I haven't written about this yet
I have all kinds of excuses, from not wanting to think about it to not wanting to get into it to directing my mental energies toward graduation. But I had a pretty vehement argument about this with my DH tonight, and my emotion on the subject surprised me.
So I feel that the time has come for me to put in my 2¢.
I think it is absolutely inhumane to remove Terri Schiavo's feeding tube. So many have already written so much and so eloquently about this, that I just want to make 2 points.
1. Terri is probably conscious. She can respond to stimuli and may even be able to make coherent responses. A "vegetable" has minimal response even to sharp pain. She may be suffering from something similar to "locked-in syndrome" in which a patient is conscious but unable to move, talk, or respond as a result of her heart attack in 1990. She will feel pain and sickness as she dies of dehydration (you dehydrate about 4 times faster than you starve to death). Some have made the declaration that "Terri wouldn't want to live this way". Of course not, but she may not always have to.
2. What is the difference between Terri Schiavo and a quadraplegic who can breathe but cannot swallow? (although such cases are rare, it is possible) That person must also be fed through a tube and have their other bodily functions attended to, yet we would never consider withdrawing food from such a person. Is it because they can communicate with us, even rudimentarily? Is it because we're sure that they're really "in there"?
While Terri is not terminally ill, how she has been treated by those who should be protecting her (her so-called husband and the courts) says a heck of a lot about our rights at the end of our lives and how our human dignity will be respected when we can no longer speak for ourselves. Does human life mean so little that we can terminate it slowly and painfully on a whim? I mean there's a big difference between starving and dehydrating someone and stopping extraordinary lifesaving measures when someone is already clinically dead. Terri's life may be less active or useful than it was when she was healthy, but she is still alive, regardless of whether she knows it or not.
Allowing her even the simplest dignity at her death requires us to let her finish her life in her own time and God's, not to die a horribly painful, slow death at the hands of a man who would rather kill her than allow someone else to decide her fate. Perhaps she would have preferred to have her life ended, rather than live like this, but if that was really the case, why didn't he pull the plug on Terri in 1990 when she was dependent on machines as well as the feeding tube? She would have died quickly and painlessly, within minutes. Why wait 10 years before deciding that this is not what Terri wanted?
I couldn't starve an animal to death, how could anyone possibly do this to a human being?