Many thanks to Mary Beth Bonacci, one of our allies at "The Catholic Herald for her still timely Dec. 2003 article, "The Schiavo Case: Right to Die or Right to Kill?" Here is an excerpt:
But make no mistake — this is most definitely not a right-to-die case. It’s a right-to-kill case. And the stakes are high, not just for Terri, but for all of the vulnerable, disabled people of the world.Now it may be that she is in a permanent vegetative state and has no hope of recovery. Let's explore that possibility - let there be decisive tests, let the results be carefully reviewed, let us pursue the last glimmer of hope. There are those who maintain she responds - I heard one of her nurses today say that Terri smiled in response to her joking. Others say that CAT scans show no hope of serious brain function. Were the CAT scans interpreted properly? Has a mistake been made? Are her responsive actions random twitches? Let's find out - and not force her to die.
First of all, numerous doctors have observed that Terri is not in a persistent vegetative state. The state of Florida defines persistent vegetative state as "a permanent and irreversible state of unconsciousness in which there is an absence of voluntary or cognitive behavior and an inability to interact purposefully with one’s environment." Terri is in no such condition. Videotapes show Terri closely watching her family’s movement, verbalizing in response to questions, responding to simple commands and laughing when listening to her favorite music. No fewer than 10 physicians are on record with the court saying that Terri was aware and her condition could improve with therapy. In fact, a Nobel nominee in medicine, Dr. William Hammesfahr, has offered to treat her and provide her rehabilitation without charge.
And then there are the issues surrounding her guardian and husband, Michael Schiavo. He has repeatedly denied Terri the rehabilitative therapy recommended by medical professionals treating her. He has also repeatedly ordered that Terri not be treated for life-threatening infections and blocked "swallowing tests" that would determine whether Terri could be taught to eat without her feeding tubes. Schiavo has also blocked tests that would determine if Terri sustained bone damage around the time of her collapse, clarifying lingering suspicions that her collapse may have been the result of abuse at Schiavo’s hand.
In 1995 Schiavo moved in with girlfriend Jodi Centonze, and in 1997 the two announced their engagement. The couple, still cohabitating, now have two children together. And yet Schiavo refuses to divorce Terri. . . .
Terri Schiavo is aware of her surroundings. She feels pain. And starvation is not a painless way to die. It is, in fact, a particularly torturous and cruel death.
This case is not about the right of a terminally ill person to refuse useless life-prolonging treatment. It is about the right of an adulterous, neglectful and possibly abusive husband to sentence his wife to a slow, excruciating death.
Susan Nunnes in a comment posted on Alas a Blog put it well:
It's the PRECEDENT it sets, NOT Jeb's dubious involvement, NOT the right-to-lifers' involvement, or Michael Schiavo’s dubious "saintliness" that's the issue.
I have YET to read ONE coherent argument in favor of Schiavo having his wife killed by starvation. NOT one.
And this is from somebody who is pro-choice on abortion, but this case stinks to high heaven on the part of the "husband."