March 21, 2005

Sometimes There's Nothing Civil About Rights

"I think that every American in this country should also be outraged that this government is trampling all over a personal family matter that has been adjudicated in the courts for seven years." - Michael Schiavo

On Wednesday I started typing, got frustrated and quit. I tried the same thing on Thursday followed quickly by another attempt on Friday. This weekend I honestly thought about it but situations kept changing and I kept getting angrier and angrier. It'll be unpopular and I'll alienate some people but screw it. The feeding tube should be removed...and the federal government should stay the hell out of it.

This morning, President Bush signed legislation that essentially gives the Federal justice system a swipe at the Schiavo case. Why? Because he, prominent Republicans and some Democrats simply didn't like the decisions to which medical and legal experts at the state level had come. When I was four and did this - bounced from parent to parent in the hopes of getting what I wanted - my parents just told me to get over it and stop acting like a spoiled brat.

Since I'm sure some of you are already throwing things at your monitors, lets side-step the medical and ethical issues here for a second. Let's throw out Terri's wishes and how they were or were not conveyed. Let's throw out the suffering of all the family members involved and her husband's supposed philandering. This, and cases like it, highlight the fact that this administration is completely and utterly unwilling to tolerate any supposed moral decision with which it does not agree. They didn't like the answers that came out of Florida so they hijacked the case and elevated it to a federal level. For the last couple hundred years, decisions like this have been made by the states. That's where this one should have stayed. Because - and this is the important part - even if you happen to agree with how the government handled this one, will you see eye to eye with them when they do it again? About something else? Its a bad precedent.

I'm a human being, of sound mind and a citizen of the United States of America. Its been determined that I have some inalienable rights, free-will and self determination. Should I decide to stand on the highest mountain and read from Green Eggs and Ham, I can, as long as I'm not infringing on anyone else's rights. If I wanted to have a Marx, Karl or Groucho, tattooed on my forehead or travel the country with my acoustic guitar extolling the virtues of an all-fruit diet, well, I can do that. And I should be allowed to end my life.

I have a living will but I'm going to say something here for the record in case some idiot Texan president of the future decides that maybe I didn't express myself clearly enough for him. Should I find myself in a "persistent vegetative state" I'd like for you all - yes, all however many hundred of you - to come and pull the plug. See, that way if the Justice Department or esteemed Executive Branch decides that my wishes weren't clear enough, well, they'll sure as hell have a problem prosecuting so many people.

I'm not asking for much...only that the government stop trying to make value judgments and moral decisions for me. I'm a reasonably bright guy and I like to think I'm perfectly capable of making such decisions for myself. So, dear Bush administration, as far as I'm concerned, just fuck off.

Posted by Chris at March 21, 2005 8:05 AM


Posted by: jee at March 21, 2005 8:34 AM

I completely agree with you. I love how it's all "state's right's," until something offends the "moral integrity" of the nation.

I cannot imagine that the way this woman lives right now is the way she would want to be remembered.

Posted by: Oliquig at March 21, 2005 8:37 AM

I agree wholeheartedly that the federal government and particularly the Bush administration should stay the fuck out of cases like this.

I was going to go on, but your caveats allow me to say that with a clear conscience.

Posted by: jen at March 21, 2005 8:38 AM

I agree whole heartedly, this case has gone on far too long, and even though I did vote for that darn Bush admin, I think they should stay the hell out of it.

Posted by: A.K. at March 21, 2005 8:51 AM

Yep, it's absolutely ridiculous. Not to mention "In cases like this one, where there are serious questions and substantial doubts, our society, our laws, and our courts should have a presumption in favor of life."

So then, what about all those people he executed in Texas as the governor?

I wonder if it can be thrown out though, because it does undermine the 9th amendment to the Constitution. The judge might get pissed and Michael Schiavo may be able to do that.

Posted by: Sepra at March 21, 2005 9:20 AM

i agree, whats going on with this case is absurd and sad...dragging it out isn't helping at all!!! man oh man!!!!!

Posted by: lizabetty at March 21, 2005 9:25 AM

You're absolutely right that Bush et al have completely and irrevocably overstepped their bounds in this case. This opens the door for far more intrusive legislation in the future, and that they felt it appropriate to enact law based to serve/not serve (depending on what you believe) a single individual without *meriting* it across the board for all citizens -- which would at least give notice to the idea that the law itself has changed for larger, more relevant reasons -- is dangerous business and not in alignment (as many of the things this administration has enacted, or attempted to) with this country's founding beliefs.

However. I don't believe Terry Schiavo's feeding tube should be removed. When the story first broke, I felt the same way you did. Who would want to keep this poor woman alive and suffering? What selfish inhumanity is that family working from.. what do they hope to achieve by prolonging the suffering of a woman in a "permanently vegetative" state?

Well, the investigative journalist in me kicked in and I spent a decent part of the weekend digging through non-mass-media material (i.e., old public records, medical transcrips, video footage of Terry, statements from her friends and family, nurses at the hospital, etc) -- and things are much different than they appear to be on the surface.

1) Terry isn't, in fact, in a "PVS" or permanently vegetative state - at least not within the medical definition for it. She is aware and alert (even if marginally by our standards), and can respond to requests from doctors and family. She watches people move from one part of the room to the other, and in the limited ways in which she can show it, Terry has a sense of humor.. often making exaggerated or mocking faces to tease her medical staff. I'm unsure why the media is still using the PVS statement... when video footage, photos and examination reports are all counting the claim.

2) The "no hope for recovery" statement is, according to more than a dozen independent physicians the family has brought in for opinions, an iffy projection based on little evidence. The "no hope for recovery" prognosis was made by two (I believe, all of this I'm recalling from memory here) of Michael Schiavo's doctors who, by reports, spent less than 45 minutes with Terry. Regardless, these findings were immediately taken to the media. Why?

3) Yes. Michael Schiavo now has a family of his own and has since moved on... however, he's been trying to get the feeding tube removed since almost immediately after the accident, before doctors and specialists even really knew what to predict for Terry. And most importantly... all the while... Michael Schiavo's been denying necessary therapies for Terry from the very beginning -- therapy doctors who've worked with her have been insisting could, and likely would, have helped the recovery process and allowed her to enjoy a more functional, meaningful life. He continues to deny these therapies, despite pleas from the medical community.

4) Michael Schiavo also denied doctors permission, on several occasions, to provide treatment for potentially fatal infections that, if progressed far enough.. could have caused Terry tremendous pain and suffering. Why? Is he really on the side of humanity?

5) Michael Schiavo is the only person, among more than 8 (i think?) other witnesses, who insists that Terry asked not to be "kept alive" if she was in a coma or otherwise PVS. The others insist that a) she's never vocalized this to anyone else on earth, and 2) even if she DID mention something like that, they're SURE she wasn't talking about being "killed" for mere brain damage... while she's alive and alert and responsive!

6) Michael Schiavo's ex-girlfriend stepped forward at one point and admitted that she believed Michael had a reason for not wanting Terry to receive therapies and recover - which she then refused to testify about after she says she received numerous threats from Michael and others associated with him. This may or may not be true, and at this point, its little more than hearsay without a testimony. But it does fit a little too neatly in alignment with his behaviors and choices over the last 10+ years.

7) Removal of the feeding tube is in itself an incredibly inhumane way to die. Have you ever truly suffered from real starvation, dehydration? Have you ever watched someone die from those things? It is a heart-wrenching, painful, cruel process. If she were permanently unconscious and unable to experience the horrors of it, that would be a different thing. But she can still think, and feel.. and she'll suffer terribly through every second for what could be two full weeks before she finally succumbs.. helpless to do anything to save herself.

8) I cannot condone the taking a of a life simply from the evidence and reasoning reported by the media. Often, the facts and nuances and histories that make the difference, when put together, are those that never make it to those pages.

I approach this from the perspective of the mother of a daughter with developmental disabilities. If something were to happen to Sarah to cause permanent brain damage (moreso than what she's challenged with now) and she were to be in same position as Terry Schiavo is now -- could I step back - knowing she's alive and aware in there, knowing the therapies she's being denied could mean recovery for her... and watch her husband give orders to kill her?

You've got a daughter coming. Could you?

Posted by: Tonya at March 21, 2005 9:26 AM

err.. "countering" the claim. Not counting.

Posted by: Tonya at March 21, 2005 9:27 AM

I neglected to mention... because I got carried away... that some members of her treatment team consider the way in which she collapsed in the first place "suspect". Which would possibly explain Michael Schiavo's crusade to keep her from recovery.. and may also have something to do with what Schiavo's ex-girlfriend knows/attempted to admit.

Posted by: Tonya at March 21, 2005 9:39 AM

I have to say I feel the same way as Tonya. Yes, I feel that it should still be the state's decisions on things like this, but Terry is alert and it seems that her husband just wants her to die so he doesn't have to think about her anymore.

Posted by: Kitty at March 21, 2005 9:52 AM

If Michael just wants to get rid of her or hide evidence or whatever y'all are insinuating, why did he not just take the millions of dollars being offered to him and just go away? I think it is ridiculous that the government overstepped this far. This was not allowed in Federal Courts earlier, because there is no federal question. I can't believe the country has come to this point.

Posted by: Dabney at March 21, 2005 10:18 AM

youa rent alone and I will help yank if you yank for me.

At the end of this is the irony that republic is about state level supremacy. Unless of course you have a moral judgement and then it should be federal (which if the Supreme Court rejected this then you know... how much more federal do you need?)

And people wonder why others are appalled at US actions and hypocricy. You cant pick and choose your beliefs or principles to be applied by fiat.

Posted by: stinkerbell at March 21, 2005 10:29 AM

Like you, each day that goes by concerning this case get's me more and more agitated. I'm deeply disturbed at our federal government meddling in such a personal matter.

It's bad enough that it's been dragged through the Florida courts for so many years but then to have our federal government step in like the lower courts have no meaning, that's simply outragous!

I have not set up a living will yet but will VERY SOON! I would never want to live the way this woman is living, if you can call it living.

Posted by: Wendy at March 21, 2005 10:34 AM

Dabney - you're right, it's a ridiculous overstep.

And while nobody can say with any certainty what Michael Schiavo's intentions are or aren't -- we can argue this on facts alone: The issue is that life support may only be removed in the case of someone who is permanently "PVS", and in this case... Terry Schiavo is not.

Posted by: Tonya at March 21, 2005 10:35 AM

I really couldn't have said it any better. I've been trying and trying to write something about this for days, but you've taken the words right out of my mouth.

Posted by: amber at March 21, 2005 10:36 AM

This is so hard. But I am with you, Chris. Bush has totally overstepped his bounds again. And I also agree that I would not want to live on life support IF there was no hope of full recovery.

But are we sure that she is not aware of things? Are we sure she won't suffer horribly the effects of starvation? I think it's obvious that she won't recover or regain any mental abilities, but is she really a vegetable?

I wonder why the husband doesn't just divorce her and move on. Let the parents pay for her care if they are so set that she can get better, but get him out of the picture. Wouldn't that just solve the problems? Am I being too simple-minded here?

Posted by: donna at March 21, 2005 10:39 AM

All relative merits of the Sciavo case aside - because, like Tonya has pointed out, there are some facts that aren't coming out on either side because they don't help make their case. Anyway - I would not want to be kept alive in a PVS nad have a living will. All of that being said - the Federal Government HAS NO BUSINESS in this case. It is that simple. They've overstepped their bounds and they're giong to lose. There's well establised precedent in the right-to-die cases on the fundamental right to privacy in one's on body overiding the government's interest. Again - they will lose the argument that they have any rights in this at all - leaving aside any merits in the case at hand.

Posted by: Sue at March 21, 2005 10:44 AM

I totally agree with you. The federal government has no place putting their nose in to this case.

Posted by: Lisa at March 21, 2005 10:50 AM

There was nothing thrown at THIS monitor because I totally agree with you!

Posted by: Cindy at March 21, 2005 10:58 AM

here, here! VERY well said. ;)

Posted by: granola at March 21, 2005 11:00 AM

I'm always surpised that Republicans like to have such a big gvoernment that meddles in the lives of its citizens. Less is more, as far as I'm concerned.

Posted by: Jon in Michigan at March 21, 2005 11:05 AM

Dude! We agree! The first paragraph anyway. I dont' have time to read the rest. :-)

Posted by: Bond Girl at March 21, 2005 11:12 AM

Put that donut down.

I'm with Tonya, it is too easy to make judgements based on reported fact when there are unreported facts that could cause us to see things differently. I'm ambivalent (but don't tell everyone).

Posted by: zeno at March 21, 2005 11:26 AM

I wasn't going to comment, but I've decided I might as well. I agree that her tube should be removed. I am tired of a government administration telling us, the people, when we should die and when we should live.
I have since told many people in my life that if I approached a state similar to T. Schiavo's I would like to pass on and be with god/universe/etc. It will be better for me than to remain in a state of helplessness.

Posted by: Jessica at March 21, 2005 11:29 AM

Nothing being thrown here. Thanks for having the courage to speak about it, I wasn't sure if I would or not (I didn't).

And just for the record, my strong opinion is that the government should stay out of my shit.

Posted by: Amy at March 21, 2005 11:43 AM

The government has NO business whatsoever sticking it's fat drunken republican red nose in this case. It makes me sick to think if something happens to me, or my children, or my husband - and one of us makes a medical decision for the other that apparently it doesn't matter. The government butt it's unwelcome ass in and tell us what's right and what's wrong for us. Fuck that. Gah. I must stop now or I'm going to break my keyboard...

Posted by: RockStar Mommy at March 21, 2005 11:57 AM

I agree with the issue that government should not be getting involved with personal family matters. Most definitely. The hard thing about this is that no one can really say what Terri's wishes were. Nothing is in writing. It's his word against their word. Tonya eloquently pointed out the other issues about that case that have been bugging me. A scan of taken 53 weeks after Terri collapsed shows she was a woman who has has suffered severe trauma to her body. Rigid neck (which is present in cases of strangulation), broken femur, damage to her pelvic area, spine both knees and ankles plus broken ribs. All of that is pretty suspect and perhaps that's the reason Mr. Schiavo wanted the tubes pulled even before Terri's doctor's could make a determination on her condition since her injuries seem to point to spousal abuse.

Posted by: groovebunny at March 21, 2005 12:03 PM

I blogged about this last week too.Im realy angry! The emotive bullshit that her husband is trying to kill her is outrageous!! SHES ALREADY BRAIN DEAD!!...yes she responds to do PLANTS.Her cerebral cortex is gone.Shes checked OUT..My god,I cant believe how cruel it is to keep her alive artificially...we wouldnt do that to animals.
Now the govt has stepped in and thats so wrong.Its the same with the patriot act..we no longer have rights.I dont want the govt to tell me or my family what to do.Theres thousands of ppl across this country every day that make the choice of having to unplug a loved one..Imagine the predicament of doctors if this govt steps in and overpowers the doctors.They are going to be scared to treat us!!
The irony to me about this case is that Terri is in this position because she had an eating disorder!! Shes basically had a kind of stroke.Theres NO chance of recovery.Her brain is dead people..let Terri die in peace.

Posted by: butterflies at March 21, 2005 12:07 PM

With all due respect, if she's brain dead - how is that she opens her eyes when her physician asks her to? How is it she opens them wider when he says.. "a little bit more, Terry." ?

If she's brain dead, how is that her eyes move as she watches people moving around her room. That she forms a smile, of sorts, when she's hugged or touched affectionately?

This is not the definition of brain dead. Nor is it the definition of a Permanently Vegetative State.

For my part, if I were comatose (which Terry is not), with no hope for recovery (there is hope for Terry's recovery with therapy, which her husband has denied her for 10+ years).... I'd want to die in peace, and with dignity too. And I'd hope the government would stay the hell out of it.

But that's not what we're looking at here. I sincerely doubt that any of us would condone pulling the plug on a young child in Terry's condition.. whom doctors have suggested might see some recovery of cognitive function if therapy were introduced.

I won't argue that government is intervention disturbing and uncalled for. Though I'm surprised to see so many willing to put Terry to death without knowing if those are truly her wishes, or what might have been accomplished if she were allowed access to the medical services and therapies she's been denied.

Posted by: Tonya at March 21, 2005 12:15 PM

Seriously. That man needs to keep himself out of our shit. This is a very bad precedent to be setting, because puncturing a small hole in state's rights is going to lead to a lot more leeching of our freedoms.

Posted by: samantha at March 21, 2005 12:31 PM

Well, looks like most Americans agree with you, Chris - an ABC News poll shows 70% disapprove of Congress' intervention, 67% believing that such intervention was done for political gain. (This according to Yahoo News).

Once again, Those Who Know What's Best For Us have risen to save us from our immoral selves, as they did by destroying Iraq, and as they're attempting to to do by "saving" Social Security. Well, America, you get what you vote for. Now go back to sleep.

Posted by: Jason at March 21, 2005 1:16 PM

i find the government intervention absolutely FRIGHTENING. it's one more thing, in a line of things, that makes me afraid of our government.

Posted by: jodi at March 21, 2005 1:47 PM

I'm not sure agree with the statement that removing the feeding tube is inhumane. And, I do know of people who've had to make decisions like this. When you are in a PVS state, and she IS in a non-comatose PVS state, your body has a way of shutting things down slowly, bit by bit. Until you take, from what I've been told, your final breath. It's very peaceful. To go in and re-hydrate her after six days of this process sounds far more cruel to me. To make her continue to live like this.

I understand that the fact that she will open her eyes and occasionally move her limbs, makes it hard to understand what's truly going on here. But her husband did not try to have the feeding tube removed immediately. He waited 7 years before going through this.

Posted by: jodi at March 21, 2005 1:54 PM

I'm with you -- the feeding tube should be removed. I am disgusted with the way this has been politicized, all so that the Republicans can score points with their fundmentalist base. None of them even actually care about this poor woman. And it does set a dangerous precedent for the federal government to overstep its bounds just because it feels like it.

Posted by: bad penguin at March 21, 2005 2:03 PM

Uh-oh. You had better clarify your definition of "persistent" vegetative state, otherwise the government will find a way around it.

They might have already done this and I just don't know about it, but what I want to know is if she's "alert" and "responsive" enough to be forced to live like this, then why don't they ask HER what she wants. Or does her opinion about her own life not matter as long as the Feds get what they want?

Posted by: noodge at March 21, 2005 2:09 PM

100% agree with you once again!

Posted by: amy at March 21, 2005 2:12 PM

1) You have guts to post about this. I certainly won't touch it with a ten foot pole in my blog. :)

2) I agree, Congress shouldn't have hijacked this case.

3) I'm not sure where I stand regarding the removal of her feeding tube because I don't have all the facts. As Tonya pointed out, she seems to respond, which seems to indicate to *me* that she is not in a vegetative state. Then again, that could be just be the brain stem spewing out responses--I don't know. However, I've heard that four doctors have stated that she *is* in a vegetative state, and they would know better than I would. They also have the Hippocratic oath to adhere to, so I don't think they would remove her tube if they thought she had a chance.

But what do I know? I hate these damn gray areas I always find myself in...

Posted by: Spring at March 21, 2005 2:18 PM

I couldn't agree with you more! It's been on the news here too.

Posted by: Sweety at March 21, 2005 2:20 PM

i'm right there with you. this is scary as all hell. what the freak is the president of the 'free' world doing deciding on this one case that has been heard by 19 judges? does he have nothing else he could possibly be doing? does congress not have anything else to do?

Posted by: laura at March 21, 2005 2:29 PM

Funny how you think a bunch of people would be throwing things at the monitor. Most people I know are throwing their fists up in the air agreeing with you. Well said -- and let's hope we never have to come pull the plug on you :0

Posted by: Kris at March 21, 2005 3:07 PM

tonya... thanks! couldn't have said it better. while last week i agreed with some to take it out, i have since then learned some of the facts. this lady is not PVS, her husband is ass (another scott peterson anyone?), and thank god that someone like bush actually gives a flying &%#% about what he believes in. most people won't say... also.. how come people want to make it into a republican thing? whats the difference between saving lives in Iraq (most dems) and saving the life of terri? nothing! kill her, you say? let her starve to death? ok, hitler incarnate... lets kill off all people who cant eat on their own. that will be the solution to all our problems. i agree that some things should be left out of the gvt. i'm not a big fan of the gvt. AND and yes, i may be completley ignorant about this (i only read what the media gives me), i know i may sound like a complete @$^&#, but i'm sorry, i value my faith, i value humanity, i value life. my cousin was born in an almost total veg. state. she was given maybe a year to live... she lived to age 16 with the help of many tubes. i'm sorry to have to go so deep, chris, but would you pull the tubes on your little girl if she was born like this? think about it. god bless her parents for caring about her!

thank you for your opinion. i'm glad you gave it, because some people are too afraid to even stand up for something they believe in.

Posted by: Dubs at March 21, 2005 3:11 PM

Well said!

Posted by: Sashinka at March 21, 2005 3:35 PM

i agree with you....i get really pissed off when the government tells me what is appropriate for me to see on television, sure they say it's for the children, but when i have children, i'm the mommy and will monitor what my children watch myself...

and if something happens to me, god forbid my family has to suffer....i want to live not be stuck in a cage, ever.

bravo, chris, bravo.

Posted by: miss macy at March 21, 2005 3:51 PM

Dubs brings up a good point, in that it's easy for us to to make blanket statements without giving much thought - and sympathy - to both sides of the family. It's not hard to sit back, watch the story unfold on TV, and say "Well, if that were MY wife, I'd want to end her suffering" or "If that were MY daughter, I'd keep her alive and not lose hope". I can certainly agree that it's not the government's place to intervene and grandstand about their "moral obligations". (Stalin once said that one life lost is a tragedy, one million lives lost is a statistic, no doubt referring to politicians' abilities in manipulating tragic events to suit their own needs; in this case, it's disgustingly obvious.)That is a deeply personal, private choice, and one that no elected official has any business being involved with. What is troubling is the eagerness with which both sides of this particular argument are trumpeting their cause. Lost in the cacophony is the fact that we're talking about a wife, a daughter, a human being who will either die slowly or live out her days as a lobotomized husk of the person she once was. If you can casually say you'd "pull the plug", or conversely nonchalantly allow her to...exist is the only word I can come up with; certainly what Terri S. is going through cannot in any sense of the word be called "living"...well, props to you. I suspect most of us wish we had that kind of robotic certitude.

Posted by: Jason at March 21, 2005 4:04 PM

Thank you, that's all I'm going to say. Thank you.

Posted by: Lori at March 21, 2005 4:18 PM

Some FACTS: The brain stem controls respiration,response and reflex.
The cerebral cortex is the part of the brain that defines YOU.Its where the personality lives.Once you lose your cerebral cortex you lose the essence of who you are.
Terris CT scans show no cognitive awareness.She has severe brain damage,which has gotten worse over the years tho it was damaged beyond repair when she had her heart attack.Her heart attack was bought about because of her severe potassium deficiency from years of bulimia.There is no truth that her husband did any damage to her.Those are scurillous accusations with no factual evidence.
There has never been a case of anyone recovering from a cerebral cortex injury.
This is a decision to be made by her husband as her next of kin.( If he wanted rid of her as someone suggested,why didnt he take the 10 million offered to him by her family to divorce her)..we all have the right to life but we also have the right to die too.

Posted by: butterflies at March 21, 2005 4:22 PM

This situation is tough. But, it a personal, family matter. Sure, the courts will get involved. That is why every county has family courts, because apparently a lot of families need intervention. But, I do not believe our federal govt. has any business dealing with this matter. I fear for our country, I really do. Again, I ask, when will it be enough?

Posted by: Nicole at March 21, 2005 4:41 PM

I can't say anything but that dying of starvation is horrible. If we really want to be kind, why is it murder to inject her with a sleeping agent, but a kindness to starve her to death. Especially if she has some, but limited awareness?

My great-grandfather stopped eating one day. Refused. He was 102. There was no media fan-fare, even though he was mentally gone. No one was rallying to save his life. It is an issue of values in this country, and we do not value the elderly. But I am truly sad that he had to die from starvation once that decision was made.

I have no way to comment on Ms. Schiavo. I only hope that she does not suffer any more than she already has, and that if there is hope for some sort of recovery, it is made.

Also, you don't want the federal government to currently meddle in family affairs if you want same-sex marriage to stay out of the Constitution. Bizarre how it all links together!

Posted by: alektra at March 21, 2005 5:00 PM

I couldn't agree more!!! My wife and I both have that agreement that if we bocome a vegetable that the other one would pull the plug. I do not want to continue living hooked up to a machine.

Posted by: Matt at March 21, 2005 5:40 PM

Good for you for (as usual) bringing up things that you feel strongly about. :) I agree with you.

Posted by: Zandria at March 21, 2005 5:54 PM

The movie "Million Dollar Baby" got me seriously thinking about this issue. I know when I tried to kill myself, it was wrong, but I have my own set of reasons for that. It's really not as simple as black and white. If only.

Posted by: Heather at March 21, 2005 6:01 PM

Just remember that George W Bush was born in Connecticut, and can't really be considered a Texan. So I wish everyone would stop calling him one, and when I go to Europe and tell people I'm a Texan they wouldn't get that look - when in the past they always wanted to hear what it was like in Texas and thought it was fun to have a Texan stumble by...

Posted by: bisous at March 21, 2005 6:23 PM

More disturbing is Chris' March 17 post. He somehow managed to get B-list celebrities Dan Cortese (l) and Jon Cryer (r) to pose for pictures, wearing his child's bib. Clearly he's being influenced by the liberal Hollywood media.

Posted by: Jason at March 21, 2005 7:06 PM

thank you
thank you
thank you

Posted by: Dawn (webmiztris) at March 21, 2005 7:44 PM

What a fscinating debate you have going! Definitely a diffiult case. But I agree whole heartedly that the feds need to stay out of it. I'll bet that if it wasn't Florida where Georgie's brother is governor, this wouldn't be happening. Like if it happened in California, I bet Georgie wouldn't even know about it.

Posted by: Carrie Jo at March 21, 2005 8:13 PM

This situation is so hard. There's something really shady about Michael Schiavo. If it's true that an MRI was never allowed, what is he hiding? If Terri is truly braindead, wouldn't that prove it (a CAT can't)?

Why did he shack up with another woman? Why has he forbidden rehabiliation? Why are nurses testifying that Terri can swallow?

No matter what "side" anyone is on, it really should make us all think about putting our final wishes in writing.

Posted by: Daria at March 21, 2005 9:19 PM

Honestly, Chris, I started out today agreeing with you. But this is turning into one of those situations where the more I read, the less I know.

For me (and note the stipulation: I'm speaking for myself) there are two separate issues: Shrub sticking his nose in where it shouldn't be (hey, guess where I stand on that!) and whether the tube should be pulled.

As far as Shrub... well, you know how I feel about him. This scares me. The feds are going to get involved in people's lives as long as it's an issue that they feel is morally acceptable? Wrong! Just plain wrong. I wonder if he's ever cut a vacation short to get involved in the life of a dying soldier... oh, no wait, I know the answer to that one.

However, I'm not convinced that Terri Schiavo is in a PVS. The more I hear, the more I am deeply concerned that her husband is just a hair sociopathic. If he can, in fact, divorce her, why doesn't he just do that? Why has he denied her any type of meaningful therapy? If he wants to prove that she is in a PVS, shouldn't he let some of the doctors try these radical therapies? If they're wrong, he gets to say, "Ha ha, I told you so". If they're right, then Terri may have some kind of life. If her parents are willing to shoulder the burden of her, why not just move on? Is getting married in the Church that important to him? Did he really tell two nurses, "The bitch won't die?" After all these years, it may be time for him to let her go, if he is, in fact, being motivated by love. Her parents seem to make her happy... let them have her back.

I don't know enough about her initial condition to speculate on whether or not he was the cause of this, but I do think that there has been so much misinformation spread around at this point that I doubt anyone has "just the facts".

Posted by: Stacy at March 21, 2005 9:34 PM

I agree with you about Bush, he is an idiot, and will always be an idiot. However, I too have read a lot of things about Terri as Tanya has, and I think in this case, it's murder to take her feeding tube out. She is aware and while she may not be walking and talking like you and me, she has feelings and expresses them. definately not PVS. That said, I'll be there if you ever need me to pull the plug, and damn all the Texas presidents!!!!

Posted by: Nina at March 21, 2005 9:57 PM

Agreed, agreed, agreed. The Cdn gov't likes sticking its nose in once in awhile, and it makes me upset.

There are some things that are just plain old your right to choose. No one has the position to interfere: you are harming or helping yourself. While, yes, you affect others, the impact is yourself. Therefore, you get the call.

I'm with you on the the "persistent vegitative state" too. Pull my plug. Please.

Posted by: OSG at March 21, 2005 10:10 PM

I've thought about this and thought about it. Tried to put myself in both sides position and I still can't say one way or the other. I can understand Mom and Dad, thats their child and no matter how she may be they still want her with them. I can understand the husband's side as well, I know that I wouldn't want to see my spouse in that shape and not really living. If it were me could I remove the tube from my husband? I don't know. I just hope to never be in that type of situation.

Posted by: T at March 21, 2005 10:41 PM

This one is a tough one for me. On one side I totally understand the parents side of this. This is thier child, and they just like you and me are fighting for their childs life. They will take her anyway they can. They see hope where there is none.

On the other side I see the husbands side, and Terri's. If the goverment can step in on this, and reverse the next of kins choice, then where will the line be drawn next in the right to die saga?

Terri's husband has said one thing, that I totally agree with. Get your wishes down on paper, perferrably legally witness and noterized (sp)

Posted by: Angelia at March 21, 2005 10:43 PM

God, NPR did a bit on this every four minutes all day today. It is insane. I can't even imagine how many other people are in such a halfway-vegetative state at any one time, and this is just one woman who has happened to have made the news. It's incredible to think of how many people are having to sort through such decisions at any one time. It is so horrible. To be in a limbo state like that for years and years...ugh, it makes me so sad.

Posted by: supine at March 21, 2005 10:44 PM

Amen Brotha ;-)! I couldnt agree with you more. Sure I do feel that no one really knows which side to agree with until your in that same position but in all honesty, what kind of life could she ever live. They say keep her alive, but its open to interpetation on what actual "living" is. Kudos to you for for stating your position/opinion, for getting so many people to consider both sides and for allowing all opinions. Your a good man cactus,a good good man! =0

Posted by: Dawn at March 21, 2005 11:21 PM

I agree 100%

Posted by: Mary Jo at March 21, 2005 11:41 PM

It doesn't matter what you think or I think. 19 judges have agreed that Michael Schiavo is her legal guardian and he has the right to make decision regarding her care. 19 judges. As I said in my post yesterday, this a painful matter that a family took to court to decide. Apparently it's now okay for congress to circumvent the judiciary to pander to voting blocks. Where the hell were these guys during the OJ trial? The white house and congress need to go read the damn constitution.

Posted by: Lisa V at March 22, 2005 1:01 AM

Okay, have to drop my two cents on this issue, too. And from the looks of things, I'll be the unpopular one. I believe first and foremost, we do not have the right to decide even our own death. That is solely God's jurisdiction. I believe secondly that if the body is not capable of its normal and independent processes such as breathing, extraordinary means are not morally required but when a person's body is functioning correctly (whether their mind is or not), withholding what's necessary to sustain that life is absolutely, without question, wrong. Babies, some elderly, and many paralyzed humans cannot feed themselves. Should we stop feeding them? Deciding on "termination" for ourselves or someone else because of the lack of "quality of life" is a decision that's truly not ours to make. We were not put here just so we could be productive or just so we could enjoy life. There are many reasons besides those. Terry Schiavo sees, breathes, hears, responds...she is alive, like it or not, and so she should remain.

Posted by: Wildcat at March 22, 2005 1:40 AM

you know, I didn't comment yesterday because I get angry too.

After seven years I see little hope you will survive. Based on my limited awareness of the situation I'm not sure I can make an appropriate assesment.

For me, I for one would want no feeding tube, no resperator, no extraordinary measures - period. Once my body goes, I want to. I'm still dancing the line of defib. I'm not keen on it, but Matt is trying to convince me.

But those are my choices. If she chose to let go of life, let her go. Her husband is her living representative, especially since HIPA wasn't in place back then.

I've been following this case for several years, and done some research. I say let the woman go.

Posted by: Autumn at March 22, 2005 7:07 AM

she will survive. I'm sure you're just fine.

Posted by: Autumn at March 22, 2005 7:14 AM

Well said, brother. Well said.

Posted by: Heather at March 22, 2005 11:56 AM

I've been thinking about this post and the comments...wanting to weigh in myself. I would start and then stop knowing that I wasn't expressing what I wanted to. Then, this morning, as I was watching the news it hit me. I appreciate your post because you decentralized it from the person and focused on the issue.

Our families, bedrooms and hospital rooms are not the business of the federal government. Period. This goes for all sorts of issues.

I grieve for the family of Terri (which includes her husband... a small piece the reporters leave out). What a horrible situation for them. I can't imagine sitting at her bedside today.

That being said, it is the personal tragedy of their family and it is shameless how voyeuristic it has become.

So, I commend you on talking about the issue of an overreaching, policticized federal decision from the President and Congress.

Posted by: SueBec at March 23, 2005 10:09 AM

I don't feel the government has a right to step in -- in most cases. This one is different because of the facts in the case. But really, it's all a moot point because this man is HELL-BENT on killing his wife.

What I want to know is...why did the man wait 9 years to remove the feeding tube?? Terri has been in this state for 16 years and Schiavo only decided to pull the tube 7 years ago? IF it was Terri's wish to not live like this, WHY did he wait so long? Why did this "loving husband" not allow his wife to have rehabilitative therapy?

This woman is now starving to death and dying of dehydration. This is an ugly and painful death and I know this from experience with my family.

How about if we all take our family pets, tie them up outside, and refuse to feed them and give them water until they die. How long do you think it would be before we were arrested for cruelty?

Posted by: zanie at March 23, 2005 4:42 PM

From the first time when I heard about the government stepping in to do this or that with this woman's case, I felt that it had absolutely NO business in this matter.

Whether or not the tube should be removed or reinserted or whatever is not anyone's decision to make (outside of the family). It belongs to the family, and they need to get their shit together. Now, if one side or the other cares to take the other side to court over this, then fine... that's THEIR money. But now MY money is involved because of these 'governmental proceedings' in which they are deciding the fate of this woman. Once again, our government is trying to play God.

And it couldn't be any further from the likes of God than it already is. I'm not naming names because it's more than one person... but y'all know what and who I'm talkin' 'bout.

Also, I know that I cannot say either way what should be done because I am not in her family's situation and this is something that I cannot possibly fathom having to do... so I have no opinion on what should happen... except that the government should butt out.

At any rate, I'm damn tired of hearing about all of this every time I turn on the TV or the radio or pick up the newspaper or log on to my fave news website.

And that's my $0.02.

Posted by: ironic1 at March 23, 2005 8:58 PM

Well fucking said, if I do say so myself.

Good LORD, I just wrote a post on this topicon another site, trying to find the words to explain how incredibly sad it is that this poor FAMILY is in the situation they are in, but most of all, Michael. He can't do a damn thing right, regardless of what he tries to do.

Perhaps I find myself in a more unique situation. My husband took his own life because he didn't want me to stand beside his beside and watch him suffer. I hope I don't go to hell by saying, in some deep recess of my mind I keep thinking, I have to remember if I am ever blessed to meet him in another life, thank you..

The fricking government has no business trying to make choices for Terri. I had no business trying to second guess what was Johns choice either. I can only wish that no one else ever has to suffer.

In a perfect world.

Posted by: Dianne at March 24, 2005 11:15 PM