About that right to life

Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.—Pericles, 430 B.C.

Witness one Terri Schiavo, a Florida woman who collapsed in 1990 when a chemical imbalance due to an eating disorder caused her heart to stop beating, leaving her paralyzed. The courts have ruled that she is in a persistent vegetative state. Yet, Terri is not brain-dead and requires no extraordinary means to be kept alive. She breathes without assistance, and her heart and organs all function. All she needs is food and water.

For the past seven years, her parents, Robert and Mary Schindler, have been locked in a legal battle with Terri’s husband, Michael. Michael is perhaps the lowest form of New Jersey pond scum on the planet. He wants to starve his wife to death.

Claiming that Terri wouldn’t have wanted to live in her present condition, he has been attempting to get court approval to murder his wife by removing the feeding tube that keeps her alive. This, despite the fact Terri had no written advance health care directive specifically stating she’d prefer death to her current condition.

An advance health care directive is a written statement that specifies how you want medical decisions made. The two most common forms are a “living will” and a “durable power of attorney for health care.”

The Schindlers have offered to care for Terri if Michael would simply divorce her. Michael has moved on with his life. He is currently engaged to another woman with whom he now has two children. Yet, there is the matter of the $1 million-plus personal-injury award to cover Terri’s care. (What would Claus von Bulow do?)

According to the New York Times, it wasn’t until after the money was paid that Michael recalled Terri’s “clearly stated desire” to be removed from life support—assuming a feeding tube could be classified as such.

Yet, in his most recent order, Pinellas Circuit Court Judge George Greer writes: “Five years have passed since the issuance of the February 2000 order authorizing the removal of Theresa’s Schiavo’s nutrition and hydration, and there appears to be no finality in sight to this process.”

You may note that five years of litigation is not nearly enough to bring “finality to the process” and end the lives of murderers squatting on death row. Experts predict that convicted murderer Scott Peterson has a good 20 years of appeals before his appointment with a needle. Yet, the same people who want to kill Terri believe that death-row cases are never final, no matter how many courts have ruled, but a helpless woman on a feeding tube is another matter.

The judge then proceeded not only to set the date but actually ordered the tube pulled. “Therefore, it is … ordered and adjudged that absent a stay from the appellate courts, the guardian, Michael Schiavo, shall cause the removal of nutrition and hydration from the ward, Theresa Schiavo” [emphasis added].

In the absence of an advance health-care directive, you might think the courts would err on the side of life, which Americans have a constitutional right to, except, apparently, in Florida.

On Dec. 8, 2004, deputies from the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office booked one Kristine Fosdal on a number of charges, the most serious being 10 counts of starving an animal (specifically, dogs). Bail was set at $20,620.

On March 18, at roughly 1 p.m. EST, Terri Schiavo will begin court-ordered starvation. No bail required.

For more information, visit www.terrisfight.org.

For information on advance health-care directives in Nevada, visit www.leg.state.nv.us/NRS/NRS-449.html#NRS449Sec830.

The life you save may be your own.