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Willisms

« Amtrak and Liberalism. | WILLisms.com | Beautiful Kyrgyzstan. »

Terri Schiavo's Fight: A Roundup.

Our favorite Canadian writer Mark Steyn has a great piece on Terri Schiavo (via Michelle Malkin):

I'm neither a Floridian nor a lawyer, and, for all I know, it may be legal under Florida law for the state to order her to be starved to death. But it is still wrong.

This is not a criminal, not a murderer, not a person whose life should be in the gift of the state. So I find it repulsive, and indeed decadent, to have her continued existence framed in terms of ''plaintiffs'' and ''petitions'' and ''en banc review'' and ''de novo'' and all the other legalese....

There seems to be a genuine dispute about her condition -- between those on her husband's side, who say she has "no consciousness," and those on her parents' side, who say she is capable of basic, childlike reactions. If the latter are correct, ending her life is an act of murder. If the former are correct, what difference does it make? If she feels nothing -- if there's no there there -- she has no misery to be put out of. That being so, why not err in favor of the non-irreversible option?

The here's-your-shroud-and-what's-your-hurry crowd say, ah, yes, but you uptight conservatives are always boring on about the sanctity of marriage, and this is what her husband wants, and he's legally the next of kin.

Michael Schiavo is living in a common-law relationship with another woman, by whom he has fathered children.

...if I take on a new wife (in all but name) and make a new family, I would think it not unreasonable to forfeit any right of life or death over my previous wife.

Michael Schiavo took a vow to be faithful in sickness and in health, forsaking all others till death do them part. He's forsaken his wife and been unfaithful to her: She is, de facto, his ex-wife, yet, de jure, he appears to have the right to order her execution.


PoliPundit notes these comments from Fox News This Morning:

“Terri has been without food or water for nine days now, and she’s still fighting for life.

“Terri is not giving in or surrendering, she is fighting to stay alive.

“This is not what a person does who wants to die, this is what a person does who wants to live.”


The evangelical outpost says the Schiavo situation underscores the absurdity of marriage laws in this country:


The locus of this tragedy is Terri's husband, Michael Schiavo. Although he is still married to Terri, he is currently cohabitating with Jodi Centonze, a woman with whom he shares two children. Under Florida state law, if Michael attempted to marry Jodi while Terri is still living and their marriage remains undissolved, his action would be considered “illegal, bigamous, and void from its inception.” In fact, it is likely that if a marriage license were found showing that Michael and Jodi had secretly married, he would no longer be considered a suitable guardian for his invalid wife. Yet because Florida repealed common law marriage laws in 1968, he can live like a bigamist without having to suffer the legal consequences.

Florida is also a "no fault" divorce state, which means that a history of infidelity is of no concern to the courts. While adulterous conduct might be used in determining the "moral fitness" of a parent seeking custody, it apparently can’t be used as evidence of lack of “moral fitness” to be a husband. Even though he has committed adultery, sired illegitimate children, and openly shares Terri’s marriage bed with another woman, he is still considered fit to undertake his role as a “husband.” By giving Michael Schiavo guardianship over his “wife”, the Florida courts have exposed the absurdity of marriage laws.

Just from a purely legal standpoint, it seems that Michael Schiavo has violated his marriage contract.

Make no mistake: Michael Schiavo had every right to move on with his life. It seems that he could have granted Terri's parents custody of Terri long ago and sought a legal end to his marriage contract with Terri.

But the media's portrayal of Michael as "the husband" (and therefore this is a "family matter" on which politicians are intruding) seems more than a little ridiculous. Michael Schiavo is the husband of someone else now; he has not been Terri's husband for more than a decade. Why was he legally able to decide her fate?

Then there's the parallel (or lack thereof) between snatching Elian Gonzalez and snatching Terri Schiavo (via Professor Bainbridge):

The sad case of Terri Schiavo has raised passions not seen since five years ago. Then another bitterly divided family argued in Florida courts over someone who couldn't speak on his own behalf: Elian Gonzalez.

In both cases, those who were unhappy with the courts' decisions strained to assert the federal government's power to produce a different outcome. The difference is that in Mrs. Schiavo's case, Congress backed off after passing a bill that merely asked a federal court to hear the case from scratch, something that U.S. District Judge James Whittemore declined to do. By contrast, those who wanted the federal government to intervene in Elian Gonzalez's case went all the way, supporting a predawn armed federal raid on the morning before Easter to seize the 6-year-old boy despite a federal appeals court's refusal to order his surrender.

Both cases were marked with hypocrisy and political posturing galore. ...

... liberals have gotten off easy for some of the somersaulting arguments they have made on behalf of judicial independence and states' rights to justify their position that Terri Schiavo should not be saved. Many made the opposite arguments in the Elian Gonzalez case.

Michael Barone believes the fight to save Terri was not posturing or some kind of cynical ploy:

...the response of elected officials reflects one of the great strengths in our country: a confident belief in moral principles that stands in vivid contrast with what we see in much of Europe and in the supposedly sophisticated precincts of this country.

John Hinderaker of Powerline, writing in The Weekly Standard, asks "Fake but Accurate Again?" (via nicedoggie.net)

(1) The memo itself conveys no information about its source. (2) It is very poorly done, containing a number of typographical errors, failing to get the number of the Senate bill correct, and using points cribbed word-for-word from an advocacy group's website. (3) The politically controversial statements are out of place in a talking points memo, and seem, on the contrary, ideally framed to create talking points for the Democrats. (4) Somewhat bizarrely, after the contents of the memo had been reported, someone corrected those typographical errors--but only those errors that had been pointed out by ABC. (5) No one has reported seeing any Republican distributing the suspect memo; the only people confirmed to have passed out the memo were Democratic staffers.

A REASONABLE CONCLUSION would be that the "talking points memo" might be a fake, created by Democrats to cast aspersions on the motives of the Republican leadership.

UPDATE:

This piece from The Harvard Crimson (via Powerline) is definitely worth a read:

Besides being disabled, Schiavo and I have something important in common, that is, someone attempted to terminate my life by removing my endotracheal tube during resuscitation in my first hour of life. This was a quality-of-life decision: I was simply taking too long to breathe on my own, and the person who pulled the tube believed I would be severely disabled if I lived, since lack of oxygen causes cerebral palsy. (I was saved by my family doctor inserting another tube as quickly as possible.) The point of this is not that I ended up at Harvard and Schiavo did not, as some people would undoubtedly conclude. The point is that society already believes to some degree that it is acceptable to murder disabled people.

Posted by Will Franklin · 28 March 2005 04:54 PM

Comments

Will there be an investigation of the miscariages of justice?
The atrocious fact that terri's family are strip searched and guarded with armed police is enough to show us all how wrong, something is! I don't believe for a minute this was any part of this alledged wish... Imagine your mother or father having to go through such humiliating rituals in order to see you? The control and hatred of this man is beyond belief! No matter how you think about Terri and her wishes this is so uncalled for...It is a total abomination!

Posted by: linda at March 28, 2005 06:53 PM

Legally will the judges rulings become law? I hope that public scrutiny will allow some kind of investigation! The disregard for a written will bothers me in this case. Another thing is the abusive way the judge allowed her money to be used for legal fees! Doesn't that alone deserve some kind of Congressional action or investigation?

Posted by: Zsa zsa at March 28, 2005 07:23 PM

As with the millions of birth control abortions, I hope wiser future generations will look back on the killing of Terri with shame and disgust. It particularly angers me that the MSM cannot or will not report this case factually and constantly resorts to comparing it to an end of life situation, which is was not until m. schiavo and g. greer made it one. It is incomprehensible that murder is being committed by the state on behalf of this clearly conflicted, philandering s.o.b.

Posted by: Homer at March 28, 2005 07:55 PM

LIBERAL or CONSERVATIVE, Where ever stand on the political spectrum with this story it is hard to watch and see what has conspired...
#!. A judge who has accepted campaign contributions from Mr. Schiavos attorney.
#2. A guardian/ husband who has a conflicts of interests of his own with the issue of creating a new family.
#3. The misuse of funds that were awarded for Terri's treatment and care. These funds were allowed to be used up under Judge Greer's OK...
#4. The inconsideration of the judge to allow a new diagnosis of doctors who believed Terri could be rehabilitated in some way...and was not in a persistant vegetative state!
#5. The sworn statements ignored that Michael Schiavo said over & over sounding like a broken record "he did not know what Terri wanted"
#6. The way the judge ignored requests for the parents to be allowed any consideration from the court on their daughters matters.
#7. The way Terri's parents are being strip searched and hovered over by armed police officers upon visitation .

I truly believe this case should be looked at closer. If it takes an act of congress to make things right? That is what it takes. I applaud
Those who took a stand for this lady who can not speak for herself. I think the contribution they made for all disabled americans is to be commended. For those who didn't I think they are cowardly despicable leaders for our country.

Posted by: Zsa ZSa at March 29, 2005 11:06 AM

FLORIDA LAW REQUIRES A PERSONS BODY TO BE AUTOPSYED BEFORE IT IS ALLOWED TO BE CREMATED...!!! It just goes to show once again that michael Schiavois not doing any favors for anyone as usual...!!! What a creep, This individual is a wicked, self centered man...I actual wanted to believe he was going to do something for unselfish reasons.WOW!!! was I ever WRONG.

Posted by: Lisa at March 29, 2005 03:53 PM

WOW! This is were the lions are actually sitting down with the lambs! Yea JESSE JACKSON!! IF he can do this it will truly be amazing! the last time he did anything I really agreed with him on was the hostage crisis....Where was that Lebanon? HANG IN THERE TERRI!

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at March 29, 2005 09:05 PM