the rest of the country to respond with “how high, masters?” They are used to telling the rest of the world what to think, and they don’t care whether the great unwashed agrees with it or not. They feel that their role is to tell us what to think, and our role is to simply go along with it.

  • http://www.fatsteve.blogspot.com/ Stephen M. St. Onge

          The unspoken assumptions of the poll are:
          It was properly conducted (I don’t trust ABC on this issue.)
          The public has all the relevant facts (all the MSM covereage I’ve seen report as undisputed “truths” things that are highly controversial)
          And most importantly, that public opinion won’t change.
          I think this issue will hurt the Dems, and help the Republicans.  The ugly, hidden face of the pro-death movement will be exposed.
    THE SAUDS MUST BE DESTROYED!

  • John

    One simple question:
    Assuming that her parents are willing to care for her and support her and that she is not in pain or distress, who is harmed by Terri’s remaining alive?

  • alcibiades

    As far as fisking the ABC poll, Orin Kerr has done it already at the Volokh Conspiracy.
    Not surprisingly, the questions are all highly biased to the response that ABC agrees with, as even Mickey Kaus pointed out on 3/19.
    This kind of poll leading is basic.

  • http://mossback.org Richard Bennett

    Terri.

  • http://mossback.org Richard Bennett

    That is, Terri is harmed by the prolongation of her suffering, in answer to John’s question.
    If she is kept in her current condition by Sunday’s act of Congress, then the nation is also harmed as its federalist, constitutional foundation is eroded.
    And the parents are harmed because their delusions are fed.
    But Tom DeLay, the former exterminator, is helped, so that’s something.

  • Gunther

    One simple question:
    Assuming that her parents are willing to care for her and support her and that she is not in pain or distress, who is harmed by Terri’s remaining alive?
    Answer: Terri Schiavo. Assuming that her husband, the only person who can legally speak for her, is telling the truth, then she had indicated before her heart attack that she didn’t want to live in such a condition should that ever happen. Therefore he is simply following her wishes. To deny those wishes you either have to disregard them, or prove that he is lying about what her intent was. That hasn’t happened. And never will.

  • sabrina

    Richard and Gunther beat me to it.
    Yes, it is Terri who is harmed.
    And before someone comes back with the “what gives him the right to decide” meme, remember that this is not his decision. This is the courts judgment after taking into account his testimony as well as that of dozens of others who knew her. The court, after carefully weighing all evidence numerous times, decided that this is what Terri would have wanted.

  • John

    I suggest that Terri’s suffering is greater now that her feeding tube has been removed.

  • http://www.democracyguy.com tim

    i’m takin’ bets at my homepage, http://www.democracyguy.com, that the Republicans go forum shopping when this Clinton appointee gives them a decision they don’t like. 100% guaranteed.
    they are shameless. utterly, completely, shameless.

  • Kat

    Well, I just hope all you leftists have a party and praise whomever it is you praise, if you are successful in murdering an innocent woman. You should feel all warm and fuzzy.
    Meanwhile, your desire to see this woman starved, sickens me. There are hundreds of people living with feeding tubes. Let’s kill them all.

  • James

    Randy Daitch:
    “How can you trust the word of a man who claims to be acting in his wife’s interests but abandoned her ten years ago to raise a family with another woman?”
    I fail to see the relevance, and therefore the point, of this post. What would Randy have done, stayed celibate, childless and companion-less, married to a person who is for all practical purposes effectively brain-dead.
    I bet that Randy knows people who are divorced for far lesser reasons, yet he respects and trusts them nonetheless. There seems to be no limit to Randyís hypocrisy.

  • jimmy

    Judging from the information I have seen, it appears that this is well all but brain-dead, with no hope recovery. What exactly is the point of keeping her biologically alive (i.e., her heart beating)?

  • James

    Kat:
    “There are hundreds of people living with feeding tubes. Let’s kill them all.”
    I agree, in part ñ but have a better idea. Let’s just let the braindead ones die. I really don’t think we should “kill” the ones who are on a feeding tube, but are not braindead.
    It just seems more fair — but, of course, there are other people, with and without feeding tubes, that should be considered for special admission to this program.

  • Catherine

    I don’t see how a vegetative state (not brain dead – she has brain waves and functions) is torture or prolonging pain. The people above are going in circles when they suggest this. If she is in a vegetative state and is in mental pain DUE TO THIS (does not make sense) wouldn’t she be in MORE pain STARVING (mentally AND physically) to death? Her body and brain is alive – her BODY is supporting her life on it’s own (no ventilator, etc). She just needs to be fed.
    YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO STARVE ANIMALS who are paralyzed, but the court says it’s OK for her husband to STARVE her?
    Back to the husband – HE HAS A “FIANCE” with whom he has two children. He also has rec’d a $3mm malpractice suit from Terri and it was only AFTER he won his claim that he wanted her feeding tube remove. He stands to gain. THERE WAS NO LIVING WILL. It’s ALL hearsay.
    The parents and sisters just want to feed and care for her.
    No matter what, the court and “the people,” should take life over death if there is a choice. It is not as though you can “pull the plug.” Her body wants to live. Let her live. The “husband” should divorce and move on and put the $3mm in trust for her care.

  • http://www.godsowndrunk.blogspot.com Richard

    I find it telling that the same people who are so worried about her suffering by starving to death tend to be the same people against assisted suicide, which would make her transition to death painless.

  • sabrina

    Some people have a very peculiar definition of life. This poor woman’s cerebral cortex is damaged beyond any hope of repair. Period.
    Much of her grey matter has been replaced by fluid. She may be alive, but she is not “living” by any stretch of the imagination.
    It is irrelevant that her parents want to take care of her – it simply is not their choice. Terri has had her case heard numerous times by different courts and different judges. The conclusion is that she would not want to have been kept alive artificially.
    And yes, a feeding tube in her stomach is an artificial means of life support – from both a practical and medical standpoint. She cannot feed herself, she cannot ask for food, she could not pick up food, she could not swallow food and if you managed to get food down her throat she would most likely asphyxiate.
    Please, read the court documents. The site mentioned in a previous post is the best source of unbiased information I have seen on this case.
    http://abstractappeal.com/schiavo/infopage.html

  • John

    Richard,
    Suicide is a choice by made by the individual involved.
    In Terri’s case all we have to go on is her husband’s dubious claim of his knowledge of her wishes.
    If she had created a legal document that expressed her wish not to remain alive under certain conditions, we would not be discussing this.
    She didn’t, and I for one would like to see clear evidence of the harm done, and to whom, by allowing her to live in the care of her birth family.

  • http://RuthCalvo Ruth

    Actually, I have drafted any number of living wills and if anyone would like me to email them a copy for their own use, I will be glad to. A Directive to Physicians is the title.

  • kevinp

    Jeff:
    This issue is very difficult but we should at least use accurate terms. When the ABC poll says that Schiavo has been on “life support” that is just flat wrong and misleading. Giving someone food and water with a feeding tube is not “life support”. I take care of my 87 year old father and I feed him because he can not do it himself. This is not life support. If you ask most people what they think life support is they will say that the patient is hooked up to some machine and if you unplug it she would die.This is not the case with Shiavo. I heard Bill Maher say “pull the plug” the other night. If the people polled were given the accurate terms they still might answer the same way but when you use words like coma or life support they give a false impression and they are just not true.

  • sabrina

    Kevinp,
    I’m sorry you are wrong.
    The feeding tube inserted into her stomach is life support – practically and medically speaking.
    http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=38577
    The difference between your grandfater and Terri, is that your grandfather can eat his own food. He may not be able to feed himself, but he doesn’t require a feeding tube inserted directly into his stomach.
    By your own definition of life support, Terri’s feeding tube constitutes life support. She is hooked up, by artificial means, to a tube that, if removed, will cause her death. How is that not life support.

  • Kat

    I also have read affidavits which disagree, and you can’t kill someone and then say, oops, we erred. Michael WILL NOT ALLOW HER TO HAVE WATER

  • Kat

    “The important thing for people to understand is that she can eat and swallow right now,î said William Hammesfahr, a neurologist who has examined Schiavo. He is in many of the videos circulated through the news media showing that Schiavo is at times responsive and aware.
    “They are truly withholding food from a person who is awake, alert, and can eat and swallow,î Hammesfahr said. After spending at least 10 hours with Schiavo several years ago, he told Florida Judge George W. Greer that she can improve with therapy.
    Hammesfahr said his credibility had been questioned at the time, but he has since been vindicated in court and currently maintains a thriving private practice in Clearwater, Fla. Despite reports attacking him, he said he has never lost his license to practice medicine and currently is involved in litigation surrounding the ordeal.
    Hammesfahr was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology in 1999 for his work in brain injury and stroke. He is a recognized expert in treating neurological disorders, having successfully treated thousands of patients using vasodilator therapy, which increases blood flow to the brain, thus healing conditions previously thought to be untreatable.
    Standing with a handful of supporters outside of the hospice late in the evening Mar. 19, Hammesfahr told the Witness Schiavo previously has swallowed pudding and daily swallows almost two liters of water by virtue of being able to process her own saliva and sinus drainage.
    “Thatís liquid and thatís the most difficult thing to swallow,” Hammesfahr said of her saliva. “If she can swallow that she can swallow food or pudding.”
    Other doctors who testified before Greer in 2003 had limited exposure to Schiavo and did not complete standard evaluations for brain injuries, Hammesfahr said. The court-appointed doctors maintained Schiavo is in a persistent vegetative state (PVS), with no chance for recovery.
    “Terriís not that bad,” Hammesfahr said. “She is like a child with cerebral palsy. She can speak. At least when I saw her, she would speak very slowly. She would sort of form words, she would move her arms and legs at command. She could understand questions in English.î
    Hammesfahr said there are at least 50 physicians he knows of, in private practice and related to medical universities who have said Schiavo is not in a PVS or in a coma.
    In 1990 Schiavo suffered brain damage after her heart stopped. Nearly a decade ago, Schiavoís husband and legal guardian, Michael Schiavo, petitioned the court to halt the dispensing of nutrition and hydration through a feeding tube to his disabled wife.
    Her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, as well as family and supporters have argued that she could improve were she provided rehabilitation services. Michael Schiavo has refused to provide those services since around 1993, they say.
    Although Michael Schiavo says his wife would want to die, no written request from her exists. Terri Schiavoís parents have challenged his continued guardianship of their daughter, citing conflict of interest. Michael Schiavo has lived with his girlfriend, by whom he has fathered two children, for 10 years.
    Greer ruled Feb. 25 that Schiavoís nutrition and hydration be discontinued and in subsequent decisions ruled she cannot undergo more medical testing and cannot be fed by mouth. Greer also rebuffed a request by Floridaís Department of Children and Families for a 60-day stay of his motion so that they could investigate allegations that Michael Schiavo has abused and neglected his wife.
    Hammesfahr said that about 30 percent of his cases are more severe than Terri Schiavoís, and that she most likely could improve, whether by his approach or another.
    “You can get almost anybody with a brain injury or a stroke better,” Hammesfahr said. “I think thatís the long and short of it.
    “Itís not that [Schiavo simply] deserves a chance, she deserves rehabilitation,” Hammesfahr continued. “Sheís not going to get the rehabilitation if she gets killed off here.”
    Each day Schiavo is off the feeding tube increases the chance that she will end up in a coma, Hammesfahr said. He described what happens to the human body when it is deprived of food and water.
    “People who die of starvation, their acid eats through their stomach, they develop infections in their body, their body starts to dissolve from the inside out, they develop seizures, [and] frequently it breaks their back,” he said. “They have to have medications to essentially put them into a coma to not have their body break their back or something of that nature.”
    He explained that the process of putting someone in a coma after withholding nutrition and hydration is part of an “exit protocol” that involves delivering powerful drugs like Morphine and Valium to the patient when they are expected to die.
    “The danger for Schiavo is that if she is in a coma, she will not have the type of monitoring that could help her recover if the feeding tube is reinserted.
    “Putting a person in coma is very dangerous,î Hammesfahr said, and after 7-8 days she might end up in an irreversible coma or with further brain damage.
    Angel Watson, a Pinellas Park, Fla., resident who works with the Caring and Sharing Center for Independent Living, said she once was considered to be in a PVS, after a skiing accident left her paralyzed, but that she made remarkable improvements because of her strong will to live.
    Referring to the two other times Schiavoís feeding tube was removed and surgically re-inserted, Watson said it is wrong to treat Terri as if she would not want to live.
    Watson questions Michael Schiavoís insistence that he loves his wife and cares deeply for her. Michael Schiavo, Watson said, has had ample proof that his wife wants to live.
    “Sheís the embodiment of a living will,î Watson said. “She is a living will. Heís tried to kill her twice and she has the will to live.
    “What more [evidence] could you possibly want?”

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    Jeff,
    ABC’s poll had the following headline:
    Poll: No Role for Government in Schiavo Case
    They could have written the following headline instead:
    Poll: Not Following Schiavo Case Very Closely
    That’s because the first poll question reveals that only 16% of the respondents said that they have been following the story very closely.
    The second poll question is the most interesting:
    2. Schiavo suffered brain damage and has been on life support for 15 years. Doctors say she has no consciousness and her condition is irreversible. Her husband and her parents disagree about whether she would have wanted to be kept alive. Florida courts have sided with the husband and her feeding tube was removed on Friday.
    I have a question about this question: what do you think is the most leading aspect of this question (where “leading” means biased or pointing someone to a preferred response)?
    That it summarizes the case for taking the tube out without mentioning why the parents object? That it glosses over the fact that several reputable neurologists have expressed various reservations?
    I personally think the most leading part of the question is very subtle, a very deft touch: the way the question refers having a feeding tube as being “on life support for 15 years”.
    I didn’t even notice it the first time I read it, because I know that the Florida statute which defines life support specifically mentions and includes feeding tubes.
    But of course, that’s not what most people think of when they hear “on life support for 15 years”. That phrase conjures up visions of ventilators and heart monitors and Intensive Care Units.
    Well done ABC pollsters! The person who wrote this question deserves a raise!

  • http://michaelzimmer.blogspot.com/ Michael Zimmer

    Kat: “and you can’t kill someone and then say, oops, we erred.”
    Do you oppose the death penalty on the same grounds? You can’t undo an execution if there was judicial or evidentiary error discovered afterward.

  • PeteK

    Kat, so how do you feel about the death penalty?

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    Jeff, and fellow readers,
    I also have a more general question.
    If a federal court is deciding on whether or not you personally should continue on life support, whether or not to grant an injunction to put the plug back in, do you want a major new organization to conduct a national poll on whether or not you should live or die?

  • Kat

    No, Michael, as much as I’d like to see Jessica Lunsford’s killer strung up by the balls and hung till they fell off, I don’t support the death penalty. I can’t support the death penalty unless I’d be willing to adminster the lethal injection–and I can’t do that and therefore I can’t ask anyone else to do it.
    I do think murderers should never get out of jail.

  • http://mossback.org Richard Bennett

    If the feeding tube isn’t “life support” there’s no reason for not disconnecting it, right?
    I mean, if it’s not keeping her alive who cares if it’s removed?
    Oops, maybe that poll is accurate after all, and those with the ghoulish fixation on keeping this poor woman’s heart beating really are a minority.
    We’ll see in 2006.

  • http://blog.reidreport.com ReidBlog

    I feel like I’ve arrived on another planet! Since when is it the conservative position that the federal government — or for that matter your parents — can override your wishes as expressed to your SPOUSE! I thought conservatives respected the institution of marriage! And state’s rights appears to have flown right out the window! The poll shows most Americans get it — this was Michael Schiavo’s decision to make on behalf of his wife, whom he knew best (Quick: who do you express your daily wishes and hopes to more, your spouse and friends or your parents?) Easy answer. Your SPOUSE. And yes, he has found another relationship, but what is he supposed to do when his wife’s cerebral cortex is LIQUID and her brain cavity is filled with spinal fluid? Enough of the political grandstanding already! Give this woman some dignity and let her go in peace — and let’s get the federal government out of her hospital bed! Can I get a conservative witness?

  • Kat

    Michael ceased being her husband when he took another woman for a common law wife.
    I value marriage, but not bigamists.

  • http://mossback.org Richard Bennett

    Right, Kat, old Michael should have spent the last fifteen years masturbating out of respect for his marriage vows.
    Some “culture of life”.

  • Kat

    You can’t have it both ways. He can have another wife, but he can’t have the one he abandoned for the new one. He didn’t even spend a year–he had a new gal pal real quick, but he hid her while pretending to be a loving husband. After all there was a million plus he would get for ‘acting’.

  • richard mcenroe

    Government has been involved in this case ever since Michael went to Greer’s court, so the question is moot.

  • EverKarl

    Just thought I would note that the folks here who want to paint this as a GOP-only affair are the ones taking a partisan line. Sen. Tom Harkin is about as far from a Republican as one can get and supported the bill. Or take a look at how many Democrats voted for it in the House. That doesn’t make it right, of course — I’m merely noting that it’s more bipartisan than Congress usually is.
    And on that note, perhaps people should note that when Congress has acted in a bipartisan manner recently — on this bill, the bankruptcy bill, etc. — the general reaction is negative? Just something to keep in mind the next time someone complains about partisanship in DC.

  • plunge

    “That it glosses over the fact that several reputable neurologists have expressed various reservations?”
    No credible reservations have been raised. The most any qualified neurologist has said is that they could maybe do an MRI to get more detail. None of the experts that her parents have paraded around have even addressed her clinical findings, and most have simply viewed the few edited video-clips before making laughable statements about how acupuncture could maybe help.
    “I personally think the most leading part of the question is very subtle, a very deft touch: the way the question refers having a feeding tube as being “on life support for 15 years”.”
    Terri has been on life support for 15 years. A feeding tube is life support, as defined in Florida law.
    I guess, to you, though, stating objective facts like legal definitions, instead of just whatever someone like Randall Terry makes up off the top of his head, is “bias.”

  • kevinP

    Jeff:
    My objection to the use of the term life support in the poll is because of most peoples perception of the term.If ABC asked the very same people what they thought the term life support meant most of them would have responded with some machine that helps you breath, thus Mahers use of the phrase “pull the plug”. I doubt many of them would have mentioned a feeding tube. I am not saying for sure that this would make them change their mind on what the right thing to do is.Life support brings up images of comas. Schiavo is not in a coma. I am not sure what is the right choice. I am very conflicted myself. I just do not think the poll questions were neutral. The more I see of them they looked more like a push poll rather then a neutral poll

  • http://blog.reidreport.com ReidBlog

    Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube isn’t filled with burgers and fries, it’s pumping her full of a complex mix of chemicals, liquids and medicine to keep her hydrated and alive. You bet she’s on life support. And as for Michael Schiavo’s new life, what in the world was he supposed to do? He tried for seven years to rehabilitate her and it failed. He has chosen not to be lonely. So sue him. Besides, his personal life is irrelevant to the main point, which is that the federal government has no business intervening in this case and flouting the rulings of more than a dozen state judges!

  • http://blog.reidreport.com ReidBlog

    …and another thing, this fanatical “culture of life” mania strikes me as odd for evangelical Christians who supposedly believe that heaven awaits the dying… why such extreme measures to prevent the onset of natural death?

  • Kat

    His personal life is important if he is common law with another woman.

  • Jim S

    Search engines are your friend when seeking facts. Dr. Hammesfahr is a favorite of the pro-life web sites. He’s cited all over them, which is undoubtedly where Kat got her information. Of course there is a severe mistake in at least one part of her post that quotes Hammesfahr ad nauseum. Dr. Hammesfahr’s nomination for the Nobel prize has NOTHING to do with his vast experience in neurology and how much good he’s done for people. It has everything to do with the Schiavo case. The only basis for his status as a Nobel nominee is one letter from a Florida Republican congressman who votes for every and any bill put forth by the pro-life faction of his party. That’s it. And when you do a search for him that nomination is very prominently mentioned on every pro-life web site that puts him forth as an expert that proves their viewpoint on Terri Schiavo.
    The truth is that in spite of the affadavits and questionable experts that are being cited over and over again by people like Kat there was an independent guardian appointed by the courts at one point who did diligent research. He questioned the workers at the hospice she’s at, questioned the doctors, watched all of the video that’s been taken and spent many hours with Ms. Schiavo herself trying to elicit a response that would prove that she did in fact have some trace of awareness and admits that he really hoped that he’d find that proof and that there was some hope for Terri Schiavo to recover some mental capacity. He didn’t find it. In the end after all of his effort he had to agree with the doctors who see no hope for her recovery and consider her to be in a permanent persistent vegetative state.
    In addition I see the question posed over and over again about what harm it does to let her family keep her going like this if they want to spend their money that way. It’s not their money any more, it’s Medicaid. Do you support increases in its funding? I certainly hope so. It being Medicaid’s money doesn’t weigh with me a whole lot but just remember that the guy who signed that bill getting the Federal government involved proposed cutting billions from it.

  • Ann Marshall

    I have been a nurse for many years and know that it is very hard to decide if a patient is vegitative or not. The doctors have been wrong before on many things. Mongoloids – Nerve repair etc. Having had unconscious patients come back and tell us they heard all that was going on when it was thought they could not should be a warning. When in doubt and there are not written instructions, then err on the side of life.

  • Kat

    That guardian expert recommended further testing and Michael would not allow it.
    And to imply that a feeding tube in the stomach is something out of the ordinary is just bull. My relative who had a serious infection after a gallstone surgery had a feeding tube through her belly button for several weeks.

  • Rootbeer

    “Michael ceased being her husband when he took another woman for a common law wife.”
    BZZZT. Sorry Kat, common law marriage does not exist under Floridian law.
    Please don’t bother using any other legal terms unless you mean their legally accepted definitions, either.

  • Jim S

    Kat’s claim about the guardian demanding more testing is a lie. Not a misrepresentation, a lie. I just listened to an extensive interview with him on the radio today. He made NO mention of that, not one. He quite explicitly did say what I posted earlier, which is that he found no evidence of higher brain function. The “evidence” provided in the videos that her parents use to support their claims could not be repeated in all of his attempts to do so. Also, there is a huge difference between a feeding tube for three weeks and one for fifteen years.

  • GoodBuzz GreyTeeth

    I am worried that Terri’s immortal soul is trapped in her useless shell of her body. Very sad. For religious reasons, we must release Terri’s soul.

  • Mara

    So 501 adults on Palm Sunday who answered the phone and agreed to talk to ABC reflects the country’s opinion. During the elecition, I heard any poll without 1,000 participants wasn’t very good.
    You have a small sample, a holiday weekend – I’d like to see some more in depth polls. More people, more people who will answer a poll on a non-holiday/holy day.
    Also, one of the questions may lead to a bias reply. The woman is not on life support – she breaths on her own, her heart beats on its own – she has a feeding tube. If you don’t ask the question the way they did and instead said “Terry Schiavo breathes on her own and her heart beats on its own. Do you believe her husband has the right to cut off her food and water?” I’m betting you get a different answer.
    Don’t know where I stand on this – I’m bothered the government got involved, I’m bothered the husband seems all hellbent on ending her life, I’m bothered that her parents may be doing something she doesn’t want – but I’m also bothered by the poll.

  • Kat

    If you are able read the middle column and quit being such a baby and calling anyone who disagrees with you a liar.
    http://www.thehastingscenter.org/pdf/publications/hcr_may_jun_2004_at_law.pdf
    Michael’s assisted suicide advocate lawyer disagreed to allow testing.

  • owl

    ditto John….that simple question….”who is harmed by Terri staying alive?” Some of you say Terri. I say you can’t have it both ways. Are you telling me people were allowed to torture Terri for 15 years? She was never allowed a lawyer like some advocate for the terrorists.
    I agree you are not allowed to deliberately starve animals to death. You are not allowed to torture and starve terrorists. Vile criminals receiving the death penalty are NOT starved.
    Now if the state says to kill her…….kill her. But have the balls to give her a lethal injection like you would the most horrible criminal. Make it quick, like you would for a killer.
    This woman has extended family. Mother. Father. Sister. Brother. All tortured. How would you like to know someone might starve your child. At least give her the same rights as a convicted killer. Either let her live or kill her.

  • http://www.elflife.com/ carsonfire

    fanatical “culture of life”
    I am worried that Terri’s immortal soul is trapped in her useless shell of her body. Very sad. For religious reasons, we must release Terri’s soul.
    Michael should have spent the last fifteen years masturbating out of respect for his marriage vows.
    I came into this kind of late, thinking that Terri Schiavo would probably have to be taken off of her tube. The medical evidence is pretty overwhelming, after all.
    A short time listening to the utter heartlessness exhibited in these comments, though, has completely turned me around. Also, I didn’t know about Michael Schiavo’s wife and kids on the side. “Until death do us part” is supposed to mean *something*. If he didn’t love her enough to choose love and faithfulness over the need to rut, he should have divorced her properly and allowed the parents to have the therapy done way back when it might have done more good. A boy might not be able to resist making masturbation jokes; a *man* does what his heart tells him he must do.
    This basic deception in itself should have invalidated his claim of guardianship over her. How stupid are these judges to allow this to go on for 15 years? This really doesn’t say much for Clinton appointees at all… any judges involved in this extended tragic farce should hang their heads in shame and resign.
    And parsing the details of the law to make this bigamist in reality not-a-legal-bigamist is pretty illustrative of the way that facts are used by one side in this argument.
    I’m glad to know that there are Democrats supporting the fight for Terri Schiavo, after all. As bad as things have been for the Democrats lately, I’d really hate to think that this twisted parade is the true face of Democrats today.

  • h0mi

    Do you oppose the death penalty on the same grounds? You can’t undo an execution if there was judicial or evidentiary error discovered afterward.

    You also can’t undo Terri Schaivo’s death if there was any error in these cases discovered afterwards.
    Then again, a jury never convicted Schaivo of a crime either.

  • josie

    excerpt from affidavit from Registered Nurse Carla Iyer:
    “Throughout my time at Palm Gardens [one of Ms. Schiavoís nursing homes], Michael Schiavo was focused on Terriís death. Michael would say ìWhen is she going to die?,î ìHas she died yet?î and ìWhen is that bitch gonna die?î These statements were common knowledge at Palm Gardens, as he would make them casually in passing, without regard even for who he was talking to, as long as it was a staff member. Other statements which I recall him making include ìCanít anything be done to accelerate her death – wonít she ever die?î When she wouldnít die, Michael would be furious. Michael was also adamant that the family should not be given information. He made numerous statements such as ìMake sure the parents arenít contacted.î I recorded Michaelís statements word for word in Terriís chart, but these entries were also deleted after the end of my shift. ”

  • josie

    excerpt from affidavit from Registered Nurse Carla Iyer:
    “One time I put a wash cloth in Terriís hand to keep her fingers from curling together, and Michael saw it and made me take it out, saying that was therapy.
    “Terriís medical condition was systematically distorted and misrepresented by Michael. When I worked with her, she was alert and oriented. Terri spoke on a regular basis while in my presence, saying such things as ìmommy,î and ìhelp me.î ìHelp meî was, in fact, one of her most frequent utterances. I heard her say it hundreds of times. Terri would try to say the word ìpainî when she was in discomfort, but it came out more like ìpay.î She didnít say the ìnî sound very well. During her menses she would indicate her discomfort by saying ìpayî and moving her arms toward her lower abdominal area. Other ways that she would indicate that she was in pain included pursing her lips, grimacing, thrashing in bed, curling her toes or moving her legs around. She would let you know when she had a bowel movement by flipping up the covers and pulling on her diaper and scooted in bed on her bottom.
    “When I came into her room and said ìHi, Terri”, she would always recognize my voice and her name, and would turn her head all the way toward me, saying ìHaaaiiiiiî sort of, as she did. I recognized this as a ìhi”, which is very close to what it sounded like, the whole sound being only a second or two long. When I told her humorous stories about my life or something I read in the paper, Terri would chuckle, sometimes more a giggle or laugh. She would move her whole body, upper and lower. Her legs would sometimes be off the bed, and need to be repositioned. I made numerous entries into the nursing notes in her chart, stating verbatim what she said and her various behaviors, but by my next on-duty shift, the notes would be deleted from her chart. Every time I made a positive entry about any responsiveness of Terriís, someone would remove it after my shift ended. Michael always demanded to see her chart as soon as he arrived, and would take it in her room with him. I documented Terriís rehab potential well, writing whole pages about Terriís responsiveness, but they would always be deleted by the next time I saw her chart. The reason I wrote so much was that everybody else seemed to be afraid to make positive entries for fear of their jobs, but I felt very strongly that a nurseís job was to accurately record everything we see and hear that bears on a patientís condition and their family. I upheld the Nurses Practice Act, and if it cost me my job, I was willing to accept that.”

  • plunge

    Man, some pretty powerful stuff there. I wonder why it hasn’t shown up in any of her parent’s lawsuits or any of the court documents on public record, but seem to exist purely in activist call to arms.

  • Jim S

    The article that you cited, while undoubtedly well-intentioned misrepresents the guardian. It is not so much that he recommended the swallowing test as he was answering a question put to him. The full text of his report can be found here:
    http://www.miami.edu/ethics/schiavo/wolfson%27s%20report.pdf
    I strongly suggest that anyone who wants to make informed comment on this issue read it. All 38 pages. The swallowing test was recommended only if all parties involved, meaning the Schindlers and Michael Schiavo and the Governor’s office, could agree on how the test results would be used. Given that the Schindlers had already testified that even if their daughter had clearly, unequivocally expressed her desire to not be on any form of life support (Which in spite of your claims, Florida law DOES consider a feeding tube and hydration to be.) they would not be willing to respect that wish it is far from clear who was really responsible for the failure to reach agreement.

  • Jim S

    Given that it is relatively easy to find the text of the court judgements, a picture of Terri Schiavo’s brain scan with a normal scan for comparison and the entire report of the guardian ad litem who was appointed by Bush the ignorance displayed by so many people here is appalling. Instead they post “affadavits” by people who would certainly have been accounted for previously if they had any credibility at all. Instead their claims are limited to right wing activist web sites. There have been 19 judges and multiple lawsuits in this case. Yet not one of these trials have resulted in these people being called to give testimony or if they have been the judges (Who have NOT all been liberals and/or Democrats.) have not found them to be credible. Yet on every site where this case is being discussed the same things are posted over and over.
    carsonfire, thank you for once again proving what an idiot and a liar you are. You were never open to any idea concerning the Schiavo case except for what the Republican party has adopted as their party line. You betray yourself with the comment about what you claim is the judges’ incompetence reflecting on Clinton appointees. You utter fool, the only judges involved in this case up to this point have been Florida state judges. Bill Clinton has never managed to appoint a state judge outside of Arkansas.

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    Saturday night, on an earlier comment thread, Plunge referred me to Abstract Appeal, a legal blog that has been following the Terri Schiavo trials very closely:
    http://abstractappeal.com/
    One of the Schiavo documents that the blog links to is a report by Jay Wolfson, who was appointed as a temporary Guardian Ad Litem for Terri Schiavo in October 2003 by the Chief Judge of the Florida 6th Judicial Circuit:
    http://abstractappeal.com/schiavo/WolfsonReport.pdf
    Mr. Wolfson’s report provides a very good summary of Ms. Schiavo’s condition. He also recounts the history of her treatment and the history of the litigation over her fate.
    Here’s a particularly interesting excerpt from pages 29 to 30 of the report:
    A particularly disarming aspect of persons diagnosed with persistent vegetative state is that they have waking and sleeping cycles. When awake, their eyes are often open, they make noises, they appear to track movement, they respond to deep pain, and appear startled by loud noises. Further, because … those brain-related functions [which are controlled by the autonomic nervous system] are not affected, they can often breathe (without a respirator) and swallow (saliva). But there is no purposeful, reproducible, interactive, awareness. There is some controversy within the scientific medical literature regarding the characterization and diagnosis of persons in a persistent vegetative state. Highly competent, scientifically based physicians using recognized measures and standards have deduced, within a high degree of medical certainty, that Theresa is in a persistent vegetative state. This evidence is compelling.
    Terri is a living, breathing human being. When awake, she sometimes groans, makes noises that emulate laughter or crying, and may appear to track movement. But the scientific medical literature and the reports this GAL [Guardian Ad Litem] obtained from highly respected neuro-science researchers indicate that these activities are common and characteristic of persons in a persistent vegetative state.
    In the month during which the GAL conducted research, interviews and compiled information, he sought to visit with Theresa as often as possible, sometimes daily, and sometimes, more than once each day. During that time, the GAL was not able to independently determine that there were consistent, repetitive, intentional, reproducible interactive and aware activities. When Theresaís mother and father were asked to join the GAL, there was no success in eliciting specific responses. Hours of observed video tape recordings of Theresa offer little objective insight about her awareness and interactive behaviors. There are instances where she appears to respond specifically to her mother. But these are not repetitive or consistent. There were instances during the GALís visits, when responses seemed possible, but they were not consistent in any way.
    This having been said, Theresa has a distinct presence about her. Being with Theresa, holding her hand, looking into her eyes and watching how she is lovingly treated by Michael, her parents and family and the clinical staff at hospice is an emotional experience. It would be easy to detach from her if she were comatose, asleep with her eyes closed and made no noises. This is the confusing thing for the lay person about persistent vegetative states.

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    Jim S:
    I read your comments.
    Shame on you!
    carson fire is one the most thoughtful and gracious writers on this thread, how dare you call him a fool and an idiot and a liar!
    It’s true Clinton didn’t appoint Florida’s state judges, but you’re just revealing your own willingness to unnecessarily attack people by dumping on carson fire. Not to mention supplying evidence for carson fire’s point about being turned off by nasty rhetoric.

  • Jim S

    Matthew, you belong to the same side of the debate as carsonfire. What a shock that you defend him and his dishonesty. Gracious? “A short time listening to the utter heartlessness exhibited in these comments, though, has completely turned me around.”. What utter heartlessness? Daring to disagree with him? I provide him proof about nasty rhetoric? His post also is full of factual errors besides making some BS claim about “Clinton appointees”. I notice that while you quote the part of the GAL’s report you leave out the section where he speaks of how aggressive Michael Schiavo was in the first years of Terri’s condition, including taking her to California for some aggressive therapy that yielded no results. It is always left out of the accounts of the right wing that the GAL reported Mr. Schiavo was characterized by a nursing home administrator as a nursing home’s nightmare for years because of his zeal in insisting that his wife receive the best of care.
    I stand by my accusations because carsonfire displays not only the types of behavior that he accuses others of but doesn’t bother checking his claims.

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    Jim S,
    Thank you for your civil response.
    I see heartlessness in some of the posts, too. I don’t bother pointing it out though, because I’m more interested in the facts of Ms. Schiavo’s case.
    Calling somebody a liar, an idiot, and an utter fool is nasty rhetoric. I’m sorry if that hurts your feelings, but it’s the truth.
    I notice that while you quote the part of the GAL’s report you leave out the section where he speaks of how aggressive Michael Schiavo was in the first years of Terri’s condition
    The report is 38 pages long, I heartily recommend that everyone read the whole thing. That’s why I provided the web address for it in my last comment.
    Good night!

  • chuck

    Thought you’ll might like to see a picture and analysis of the bag ‘o water.

  • h0mi

    It looks like the malpractice suit was the catalyst of this conflict, based on the Wolfson report. Everything seemed to be “good” between the family and the husband until then.

    It is noteworthy that the general principle of artificial nutrition as artificial life support that may be removed in terminal and even vegetative state conditions is reflected in nearly all stateís laws and within the guidelines of end of life care enunciated by the American Conference of Catholic Bishops and other religious denominations.

    I wonder how many people are aware of this, and whether they agree or not. I’d wager they’re not quite so aware of this. I’m not sure they’d agree.

  • plunge

    chuck, I’ve talked to actual neurologists who disagree strongly with this radiologists assement (who you must admit is pretty darn right-wing). And these are people who are against euthanasia, and voted all the way for Bush. Simply noting that there are some wisps of cerebral cortex tissue left is not an argument. The court obviously had access to more than one slice of the CT, and they and their consulted experts were clearly convinced by the findings. This blogger is working on limited information, and spins all many of conspiracy theories. If Terri had suffered a major blow to the head, does he really think that the court and doctors actually on the case, INCLUDING those that represent the parents would have missed it? And his questions are inane:
    “How could they gage serial brain degeneration without serial follow-up?”
    Because there obviously was follow up: the scan seen is from several years after her initial injury. Unless he is really claiming that doctors in 1990 did no clinical examination of her brain…
    “And by what mechanism would her brain CONTINUE to atrophy?”
    This person is clearly a doctor, so how can he possibly ask such a question? There are all sorts of mechanisms by which a brain in such a condition would atrophy. When a brain is this damaged, it physically only gets worse, not better. Brain tissue doesn’t massively regenerate. It’s always possible that there can be minor improvements due to different areas of the brain taking over old functions, but in this case that simply isn’t possible by any reasonable evaluation: far far too much is missing.

  • http://mossback.org Richard Bennett

    You know what I like about this discussion? It’s the warmth and compassion I feel from the so-called Christians who want to extend Terri Schiavo’s term in the hospital bed. I just go away glowing with all the love I feel coming from these people.
    The Culture of Life feels an awful lot like a Culture of Pain.

  • HA

    This issue is simple. Should one’s blood relatives have a say in one’s fate? As it stand’s today Schiavo’s blood relatives have no say in her fate. Schiavo’s parents and siblings all want her to live. Should their unamimous wishes be trumped by the wishes of her husband?
    Right now, the law states that the husband has standing and blood relatives don’t. This is not a just law. Schiavo’s family has every right to appeal to their elected representatives for a change in law to give them standing, and Congress has the legitmate authority under the Constitution to change the law to remedy this injustice. This is exactly why we have elected lawmakers.

  • HA

    To all those on this thread who are making SNEERING comments about Terri Schivo’s quality of life I have a question.
    Who the HELL do you think you are? God?
    You don’t know Terri Schiavo or the facts about her condition. You don’t know her family. You don’t know her husband. You are are in no position to decide on her fate. It is GROSSLY immoral to make judgements on her fate as if you do know all these things.
    In the absence of any evidence as to what her own wishes are, we have to rely on the judgement of her family about what is in Terri’s best interests. And ALL of her blood relatives AGREE that they want her to live. Do you sneering bastards think you know more about Terri’s best interests than her blood relatives? The answer is obviously no. But I’m sure that won’t stop you.

  • PeteK

    HA, so if her husband had wanted her feeding tube not to be removed and her relatives had wanted it removed you would still stood on the side of the relatives since they are her blood relatives? Or do you only side with them cause they share your view?
    Personally I believe that the spouse outranks the parents, and so it seems does a majority of Americans. And I would defend it even if I felt that the view of the spouse would contradict my personal views.
    Would you?

  • http://www.elflife.com/ carsonfire

    Re: “Clinton appointees”. I was going *strictly* by what I thought I had read here, and I apologize for the error. I thought somebody had said the current judge in particular was. But even if the judges were Reagan appointees, my sentiment is the same in that they should be ashamed.
    And this continues to be illustrative of the left’s problem. They insist on calling everything a lie, everything a deception, when your only message is an opinion. I have not gone into much of the factual details at all, yet I keep reading that I’m presenting a hoary list of factual errors and misrepresentations. Is it a “fact” or a “lie” that the judges should hang their heads in shame? It is patently neither, but the left insists on calling it a lie. My opinion is easily countered with another opinion, though. All you have to do is say, “no, the judges did the right thing.”
    Obsessing on the “Clinton appointees” element shows how they are hung up on trying to win arguments on the most pedantic irrelevancies, while failing to *reason* even on a simple, basic, human level.
    And again, it’s a shame. I actually came into this more on their “side” (as far as I can tell, it is mostly the fringe and the media that see this as a right vs left issue — I don’t). But the rhetoric from the left is so offensive and counter-productive that they create opposition where none existed before.

  • PeteK

    carsonfire, so it’s the rhetoric that’s important when you decide your stand and not the issue?
    Would you be for lets say killing kids with low IQ if the ones who proposed it did it in a non offensive way?
    (Not that I believe that you have ever changed your view on this issue)
    Also if people try to argue a point with facts that are wrong they are going to called on it.

  • http://blog.reidreport.com ReidBlog

    HA, would you really want to give parents equal or superior legal standing with a spouse? What if Person A dies without a will — should his or her parents be able to challenge their spouse for custody of the children, or the money in the estate? The house? The cars? All of this argument hinges on a false premise — that the Schindlers have legal standing. They don’t. They’re not even claiming it. If you read their filing, they’re arguing that Terri wouldn’t have wanted to die because she is a Catholic — so they are making a purely religious argument, not an assertion that they have standing…
    And I suggest all the pro-lifers on this thread take a look at this post on Alas, A Blog: http://www.amptoons.com/blog/archives/2005/03/18/terri-schiavo-news/
    It shows a full-on brain scan of Terri Schiavo vs. a scan of a normal brain. Schiavo’s brain cavity is filled with spinal fluid, with only a few grams of brain matter floating around in it. Yes, she moves around (as we’ve all seen in the FOUR YEAR OLD video running as file footage on the chat ‘n news shows), but no one outside the family has seen Terri Schiavo TODAY. She IS, by the clinical definition, a vegetable, albeit with deceptive — involuntary — movements.
    It’s time for the Christians who supposedly believe in life after death to let this poor woman go to God. What her husband has said about Terri or done with other women is something he can take up with his maker when it’s his turn to go. Until then, it’s really none of our business. Clearly 19 judges, including the mostly Republican Supreme Court, haven’t taken these side arguments into account. They have ruled according to the law. Congress and the other politician hacks have warped this case into insanity.

  • HA

    PeteK and ReidBlog,
    Nobody that matters is arguing that as of today the law gives Schiavo’s blood relatives any legal standing to determine her fate. The Schindler’s certainly aren’t. The question is should they have standing?
    I believe that they should. I believe it is immoral and a gross injustice that this woman will be put to death when her blood kin continue to see value in her life. They also believe that SHE would see value in her OWN life based on how they raised her. And if a law is unjust and fails to protect one’s right to life in the judgement of blood kin, then these citizens have the right to petition their elected representatives, and Congress has all the legitmate authority it needs under the Constitution to change the law and give blood kin standing.
    I don’t think that the blood relatives’ standing should be superior to the spouse’s. I think that they should have equal standing, and in the absence of a consensus between a spouse and blood kin, the law should err on the side of life.
    Any outsider’s view of Schiavo’s the quality or value of her life doesn’t mean a damn thing. So I really don’t care what anybody thinks of her brain scans. And marital property rights have nothing to do with this. These are distractions from the heart of this issue.

  • PeteK

    HA, maybe you just should come clean and admit that the only reason that you (and a lot of other people) are talking about blood kin is that you oppose the right for anyone to end their life.

  • http://www.elflife.com/ carsonfire

    PeteK: Also if people try to argue a point with facts that are wrong they are going to called on it.
    PeteK, let’s get this straight: I haven’t followed this story extensively, and the only place I’ve read that one of the judges was a Clinton appointee was higher up on this page. Plunge: “Judges aren’t all political. Whittemore was appointed by Clinton, but back then there wasn’t as much emphasis on getting heavily partisan judges into office, just good judges.”
    Since Plunge is arguing the same side of the debate as you, I had no reason to think that he’d be lying about that. Whether the judge was appointed by Clinton or not (again!!!) is not particularly germaine to my opinion that the judges should be ashamed of themselves for allowing Michael Schiavo to effectively live a double life during most of this process.
    Your statement isn’t correct, anyway. If you debate a fool who constantly runs down blind alleys, you can’t follow him. You often have to let them get away with a miasma of misinformation while staying focused on the main point of debate. Which leads back to your first question:
    carsonfire, so it’s the rhetoric that’s important when you decide your stand and not the issue?
    Of course rhetoric is important. A liar can use facts and data as well as anybody. One way is to constantly harp on facts that are besides the point; or, to constantly “factually” correct the opponent on points that are subject to opinion or don’t really matter.
    Both sides here are arguing a completely different argument. One side is arguing that Terri Schiavo is medically dead already; the other side is arguing that Michael Schiavo is a rat. These issues are independent of each other. Both can be true; both can be false. There seems to be a mountain of evidence, though, to prove that both are true.
    Now, the critical part of this is that nobody seems to be arguing the first point anymore but the people trying to disprove the unrelated second point. There are responders, of course, who counter with the parent’s propaganda. But the people arguing to not kill Terri Schiavo seem to be concentrating on the second point, the husband-as-rat.
    To me, that second point supercedes the first one in a way that the first point doesn’t affect the second. That is, Terri’s present condition doesn’t change the debate of whether the husband should have been allowed to remain guardian while living a second life. Therefore, waving the medical records around is a blind alley; worrying about who the judges were or weren’t is a blind alley. The question now seems to be, is the process serving the interests of Terri Schiavo, or the interests of the process itself, or should it perhaps serve a better purpose than simply snuffing a man’s used wife?
    This is where we are now. It’s all value judgements. It’s all morality, however you want to define it. And that end of the argument has been extremely ugly from the left; smearing religious motives, cackling about the “culture of life” (which is a bizarre thing, something like hearing a vampire sneer about the “culture of the un-undead”). There are some plausible arguments for the left to use at this end of the debate, but mocking people with different values seems to be the only one employed, so far.

  • Donna V.

    Richard Bennett:
    “The culture of life feels like a culture of pain.”
    On one hand, the Let-Terri-Die people say Terri is suffering terribly by living as she does. Yet, they also affirm that in her case, death by starvation is a cakewalk, since she has no higher brain function. Well, which is it? Is she capable of suffering or not?
    If she is, than starving her to death is unspeakably cruel.
    If she isn’t, then why does she have to die ASAP? Why are people so goulishly excited about seeing this woman die? Because it sticks it to those terrible Jesus lovers – like her parents, for instance? They’re the ones who will suffer the most from her death.
    I have heard reasonable arguments for the other side regarding this case But, like carsonfire says, I’ve also seen an element of gloating sadism that is truly replusive.
    Well, Terri will be dead soon, because she’s an inconvienence to her “spouse”. Enjoy your shining victory.

  • Donna V.

    Oh, and the accusations of conservative hypocrisy are rich. That knife cuts both ways. I can just as easily ask how leftists suddenly became fervent believers in States’ Rights.
    How many people who are cheering on this slow death by starvation will be holding candlelight vigils if Jessica Lumford’s murderer ends up on Death Row?
    Lots of hypocrisy to go around, folks.

  • HA

    PeteK,
    HA, maybe you just should come clean and admit that the only reason that you (and a lot of other people) are talking about blood kin is that you oppose the right for anyone to end their life.
    If that was true, I’d admit it. But it isn’t true. If Schiavo had a living will, or if there was a consensus on the part of her husband and blood kin about her desires, I would agree with withdrawing any or all unwanted medical care.
    But that isn’t the case here. She has no written expression of her desires. She is unable to express her desires. Her family isn’t able to reach a consensus on her desires. Therefore, we err on the side of life.