Friday, March 25, 2005

Captain's Quarters on Terri Schiavo

The amusingly-named Captain Ed puts my thoughts into words today about the legal fight for Terri's life. Congress acted and failed to sway the judges. Florida Governor Jeb Bush did what he could to get new hearings within the law, and wisely held back despite what some of the more fervent supporters of the Schindler family's positions would urge him to do. Once again, state and federal judges have refused to hear the case brought before them, a decision based on their prior conduct. The courts are required to apply law based on precedent, so it's doubtful that anything else will occur. Those of us who have supported Terri's parents, the Schindlers, have seen the courts refuse to hear their pleas. There's little that can be done now, and most likely the Supreme Court will refuse to hear the case as they've done before.

This is horrible, but this is the proper legal procedure. This issue has gone as far as it can go. The courts have decided to take a moral and ethical issue out of the legal arena, and we must abide by it. "It's time to cool the passions and start praying for mercy," Captain Ed writes.

For those of us who worry about this setting a precedent in Congress to write more and more intrusive laws in regards to our personal lives, note that the act they passed refers to one person specifically, and contains language meant to apply this law specifically to Terri Schiavo's case. You can find the act here at Findlaw. Read Sections 5 through 7. Right there, the law they passed can't be applied to anyone else. To some it might be easily-ignorable boilerplate. It's not, though. It says that it can't be applied to any other case as far as I can tell. Then again, I'm no lawyer.

I don't want the courts to let Terri Schiavo starve. I also don't want this to become a clarion call to those who think that the spoken right to die trumps the unspoken right to live. Nor do I want those who would prolong Terri's life to think that this should be done in every single case where someone is in a similar situation. This is a hard case. This is one issue where a person cannot speak for herself, and the benefit of the doubt needs to be given as to her wishes. I disagree with the courts; they should have erred on the side of life. They did not. That is their judgment.

May God have mercy on Terri Schiavo and end her suffering one way or another.

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