Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Everyone Has an Opinion, But is there an Answer?

A glance at today’s major papers and blogs reveals an endless array of opinions about Terri Schiavo. The worst of them, as always, come from the fringes—some believing it would be an act of unforgivable evil to let her die, others claiming that anyone who wants Schiavo to live is a crazy religious zealot (or, in the extremist lingo of the loony left: is an American Taliban).

Personally, I have problems with letting Ms. Schiavo die—particularly when there are family members willing to care for her. Even though physicians claim (and my own MD wife backs this up) that death by starvation is a rather peaceful way to go for someone in a “persistent vegetative state,” I can’t help but wonder whether or not this is true. But I am also willing to admit that it might be a greater torment to leave this poor soul trapped in a nearly lifeless mind and body. None of us can rightly know the truth of it.

What I do know is that the intervention by Congress was a disturbing overreach of power. Even if the legislation regarding Schiavo was enacted out of pure conviction and with no political motive, this bill still has no place under our Constitution. Congress does not exist to pass legislation focused on a single individual. Do you really want a federal government so powerful that they can pass legislation specifically aimed at you and your family?

Instead of passing laws, instead of picking sides, what we should be doing is sitting down with our own families and discussing what we want done if we ever end up in Schiavo’s condition. The only true good that can come of this is for all of us to think about this issue personally and make the hardest choices now.


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