Schiavo, Is There Another Side?

Diane at Crossroads posts another side to the Schiavo/Schindler controversy. The post’s date is March 31, 2005, so I assume it’s not an April Fools’ post. Diane’s post starts:

Perhaps the Christian community has swallowed a lie about Michael Schiavo? I think we certainly should consider that possibility, in order to be fair.

What’s amazing about this case is how much coverage it’s received with so much innuendo and so few facts. For that matter, I don’t know if the information Diane posts is true…

It’s tragic. Somewhere, the truth exists, but would we recognize it if we saw it?

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Brent Logan

Engineer. Lawyer. WordPress geek. Bicycle commuter. Longboarder. Blood donor. Snapshooter extraordinaire.

5 thoughts on “Schiavo, Is There Another Side?”

  1. None of us really know what has motivated Michael Schiavo to hasten his wife’s death. However, if he truly loved her, he would have wanted the best care for her during these long years of court battle. Instead, he left her alone, without sunlight, stimulation and often not allowing her parents to visit. This is love? I find it reprehensible that her life was in the hands of a man who had a conflict of interest. In fact several. Money, love of another woman, two children to name a few. Some would say this is about right to die. She never signed anything giving instructions on her right to die. This was about Michael Schiavo’s right to murder his wife. It was about control. It was about ego. Michael’s. I worry about his fiance and children. He obviously loves control. Now he no longer has Terri’s life under his control. Who will be his next victim?

  2. Why does nobody seem to care that the Pope was left alone to die, rather than being taken to the hospital and put on a kidney dialysis machine? Applying the “right to life” rationale of the Catholic church, John-Paul II should have been kept alive at all costs, even if he became a brain dead vegetable for 5 years. Or, is this an example of moral classism, where the only morally elite have the freedom to abort and euthanize?

  3. AL, certainly you see a distinction between the pope’s and Terri’s situations. Or is there no difference between refusing dialysis and denying food and water by mouth? No difference between the pope making his own decision in advance and Michael Schiavo remembering Terri’s wishes (?) years later and after receiving a large sum of money?

  4. The greatest distinction I see is moral classism. Refusing dialysis is tantamount to suicide/euthanasia, which is amoral under the church’s values. What is the message when the leader of the church disregards the values he is sworn to uphold. The distinction is that John-Paul II made his choice when he accepted his position, and the values of the church should have been imposed on him, regardless of his personal preference. That has been the historic nature of the Catholic church.

    Terry Shiavo presumably had a sufficiently functional relationship with her husband, in which he had some understanding of her preference. I believe that she should have had the opportunity/choice to exert her own effort and willfully drink from a straw, as opposed to either the imposition of a feeding tube or the total denial of nourishment. One side wanted to impose life, while the other wanted to impose death. In either case, Terry was denied any right to choose through action.

    The distinction is this: (1) Pope – no choice, and Terry – choice; (2) Pope – choice, and Terry – no choice; (3) Pope – choice, and Terry – choice; (4) Pope – no choice, and Terry – no choice. I ultimately advocate (3), since I believe that everybody should have the freedom to choose. The church advocates (4); but in my view (2) is what actually happend, which reflects moral elitism. Perhaps you thought I was advocating (4)?

    Unless Terry was Catholic, (1) is what should have happened. I believe that both people should have had their values imposed on their life/death. If that were the legal standard, maybe more people would consider their values more carefully.

  5. I’m not Catholic, so I’m not an expert on Catholic beliefs. From reading this article, though, I believe that the pope could refuse treatment if the burden was disproportionate to the expected benefit. (I assume that American Catholic is able to correctly state the beliefs of the Catholic church…)

    We are not obligated to use disproportionate means to maintain life; they are those means that do not offer us a reasonable hope of benefit or impose on us an excessive burden. To forgo disproportionate means of treatment is not the same as suicide or euthanasia; rather, it signals the acceptance of the inevitability of death as part of human life.

    I like your argument in your second paragraph. It’s somewhat similar to a point I made here when I address “incapacity.” If Terri Schiavo was not incapacitated, Michael should not have been making her medical decisions. Now, we’ll never know.

    Based on the quote above, I believe that both the pope and Terri have some choice as Catholics to refuse treatment. So your preferred (4) for both (to some extent, depending on the “proportionate” requirement) is true.

    Your final paragraph implies that people should choose their denomination based on its right to life stance or get stuck with that stance regardless. I don’t agree. There are too many denominations already. To think that I agree 100% with my church’s beliefs is to read too much into my attendance there. After all, even Jesus didn’t look for a denomination that agreed with his beliefs/truth.

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