Saturday, March 19, 2005

The NonStatesRights/NonAbortion Issue of Terri

Jim at StonesCryOut has a detailed list of thoughts and observations about what is going on in Florida with Terri Schiavo. He's there in Florida right now, and so able to see and hear local news coverage of the case. Two of the items are particularly interesting to me.

Item 1:
Tampa radio host Schmidt reflects on the irony that Republican conservatives are going against the grain of their ideology of states rights in their federalizing of the Schiavo case.

The things's not a States Rights issue. First, Decisions made by state courts aren't automatically related to States' Rights, that is why they can be trumped by federal courts or federal laws. Second, this case is not about the State or Florida or laws held by the state of Florida. This is a case about an individual person and her rights. It's also about the rights of her parents who have the right not to watch their child die.

Item 2:
Atlanta-based syndicated radio guy Neal Boortz, who is on a station in the Tampa market, rides that point hard and is pretty ugly in his criticism of the Republicans and the pro-life activists trying to keep Terri alive. This strident libertarianism is rankling and in this case seems anti-individual and anti-freedom, rather than on the side of liberty.

It's true that this is a pro-life issue, but not in the same sense that abortion is a pro-life issue.

But, just for fun, let's imagine that it is such an issue:
On the abortion side, pro-choicers advocate a "woman's right to choose" because she can do what she wants with "her own body" -- that is...if she wants to end the life of her child, she can and the father of the child can say nothing about it. Being that this is a somewhat feminist argument, presumably then this group would also argue that if the baby's father wanted the woman to have an abortion, he wouldn't be able to force her to do so, because that would infringe upon her ability to make a choice about "her own body." Additionally, in both of this cases, the will of the child is not considered because it is impossible to know. (But I would certainly assume the baby would vote "birth" over "death" if such a survey could be asked of him).

Analogously then, in this case liberals are in essence saying that a man, Michael Schiavo, has the right to make a decision about a woman's own body. Also, another woman, Terri's mother, apparently has no say in the matter. The arguments that Terri had conversations about the "what ifs" of a feeding-tube life are slim, and in reality, I don't think liberals and pro-choicers are really using those arguments in their own decisions. They see this as abortion, even when it's not and even when the positions they are trying to hold about these two issue are inconsistent.

Finally, Jim is right when he says this:
Many of us have had informal discussions with our spouses about not being kept alive if we're incapacitated terribly, being kept alive on life support, or in a vegetative state. I suspect that's the kind of discussion Terri and Michael Schiavo had. That's clearly not good enough. It's time to do a living will.
Make what you want for your life clear. Make sure everyone in your family knows for sure what you are going to put in your will. Make sure an objective party knows as well. That will prevent this kind of problem in the future. But the face remains that Terri is alive, many who spend time with her say she is "full of life." Her parents have said that
[Terri] could get better and that their daughter has laughed, cried, smiled and responded to their voices.

Well, sure, but I would say that babies in the womb respond to sounds as well, but there are people who don't care about that either.