Here’s a question I can’t get out of my head. What if Terri Schiavo had had a living will saying she wouldn’t want a feeding tube to keep her alive for decades with no reasonable hope for recovery? Legally, of course, there’d be no issue. She’d get her chance to die in peace. But morally? The arguments of the proponents for keeping the feeding tube in indefinitely suggest that removing the tube is simply murder. If that is the case, then how can removing the tube ever be justified – even if she consented in advance? Murder is murder, right? Isn’t a “living will” essentially a mandate for future assisted suicide? It seems to me that the logic of the absolutist pro-life advocates means that this should be forbidden too. They should logically support a law which forbids the murder of anyone, regardless of living wills. In a society that legally mandates the “culture of life,” the individual’s choice for death is irrelevant, no? Or am I missing something here?
You aren’t missing anything. If some have their way, living wills will be invalidated:
RICHARD LAND, SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION: My position is that I would morally object to it, but not legally, if it was the clear, manifest will of the person who is having the feeding tube removed. In other words, I accept that people have a right to refuse medical treatment. And if it was clear that Terri Schiavo had clearly said, I do not want to have a feeding tube if I