If you want an idea how harsh the sentiments are regarding the Schiavo case, look at this completely irrational post by the normally excessively rational Tacitus:
The results of Terri Schiavo’s autopsy are in, and it appears that the poor woman was in even a more frightful state than was assumed: she was blind, her brain was shrunk to half size by weight, and she could not have ingested sustenance without the infamous tube. What, then, does this change in hindsight on the pro-life case for keeping her alive?
Well, he is right, in a sense. We knew all of the things the report stated prior to her death (with the exception of an outright declaration that she was blind, but even that was consistent with the findings of the guardian ad litem report). Some chose not to accept it.
Those claiming vindication for their advocacy of Schiavo’s killing
No one killed her.
by virtue of this autopsy must ipso facto accept one of several monstrous premises: either that humanity is not something intrinsic, but dependent upon function; or that humanity’s intrinsic nature is irrelevant as it is not worth preserving per se; or that humanity is worth preserving per se, but not so worth preserving as to grant its existence the benefit of the doubt in doubtful cases.
A false dichotomy followed by a gross misrepresentation of facts. The notion that Terri Schiavo was not given the benefit of the doubt, and that there was somehow a rush to judgement through the dozens of hearings and appeals and examinations over all these years is, to a word, absurd. I have come to expect such absurdities in this case.
Terri Schiavo was given the benefit of more due process and more doubt than anyone I can recall, and it was only after the husband, the reputable members of the medical community (roughly, just about everyone whose last name was not Frist), and the judicial system all came to the same conclusion that she was allowed to die. That conclusion was that she was medically a hopeless case and that she herself would not have wanted to exist in her current condition.
This is, in turn, a utilitarian evil, a nihilistic evil, and an apathetic evil. Ronald Reagan, in explaining why those who doubted the humanity of the fetus should be against abortion, asked whether, if one did not know what was in a paper bag, if one would nonetheless kick it.
We know what was in the bag, and it was not Terri Schiavo, unfortunately. It was, quite awful as it is to face, nothing. Terri Schiavo had left for a better place long before, and even, in the
extremely completely unlikely case she was still trapped inside her body, it was determined that she would not have wanted to exist in that state. That determination is the only thing that remains even remotely arguable, as the medical evidence is conclusive beyond any shadow of a doubt.
We know: there are those who would kick it, and kick it hard.
Just snide nastiness that is patently offensive. No one I know wanted Terri Schiavo to die. No one helped her on her way. No one did anything to cause Terri Schiavo to die. You can keep saying it over and over again, but a feeding tube is life support. The only kicking was the kicking around of the medical community, Michael Schiavo, the judges, and the legal system by a loud group of reactionaries who chose to make this poor family’s problems a cause, a battle ground, and a prize to be won at all cost.
They won this fight, a woman is dead — a woman, not a “vegetable,” nor a “shell,” nor a “body,” nor any other euphemistic noun meant to distract from the essence of what was done to whom — and the proponents of that death are claiming the vindication of their victory.
What did ‘they’ win? This betrays what was really the purpose of this nasty protracted battle by the Right to Life folks- not the safety and security and dignity of Terri Schiavo, but the larger issue of their definition of life. They were using this woman in a cynical battle of their own choosing, they pretended their motives were pure and that they were worried about Terri, and now that it is all over, and all the strawmen have been burned, all the insults have been flung, all the lies have been pointed out, they admit, or at least Tacitus will, that this was all about a larger political agenda.
Because, you see, she wasn’t much of a woman. Not much of a person. Not much of a soul. The pitiable irony is that in asserting this, the continued existence whose justification they most undercut is their own.
No, she wasn’t much of a woman to many of them. She was a political prop.
These hamhanded attempts to seize some sort of moral high ground really betray the actual intentions of the Right to Life and ‘Terri Must Live’ crowd. Why else try to tell those who felt this was an intimate family decision that they ‘killed’ Terri Schiavo. Why?
Because, even if Terri was completely brain dead and not just in a PVS, they would insist that she be kept alive. This isn’t about a moral high ground or a moral principle, this is about who gets to determine what is moral and who gets to determine what life really is and what life is worth living. While the Right to Life crew may have come to terms with moral absolutes regarding what life is (see the debate over when life begins), the rest of us don’t have such a clear-cut viewpoint of what life is and isn’t.
Life, for me at least, can not be reduced to a beating heart or a cluster of cells with the potential to become a human. Regardless, someone elses moral certainty about what life is does not give them the legal right to impose that viewpoint on other people. Michael and Terri Schiavo were not to be afforded the right to do what they felt was best in this situation, because Michael and Terri Schiavo’s concept of life differed from what some in the Right to Life community believe.
Terri Schiavo had to be kept alive because of THEIR moral beliefs, not hers and her husbands. And because we didn’t allow or accept a political (and had they had their way, a judicial) assault on the most personal aspect of someone’s existence, their mortality and how to handle their end-of-life decisions, we are to be shamed. Because we didn’t have the necessary arrogance to tell Terri and Michael Schiavo to live by someone elses definition of life, we are villains. Because we felt that personal decisions should remain personal (to the extent that the Florida legal system allowed them to remain personal), we support a culture of death. It is nonsense, it is offensive, and it can’t go unchallenged.
And that is all I am going to say about Terri Schiavo, absent some egregious silliness popping up. It is over. Let the women and her husband and her family rest in peace. I am sure you all will find someone else to use to your political ends in little or no time, but, for now, it is time to let Terri Schiavo be.
Additional thoughts can be found here, since, as I said above, I have nothing more to say.