Anna Gregoline | October 22, 2003
You might have seen this story of Jeb Bush overturning the court decision to withhold food from this woman. Terri is in a "vegetative state." Did you know that that phrase does NOT necessarily mean you lie there like a vegetable? I'm feeling very strange over what should be done here, and I thought I'd bring it up for discussion. I'm not really looking for answers, per se, just asking that TC members weigh in with their thoughts.

Jackie Mason | October 23, 2003
[hidden by request]

Anna Gregoline | October 23, 2003
But the husband does have the right to make medical decisions for her, so it's kind of weird that the courts are involved at all, or that this went on for so long.Here's another article on it, that seems to put her chances of recovery in clearer terms.

Scott Hardie | October 26, 2003
Damn, I can't believe I missed out on this topic; it's of sentimental importance to me. I've been hearing about Terri Schiavo ever since I moved here last summer (she's a local), and if I've gotten this upset about the story in a little over a year, I can only imagine what it would be like after more than ten years. Look people, life is unhappy, and unfortunate things happen. Laws are written to give clear authority to certain people in exactly these kinds of heart-wrenching situations. You cannot change the law after the situation has already begun, just because you don't like the outcome. That's unconstitutional in several ways, ethically wrong, and just plain stupid when you think about it. I pity the people who can put themselves in Michael Schiavo's place but not do what he's doing - he doesn't want his wife to die, but he's trying to obey her stated wishes, and for this selfless act he deserves sympathy & understanding, not obstinance.

Matt Preston was discussing this with me, taking the same stance I was. When he asked how Jeb Bush could do so wrong, I said, "Listen, I try not to talk about my religious beliefs, but this is exactly what it feels like to be an atheist and see elected officials warping the law to suit their religious beliefs. It happens all the time in this country. Is it not damn frustrating?" If you're elected to public office, you must serve to the letter of the law; that's a job requirement. If your religious convictions interfere with your ability to do your job correctly, you should not have it.

Anna Gregoline | October 28, 2003
Here's another article on the subject, with more background.

Scott Hardie | October 28, 2003
I had read that. Not to say that its claims are untrue, but it does seem very biased against Michael Schiavo. I was surprised.

A friend of mine works in a hobby shop in St. Pete, where one of the regular customers is a bailiff to the judge who ordered Terri's feeding tube removed. According to the bailiff, the judge has since received death threats. I don't normally believe friend-of-a-friend stories (even if I'm the one telling them), but if that's true... damn. Maybe we have let politics get in the way of our other values.

Anna Gregoline | October 28, 2003
I can believe it. Death threats seem to happen for everything nowadays. I posted this last article because it was the first one I saw to actually explore why she's in the state she's in - I hadn't heard she was anorexic. The main thing I'm having trouble with (and correct me if this seems wrong) is that she is, for all intensive purposes, a low-functioning mentally handicapped person now. But if she can laugh and smile (even if those are called just reflexes), I see her as no different than a cousin I had who was mentally deficient. Why is this woman's life considered worthless even if she will never talk or walk or do those things again? We don't kill the mentally handicapped just for being mentally handicapped.

Scott Hardie | October 28, 2003
Well, it's because she wasn't always that way, and if Michael is telling the truth, she once expressed a wish not to be kept alive in that state. Remember, she can't eat on her own; she needs a feeding tube. Michael is trying to obey her wish, not kill her outright. As for the laugh and smile, I don't really buy it. People see what they want to see. If Terri's parents tended to a cloud in the sky for years, and talked up to the cloud in a soothing voice like it was their own child, and hoped desperately that the cloud would show signs of life, at some point inevitably the cloud would sort of form a smile, and they would take that as proof that the cloud can respond to their presence. It's wishful thinking.

I know a man who has gone through something similar to this; I'll see if I can find out what he thinks about it and quote him here.

Anna Gregoline | October 29, 2003
I'm just saying that people are kept in nursing facilities in poorer states than this - many of whom weren't always in that state. So why is this different? Why is this person more readily allowed to die? I know it's the law from her husband's standpoint, and I want to protect that right, but it's disturbing, particularly from what we've seen of his behavior.

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