When Mary Jane Owen was hospitalized with pneumonia, her doctor suggested that she decline antibiotics.
She was, after all, elderly, blind and used a wheelchair.
"He thought pneumonia would be such a wonderful way to die," said Owen, who fired him and continued her career as a disability activist.
"It lets me know how some doctors value my life."
It fueled her activism on behalf of Terry Schiavo, a brain-damaged Florida woman whose parents are trying to stop her husband from disconnecting her feeding tube. She has also denounced the movie "Million Dollar Baby" for what she calls its unrealistic portrayal of the options after spinal injury.
Owen, who spoke last night at St. Paul Seminary in East Carnegie, formerly worked with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and has spoken at the Vatican. She is founder and national director of Disabled Catholics in Action.
Her criticisms of the Schiavo case are many. She cites affidavits from friends and nurses who swear that Schiavo recognizes them and can swallow unaided. Newly published research shows that when loved ones speak to someone in a "permanent vegetative state," there is activity in the parts of the brain that would respond in a normal person, she said.
…"I said, well that is probably why so many people who are disabled have fallen away. They don’t identify with their brokenness as much as with what they can do. It dawned on me that the theology of disability should be the theology of resurrection," she said.
"So many of the saints have been disabled. I think they recognize the power of the soul or the spirit." [Source]
She was on Catholic Answers last week with an informative show. [Listen] [Download] During the show she mentioned that she has been in contact with Bishop Lynch over the last couple of years and that so far she has been unsuccessful in persuading him to her point of view (which is really the Catholic point of view). See also her review of Million Dollar Baby.