Terri Shiavo - Right to Life?
President Bush signed emergency legistlation this morning to allow Terri's parents to ask a Federal judge to prolong Terri's life. Up until now, this matter was handled in Florida's State courts, where the Florida Supreme Court has ruled that Terri's husband can remove her feeding tube, which will certainly bring about her death in a matter of weeks.
So, does Terri have a Right to Life?
Peggy Noonan argued Friday (here) that the Republican-led congress should intervene, exactly as they have done, on the side of life. Her primary rationale is political, though her reasoning is also moral (how can it not be?; Emphasis mine):
At the heart of the case at this point is a question: Is Terri Schiavo brain-dead? That is, is remedy, healing, physiologically impossible?
No. Oddly enough anyone who sees the film and tape of her can see that her brain tells her lungs to breathe, that she can open her eyes, that she seems to respond at times and to some degree to her family. She can laugh. (I heard it this morning on the news. It's a childlike chuckle.) In the language of computers she appears not to be a broken hard drive but a computer in deep hibernation. She looks like one of those coma cases that wind up in the news because the patient, for no clear reason, snaps to and returns to life and says, "Is it 1983? Is there still McDonald's? Can I have a burger?" ....
But in the end, it comes down to this: Why kill her? What is gained? What is good about it? Ronald Reagan used to say, in the early days of the abortion debate, when people would argue that the fetus may not really be a person, he'd say, "Well, if you come across a paper bag in the gutter and it seems something's in it and you don't know if it's alive, you don't kick it, do you?" No, you don't.
So Congress: don't kick it. Let her live. Hard cases make bad law, but let her live. Precedents can begin to cascade, special pleas can become a flood, but let her live. Because she's human, and you're human.
Indeed, Let her live!