Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Terri Shiavo

UPDATE 4/6/2005: Now many conservatives after Terri's death are blaming their own ranks! You've got to read this truly misguided forum!

Ok... enough is enough.

Terri Shiavo is one person, who according to 22 decisions from county, state and federal courts over the course of the last 12 years, would not want to stay in this world as a vegetable. End of story.

Some people claim that her husband can't speak for her because he is a bad husband and shouldn't have moved on with his life as soon as he did. Some people claim the parents of Shiavo love her more than her husband and thus know her wishes better than her husband. Some people claim that starving her to death by removing her feeding tube is inhumane. Some people believe that she should die because if a machine is the only thing keeping her alive, that's not living.

You know what I think?

Terri's wishes are her own. If she wanted to die, she should be able to die in peace and privacy. If she wanted to live, she should be able to live as long as her surviving relatives can afford or are willing. It should not matter the opinions of people who do not know her or have political agendas to prop up using her.

For example, I fail to see how a retired physician in our senate (Majority Leader Bill Frist) after watching only 30 mins of footage of this poor woman filmed 10 years ago by Randall Terry (leader of Operation Rescue) can give a speech about how Terry Schiavo is not, "in his expert medical opinion" in a vegetative state! This is the same "doctor" who couldn't even answer basic questions about AIDS contraction and condom effectiveness on This Week with George Stephanopoulos:

STEPHANOPOULOS: ... Do you believe that tears and sweat can transmit HIV?

FRIST: I don't know. I can tell you ...

STEPHANOPOULOS: You don't know?

FRIST: I can tell you things like, like ...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, wait, let me stop you, you don't know that, you believe that tears and sweat might be able to transmit AIDS?

FRIST: Yeah, no, I can tell you that HIV is not very transmissible as an element like, compared to smallpox, compared to the flu. It is not, but the first slide, because I think it's dangerous to show that and then sort of walk away.

What kind of MD can make statements like this? A politician who values ideology over science and reality.

Meanwhile, Terri is in the middle of this; she is a real person, not some bumper sticker, speech or symbol. She is a human being with choice, and her choice should be respected.

That having been said, the courts have repeatedly decided in favor of letting her die, because they believe her husband and other witnesses that knew her understood her wishes better than her parents do.

Why is this an issue then?

Because instead of remembering Terri like this,

Most people only see her as this.

I only hope I am not so remembered.


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