the winter of our discontent

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I haven't blogged much the last few days. Part of it has been that I have been busier than a one armed paper hanger with fleabites, but more of it is that I have been feeling overwhelmed and helpless. Terri's fight for life seems to have been lost. Pundits in law, medicine, and social policy have spoken, and it seems that they have all banded together against the will of the people.
The will of the people, as clearly expressed in our efforts to influence our elected representatives, was that the courts start again from the beginning and examine the evidence. I think the legal term for this is 'de novo'.
The legal status for imposing the death penalty on a criminal is that the crime be proved beyond a reasonable doubt - and that the crime be so horrendous that society as a whole believes that justice can only be served by meting out this ultimate penalty. But suicide has become so socially acceptable that we now justify suicide by proxy and even extend that 'right' to where there is not even a preponderance of evidence that the proxy has an accurate knowledge of the victim's wishes.
The New England Journal of Medicine (A rag I am coming to dislike more and more these days, I think that their editorial staff has incredible bias in more than one area) did an early release of two articles commenting on Terri Shiavo. NEJM doesn't usually make full-text available to non subscribers, but these articles are currently available (you will need Adobe Acrobat to read them). They will probably not be available after the print publication date, so I suggest that you print them and save them if you are likely to need them later.
Attorney George Annas writes an article "Culture of Life" Politics at the Bedside -- The Case of Terri Schiavo. He is oh so reasonable (to the point that I am reminded of the speech in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar - "So are they all, all honourable men"
The other article, by Timothy Quill M.D. Some of my correspondents have pointed out to me that Dr. Quill is no stranger to these kinds of controversy. Here he writes about 'Terminal Sedation and the Voluntary refusal of foods and fluids'. I always thought that there was ahuge difference between voluntary and involuntary, but what do I know?

The best responses I have read to date on these kind of patronizing attitudes toward this profoundly disabled but (as of right now) still alive woman is found in this article from (of all places)
Not Dead at All
Why Congress was right to stick up for Terri Schiavo.
By Harriet McBryde Johnson
Posted Wednesday, March 23, 2005, at 4:50 AM PT
The Terri Schiavo case is hard to write about, hard to think about.

She really does say it, and well.

There are several posts I would rather be writing now. I have a couple of recipes that I would like to share - but I feel enormously guilty that I am even able to eat right now. Survivor guilt I think it would be called. I am sitting at the keyboard with my cup of tea at hand, and I am so grateful that I am able to sip it when I feel dry. I cannot even begin to imagine what it must feel like to be dehydrated to death. I've never been sick enough in my life to even need a couple of liters of IV fluids to get me back in balance. I know what my hyperemesis patients tell me about being so parched and yet being physically unable to take even a sip of fluids. But I can't comprehend it. And don't tell me that Terri can't feel this. How can you, how can anyone know this? We don't know what she does or doesn't feel.

I have one other nightmare thought. After they have succeeded in murdering Terri through deprivation of food and water, what next? I can see that the misguided compassion that allows this will go to the next step."See" they will say," You forced us to torture her to death because you would not allow us to make her passing quick and painless. We should have been able to just give her a quick injection of painkillers in a lethal dose. You pro-lifers have no compassion at all." Is this not where the Nazis started out?

May God have mercy on us all.

BTW - If I am ever in a bad state physically, I want my care managed according to the basic principles of Catholic care as outlined in the CCC. When in doubt, choose life.


"First you kill those who want to die," forewarns the American Catholic
ecumenist Dr. Bill Cork. "Then you kill those whose family wants them to
die, then those where one family member wants them to die, and then those
whose families want them to live. Finally, you kill those who want to live
but who get in the way of the state."
Schiavo Protesters Not All Christian Conservatives

Judge Greer gets too big for his britches

"Life, liberty?"

Facts and Emotions

Neuroethics and Terri Schiavo

Letter to Terri

Moral relativism

Ann Coulter: Starved for Justice
Florida Law on the rights of an incapacitated person

Heathcare directives, death, and dying
Series on The murder of Terri Schiavo (may need to search site)

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Just Sad from LilacRose on March 24, 2005 9:08 PM

Like Alicia, I have felt overwhelmed, helpless and guilty the past few days over the developments in the Schiavo situation.... Read More


I wish I had some comfort to offer you, but I don't. I've been unable to blog about the whole issue, although we've been discussing it as a family at the dinner table (sort of ironic, alas.) Sometimes this dirty old world just gets me down.

God bless, hon. You *are* doing something to counteract the culture of death, one woman at a time. Bravo.

Oh, Alicia, I know how you feel. I am boiling eggs for the McKid to dye over at my mom's house. My heart is really not in it. But she is too young, and my mother too old, to postpone doing the things that will bring them both joy.

It's made for a hard beginning to Holy Week. While I was working in the church, my priest came and told me about the Supreme Court decision. I told him it was just another way that God was proving to me that "here we have no abiding city."

May God have mercy on us.

Hi Alicia,

I haven't blogged about Terri the past few days either. I'm still recuperating from gallbladder surgery and I don't have all my wits about me yet. All I can do is watch one sad, horrible development after another unfold. And pray.

When I was waking up from my surgery, my throat was so dry. I said to the nurses, "throat dry", and they gave me ice chips. How wonderful those ice chips felt and tasted! And yet I think of how unimaginably worse Terri's thirst is, and how there are no ice chips to relieve her thirst.

May God have mercy on us.

"I have a couple of recipes that I would like to share - but I feel enormously guilty that I am even able to eat right now."

I turned on news radio for updates when we were out in the car last night and sat through an ad for a diet pill and an ad for "Diet-to-Go" for people who are too busy to cook according to their diets.

When I look down at the trusting face of my innocent, vulnerable 7-month-old about to nurse, I'm also thinking of Terri's mother, and how she must feel about her limitations in helping her daughter right now.

So many people who have written about the effort to save Terri have emphasized the hope that she will "recover." On the other side, those who want to terminate her life say that because she has no higher brain function, she is already dead. It is time to address this serious error.

Terri is a miracle--a living person who is without sin, and without the capacity to sin. For fifteen years, she has lived as sinless a life as an unborn baby. She has never angered. She has never cursed. She has never experienced an impure thought. She has never defied her father or her mother--and how beautifully and steadfastly have they honored their bond with her. She has served as a perfect example of sinless devotion.

Who among us, in prayer, has not been frustrated at our inability to shut out the world, to give ourselves to God in perfect concentration and devotion? Is not Terri's example a gift to us?

Some may say that to live in Terri's state is somehow less than human. This is wrong! It is the life our first father and mother, Adam and Eve, led in Eden before, through Eve's transgression, sin entered the world. Terri is living in that primordial perfect state.

We were created in the image of God, but we marred that image through the disobedience of Adam. Every child is conceived in the same perfection as our first parents, and our Savior, but takes on Adam's sin at birth--that's why even at the moment of birth, a baby's first act is to cry for her lost innocence. Through Terri, we have a living example of God's perfect image, uncontaminated by sin. It is not for Terri that we fight to restore life-giving nutrients and water; she will have eternal life with her heavenly Father when she leaves us. It is for the gift she gives to us by her blessed example of a sinless life on this earth.

Just thanks for being here and writing things like this.

I want to thank you for being at the forefront of this latest outpost in the Culture Wars. I also thank the Lord for President Bush, Brother Jeb, and Tom DeLay for their boldness to supersede constitutional restraints to save Ms. Schiavo. The armies of Christ will not back down under the leadership of Majority Leader DeLay. The time for strict Christian rule is near, a time when America will be strong and moral once again.

Thinking of Terri has made this holy week a real passion week. Jesus' words on the cross "I thirst" have taken on a new dimension. I think of Terri's tongue drying out.
This whole thing is so frustrating because it seems like the courts have taken over our lives and we're at the mercy of judges.

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This page contains a single entry by alicia published on March 24, 2005 1:06 PM.

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