February 26, 2005
The Right To Life Vs.
The Right To Kill
In some circles, euthanasia has become popular. I predict, for
example, that the film,
"Million Dollar Baby," will win an Academy Award for Clint Eastwood's
acting, direction or
production of the movie which, while powerfully written and acted, ends with
Clint killing the
heroine, a superb female boxer who was paralyzed by an illegal punch in a
Let's consider making a movie about a real euthanasia
story, the attempt by Michael
Schiavo to snuff out the life of his wife, Terri, 4l, who was left brain
damaged under mysterious
circumstances. Although paralyzed, she recognizes people, smiles and is
conscious by day.
Scene One: Soon after her injury, Michael melts down
her wedding and engagement rings
to make a ring for himself.
Scene Two: in 1992 Michael wins a malpractice
case of more than $1 million for Terri's
rehabilitation and therapy. In seeking the award, he never indicated
Terry wanted to die if
severely disabled as he later alleged in a Florida court.
Three: Michael refused to permit any of the award money
be used for therapy or rehabilitation. Instead, he pocketed it or spent it
on lawyers hired to help terminate her life.
Scene Four: Michael moves in with a girl friend and
they have two children.
In a 2000 trial, in opposition to her family and friends, Michael asks that
tube be removed, so she would die slowly by starvation. Yet Judge George
Greer, allows him to act as Terri's guardian, without, as required by
Florida law, a guardianship plan.
Scene Six: Terri's family - parents, brother and sister
- plead for the opportunity to care
for her without compensation, but Michael refuses, using his power of
Seven: Michael wins the right to allow his wife to
starve to death.
Eight: Florida Gov. Jeb Bush intervenes on behalf of
Terri, delaying any action by appealing to courts on her behalf.
Nine: Terri's family begs Michael to let Terri have a
swallowing test. It is denied, said
Dr. Ronald Cranford, hired by Michael, because spoon feeding would be
treatment" and "would be totally inconsistent" with what was wanted (e.g.
the patient's death).
Scene Ten: A Florida District Court ruled this week
that Terri Schiavo could be starved to
death by removing her feeding tube. This occurs in a state that
"properly prohibits the inhumane treatment of animals, treating the
starvation of one's pet as an inhumane act,"
as Family Research Council President Tony Perkins puts it.
Eleven: A Circuit Court Judge issues a temporary stay
on the ruling until Friday, a day
before this column is published.
Scene 12: The Catholic Media Coalition publishes an
"Open Letter" to Governor Bush,
signed by Mary Ann Kreitzer, its president. It quotes the Florida
Constitution, which Bush swore to uphold as Governor: "All natural persons,
female and male alike, are equal before the law and have inalienable rights,
among which are the right to enjoy and defend life and liberty, to pursue
happiness...No person shall be deprived of any right because of race,
national origin or physical disability."
Therefore, Ms. Kreitzer charges the governor has "the
authority as the top elected official
of Florida to save Terri....The abuses, conflicts of interest, suppressed
evidence, etc. are legion and yet you take no action...
"Why have you not:
- ordered a criminal investigation into the night of
the incident that left Terri disabled and
the evidence of `trauma' over an extended period of time that indicates
possible spousal abuse
- ordered the Department of Social Services to begin
legal action to remove Michael as a
guardian for failing to fulfill the duties of guardianship under Florida
- brought charges against Michael for negligence/abuse of
a disabled individual under
Florida law defending the rights of the handicapped..."
Scene 13: In this same week, the U.S. Supreme Court
agrees to hear an appeal of a case
involving Oregon's euthanasia law, passed in 1997. The
Drug Enforcement Administration, a
branch of the U.S. Department of Justice, notified Oregon that using lethal
doses of controlled
drugs to kill patients violates the Federal Controlled Substances Act.
Attorney General Janet Reno vetoed DEA's action,
allowing physicians to kill 170 Oregon residents. Her successor, John
Ashcroft, revives the legal action.
Scene 14: In Tallahassee, Dr. Gary Cass of the Center
for Reclaiming America, will hold
a news conference Friday with up to 100,000 petitions to Gov. Bush pleading
for saving Terri's
At stake: the right to life vs. the right to kill.
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