Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Silent Too Long

I have been following the case of Terri Schiavo since I first heard about it on the Glenn Beck radio program. To me this is the "poster case, if you will, against euthanasia. This is a case where a person with something to gain is going to starve his wife to death, and the Florida court system is seemingly helping him.
Hyscience: Father Frank Pavone Speaks on Terri Schiavo: Can the court starve Terri to death? is an excellant piece. So much so that in addition to the link I am going to reproduce it here:
- Press Release by Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, Feb 15, 2005.

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y., Feb. 15 (UPI) -- Terri Schiavo is not dying. She has no terminal illness. She is not in a coma. She is not on life-support equipment. She is not alone, but rather has loving parents and siblings ready to care for her for the rest of her life. She has not requested death.

A battle rages over whether she should be starved to death. Schiavo sustained brain injuries and cannot speak or eat normally. Nevertheless, the only tube attached to her is a small, simple, painless feeding tube that provides her nourishment directly to her digestive system. Her legal guardian is her husband, who already has another woman -- by whom he also has children. He wants Terri Schiavo's feeding tube removed. Of course, he could simply allow her to be cared for by her parents and siblings and get on with his life, but he refuses.

I have had two opportunities to visit Terri Schiavo, most recently on the first Sunday of February. I have been able to talk to her, to listen to her struggle to speak, to watch her focus her eyes and smile and attempt to kiss her parents. I have prayed with her, blessed her, and assured her that she has many friends around the country and around the world, who love her and want her to enjoy the same protections we all enjoy, even when we're wounded.

News articles have recently characterized Terri's situation by saying that some want to keep her alive against her husband's wishes. But Terri Schiavo is not dying. What does keeping her alive mean, if not the same thing as keeping you and me alive -- that is, by giving us adequate food, shelter, and care?

Some say that Terri's family should let her go. But this is not a matter of letting her go, because she isn't going anywhere. If, however, she is deprived of nourishment, then she would slowly die in the same way that any of us would slowly die if we were deprived of nourishment. It is called starvation. If the courts permit that to happen, then why should that permission apply only in Terri Schiavo's case? There would be no way to limit it to her case alone. Countless others would follow, and their deaths would be described as letting them die instead of killing them.

Where, indeed, does the state get the authority to starve people? Court decisions permitting this lack all authority, as Pope John Paul II teaches in Section 72 of The Gospel of Life. These decisions cannot be obeyed, because they are not binding on the conscience and are in fact acts of violence.

At the present time, there are two simple things you can do. Educate your neighbors about this situation. A section of the Web site is devoted to educating people about her case.

Second, contact anyone you know in Florida and ask them to encourage Gov. Jeb Bush and members of the Florida Legislature to continue doing everything possible to save Terri Schiavo's life.
Close quote.
God help us if we have become a nation of people that can not only end an "inconvenient" life, but can stand idly by while it is done.

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