Saturday, March 19, 2005

Err on the Side of Life

The most precious gift that God has given us is life. He gave you and me life. He has given Terri Schiavo life. And despite the opinion of a Florida judge and the wishes of Terri's husband, Michael Schiavo, and his supporters, Terri is alive. This 41-year-old woman breathes on her own, all her organs are functioning. The only difference is she has limited brain functions and can't communicate or eat and drink like you and me. To stay alive she needs the help of a simple feeding tube.

I don't think there is anyone, on either side of this issue, who can honestly say . . . that the decision to keep Terri on a feeding tube or take her off is clear-cut. So why the rush to starve her to death? Why not take more time to make sure this is the right decision? When there's doubt why not err on the side of life? If you choose death, there's no turning back.

In cases such as this, where there is no living will, the decision of whether a person lives or dies falls on the shoulders of his or her spouse. And if I truly believed that Michael Schiavo was a loving and devoted husband who had nothing but the best interests of his wife in mind, I might feel differently about this case. However, there are really serious questions concerning what's motivating his desire for his wife to die and to die soon.

Michael Schiavo is an adulterer. He is still legally married to Terri but lives with another woman and has fathered two children with her. He won a $1 million malpractice lawsuit from doctors who were treating Terri back in 1990 when what was thought to be a chemical imbalance brought on by an eating disorder caused her to collaspe and her heart to stop beating for a few minutes, leading to brain damage. (There are still some unanswered questions surrounding what actually led to her collapse and eventual brain damage.) This money was supposed to be used for Terri's care but most of it has gone to Michael Schiavo's attorneys. But once Terri leaves this world, what's left will be all Michael Schiavo's.

And speaking of her care, Michael Schiavo has limited her care for most of the past 15 years, keeping her in a dark, non-stimulating environment, allowing little or no therapy that might help her improve. His in-laws, Bob and Mary Schindler, have made it very clear that they are more than willing to allow him to divorce their daughter, get on with his life and leave her care totally in their hands. So you tell me, what do you think his motivation is to hasten his wife's death?

Of course, Michael Schiavo is not claiming to have come to this momentous decision on his own. He says that Terri once told him, years ago, that she would prefer not to be kept alive in this fashion. There is no one else to corroborate his assertion. Not Terri's parents or siblings, nor any of her friends. Interestingly enough, an ex-girlfriend of Michael Schiavo's revealed in 2001 that he had lied about Terri's wish to die. However, less than a month later, this ex-girlfriend refused to testify against Michael Schiavo, reportedly out of fear.

Oh, and get this, Michael Schiavo chose not to reveal "his wife’s wishes" until after he won the malpractice case in 1992. Hmmm . . . I guess it could've just slipped his mind until the money was safely in the bank.

Fred Barnes posed the right question last night on the Fox News Channel's "Special Report With Brit Hume": "What is to be gained by killing her?" He repeated this question several times, but the other panelists did not have an answer for him. Do you?

For more information on Terri Schiavo and her fight to live, visit the Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation Web site.


At Sunday, March 20, 2005 7:55:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Usually, you and I agree on every detail of every issue. I've wondered why we weren't on the same page on this one. I believe I have found the root of the problem in your first paragraph. You state that Terri is just like you or I but with "limited brain function."

Based on my understanding, that statement is a huge stretch. Terri has just enough brain function to blink, if that. There is no such surgical proceedure to restore her cerebral cortex. It is unfortunately wasted.

You ask, "why the rush?" 15 years of zero improvement is a pretty long time. Michael Schiavo may not be an angel. But he lost his wife 15 years ago and did stick by her for years before accepting what every doctor told him to be true.

It's easy to sit in another seat and say to another man that what he is doing is wrong. We don't know what all has happened, what he feels in his heart or know how he has agonized over this. But my guess is that plenty of Terri's supporters have twisted the facts to make him look like a monster. I'm just not so quick to judge his heart.

Again, I think it all boils down to what we perceive her medical condition to be. If there is one ounce of a chance that she could have ANY sort of LIFE--I'm with ya. If she's really how I understand her to be, I'm not so sure it's not cruel and unusual punishment to keep her alive.


At Sunday, March 20, 2005 8:21:00 PM, Blogger Mickey McLean said...


I invite you to visit the Web site Terri's family and supporters have put together. Click on the "Myths About Terri" and "Timeline" links and see if you don't come away believing there's more to this case than what you've heard.


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