Absolutely awesome article....

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.....by Robert George of Princeton University about Terri Schiavo and the Right to Life. Go now and read it HERE.

A small snippet to entice you to go read the whole thing:

From a moral vantage point, it can be, though it will not always be, permissible to decline treatment even potentially life-saving treatment when one's reason for declining the treatment is something other than the belief that one's life, or the life of the person for whom one is making a decision, lacks sufficient value to be worth living. What we must avoid, always and everywhere, is yielding to the temptation to regard some human lives, or the lives of human beings in certain conditions, as lebensunwerten Lebens, lives unworthy of life. Since the life of every human being has inherent worth and dignity, there is no valid category of lebensunwerten Lebens. Any society that supposes that there is such a category has deeply morally compromised itself. As Leon Kass recently reminded us in a powerful address at the Holocaust Museum, it was supposedly enlightened and progressive German academics and medical people who put their nation on the road to shame more than a decade before the Nazis rose to power by promoting a doctrine of eugenics based precisely on the proposition that the lives of some human beings such as the severely retarded are unworthy of life. (Emphasis added by me!)

And yet another snippet:

It is pointless to ask whether Terri Schiavo had somehow formed a conditional intention to have herself starved to death if eventually she found herself in a brain-damaged condition. What's really going on here and I don't think we can afford to kid ourselves about this is that Terri's husband has decided that hers is a life not worth having. In his opinion, her continued existence is nothing but a burden a burden to herself, to him, to society. He has presumed to decide that his wife is better off dead.

Even if we were to credit Michael Schiavo's account of his conversation with Terri before her injury which I am not inclined to do it is a mistake to assume that people can make decisions in advance about whether to have themselves starved to death if they eventually find themselves disabled. That's why living wills have proven to be so often unreliable. One does not know how one will actually feel, or how one will feel about one's life and the prospect of death, or whether one will retain a desire to live despite a mental or physical disability, when one is not actually in that condition and when one is envisaging it from the perspective of more or less robust health.

Consider the case of a beautiful young woman an actress or fashion model perhaps who is severely burned in a fire. Prior to actually finding herself in such a condition, she might have supposed and even said, if the subject had come up in a conversation that she would rather be dead than live with her face grotesquely disfigured. But no one would be surprised if in the actual event she did not try to kill herself by starvation or some other means, and did not want to die.

In any event, it is clear that the only reason for Michael Schiavo's decision is that he considers Terri's quality of life to be so poor that he wants her to be dead. He claims that she would want that too, which I don't grant, but even if he's right about that, we should treat her like anyone else who wants to commit suicide. We rescue, we care. We affirm the inherent value of the life of every human being. Our governing principle should be always to care, never to kill.

2 Comments

The last paragraph that you posted makes the article, IMHO. "We rescue, we care." Brilliantly put.

Hmmm...I wonder what a lunch date between this guy and that scumbag "ethics" guy they have over at Princeton would be like. (the other guy is the one pushing for a 30 day period for parents to kill theri newborns if they don;t like what parenthood turns out to be.

Sandy

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This page contains a single entry by MamaT published on March 21, 2005 10:50 PM.

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