Sunday, March 20, 2005

Schiavo, Sunday evening

At this point, the Senate has passed the bill federalizing the Schiavo case by voice vote. Waiting for the House to diddle around, waiting for a quorum and late-night vote.

The networks seem to be fixated on the point that to them this appears a right-to-die case. It's not, for some good reasons:

--Nutrition is not considered "extraordinary means" for keeping someone alive beyond the point of natural death, nor should it be. You and I need nutrition, even when we aren't able to provide it for ourselves.

--Ms. Schiavo may or may not be in an irreversible, persistent vegetative state. The facts regarding her medical condition are very much in dispute.

--There are no instructions written by Ms. Schiavo regarding what is to be done, only Mr. Schiavo's claim that his wife did not want to go through prolonged suffering, etc. And even with such a document, Ms. Schiavo would not seem to meet the requirements for such instructions to be followed.

--The same small group presents every appearance of having hijacked this case: Mr. Schiavo, his attorney, and the judge, with the complicity of at least one doctor who seems to have an agenda.

--The Schindler family makes the claim to video evidence, doctors' testimonies, and other evidence that they possess, and that they say has never been heard.

--When the science (in this case, medicine) turns political, all the facts and claims to fact need to be brought to public view and properly adjudicated.

Where the right to basic liberties in many other sorts of situations has been the basis of federal intervention, it would seem appropriate to take this case by some mechanism to that level as well. I understand that this is what the leaders of the Congress are trying to do. They may not all have the perfect motives, but the essence of good political leadership is to find an appeal that is broad enough to move even the venal.

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