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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Terri's Tragedy

I suppose that I ought to comment on the Terri Schiavo tragedy that is being played out on the news, the internet, and on thousands of blogs across the country.

These are some of the relevant facts about the case.

1)This is not something that has suddenly sprung up overnight. Terri has been hospitalized for 15 years now.

2)The case has been endlessly adjudicated in state and federal court. They have decided that Michael, her husband, has guardianship of Terri. He has testified under oath that she did not want her life artificially extended, and would wish a dignified death rather than mere existence.

3) This is at its heart, a family matter. The parents have squared off against the husband. Had they agreed on her death or her continued care, none of us would have heard of this.

4)In order for us to live dignified human lives, we must have a right to privacy. Without this right, we are really not fully human.

Therefore, it seems to me that justice demands that we honor the wish of the husband who wishes to carry out what he believes is his wife's intentions to die with dignity.

I believe that the strongest argument for the husband's position is the fact that he has NOT divorced his wife. That would be the easy way out for him. Then his parents would take over guardianship, and they would act as they wish to in regards to Terri. The fact that Michael has decided to remain her husband, in spite of the fact that he has attempted to go on with his life, adds credibility to his claim that Terri would not want to have her life prolonged any longer than it has been.

Respectfully, we should honor her wishes and butt out of this.

Above all else, this has spurred me to get a Living Will. The last thing I would want for myself is to become what Terri has become: a poster child for the Religious Right and a chance for politicoes to grandstand before the public and improve their election chances.

2 comments:

Matthew said...

"I was hungry and you did not feed me." -- Jesus, to the people cast into hell.

It is always wrong to withhold food from anyone, even if he desires it. It is murder, and murder is intrinsically wrong.

Dying from starvation is only painless if you are unconscious, but numerous neurologists have either said she is aware and not PVS, or have called for further tests.

You need to get the facts before promoting the untimely death of this woman.

Lynn Green said...

I think that all of the facts have come out in trial. I resent the grandstanding that has been done by the religious right.