Trying to Find the Bottom Line on Terri

A friend (left-wing type) at the university read my American Spectator piece and said it was the most polemical/propagandistic thing he’s ever seen me write. I disagree, of course. I think what I’ve done is render a highly accurate prediction of the direction of euthanasia as a response to the hard facts of Terri Schiavo’s case.

Those who read this weblog know that we are divided on the question of what should be happening in Terri’s case. Ben Zycher remains undeclared, but the rest of us have offered several opinions and bits of analysis.

Leaving aside the slippery slope, the bottom line is that I am not convinced there is no “Terri” inside the body now being dehydrated/starved. I am not in favor of preserving life no matter what. Part of the reason I am so uncertain is because of Terri’s parents and other relatives. They strongly believe she is responsive, no matter how minimally. If that is the case, I don’t know how we dare choose death for her.

What about her husband’s statement that she didn’t want to live this way? It is highly unlikely such a discussion reached an adequate level of detail to reach dehydration/starvation, particularly among ordinary people. I imagine they watched some 20/20 feature story or a movie of the week about a person on life support and Terri said (if she indeed said anything), “I wouldn’t want to go on that way.” We could safely say that means no ventilator, but no food/water is a bit of a stretch from an off-handed statement by a 20-something in casual conversation.

Alan takes issue with my mention of the Netherlands as a land that has lost its way thanks to its embrace of euthanasia. I think its safe to say they have. Abraham Kuyper’s once proud land has given up on a high view of the person’s dignity on just about every front, whether that be drugs, sex, reproduction, pre-born life, superannuated life, etc.. As far as Virginia goes, www.euthanasia.com says they have no law permitting assisted suicide. Oregon does, but I’m not sure that’s a sign that their moral sensibilities are improving. For more about Switzerland and the Netherlands, follow this link to a worthwhile NRO article by Wesley J. Smith.

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