Friday, March 18, 2005

The Beginning of the End

Well, today's the day. Today at 1:00 PM EST, by court order, Terry Schiavo's feeding tube will be removed, and she will begin to starve to death.

I'm not sure what I'm feeling about this right now: Sadness; anger; confusion; resignation... all these emotions and more come to mind, and I'm just an observer. I can only imagine what it must be like for those personally involved in the case.

I have to confess that since joining Blogs for Terri, my enthusiasm was waned for lobbying on behalf of her parents. Please don't get me wrong -- I still believe that active euthanasia is wrong. And if the claims made by Terri's parents are true, I still oppose the decision to remove the tube.

But recently, a Blogger I respect greatly raised some troubling points that I just can't ignore. Smallholder at Naked Villainy presents arguments with regards to Terri's medical state of which I was not aware. I would encourage those who, like me, have been on the other side of the issue, to read the entry and consider it. If they are true, I have to concede that I also would question the wisdom of continuing to keep her alive.

However, while he has given me pause to doubt, I do feel obliged to respond and raise a point or two for him to consider:

Smallholder begins his post with the comment "The intent was to highlight the point that those who want the government to intervene in the dying process are hardly acting conservatively - inasmuch that conservatives generally believe in individual free will and a minimum of government intrusion in our lives."

I agree, but this assumes that we're talking about an individual's own free will and choice. The argument being made in this case (right or wrong) is that dying WASN'T Terri's choice, and that the government SHOULD prevent someone else from imposing THEIR will on Terri. Whether this is actually the case or not is, of course, the crux of the entire saga.

Smallholder asserts that the overwhelming weight of medical evidence was on the side of Terri's husband, and that no valid contrary medical opinion was offered in court. On the other hand, I have also read that such evidence and opinions have been put forth but that the court, or rather the specific judge presiding, refused to entertain them. In either case, my sources (Smallholder and his opposites) are all third party at best, so I'm not sure what to think.

Here is what I now pray for: Wisdom and peace and healing. I pray that the truth, whichever story it may support, would be known. I pray that the officials and medical staff in Florida would have the wisdom and compassion to do the right thing -- whatever that may be. And one way or the other, whatever the outcome, I pray that God would heal those involved -- Terri's husband, her parents, all those involved, and especially, that He would heal Terri. I do believe in miracles, and I don't believe we can control their occurrence by either maintaining or removing a feeding tube.

One final thought. Last night as I watched the News, Geworge Stephanopoulos reported that, because Congress passed a law preventing removal of the tube, but passed two different versions and then adjourned, Terri's husband could proceed with the removal of the tube. There was, it seemed to me, a smirk on his face and a smug tone in his voice.

No matter which side of this case you're on, that doesn't seem to me to be the proper sentiment to convey right now.

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