Tallahassee — As the clock runs down for politicians to find a solution in a widely followed right-to-die case, the public’s verdict may not come in until the 2006 election.
Republican legislators in Tallahassee and Washington were rushing Thursday to pass a law that would keep Terri Schiavo alive. A judge has cleared the way for the severely brain-damaged woman’s feeding tube to be removed at 1 p.m. today.
But many of the same legislators have campaigned in Florida on a slogan of less government and more freedom, the central message that has helped the GOP gain control of state government.
"If that’s your standard operating procedure, then how in the world can you justify putting state government on the back of the most personal decision a family would have to make?" asked University of South Florida government Professor Darryl Paulson. "It’s a political lightning rod and fundamentally the wrong position for the Republican Party."
State Republican Party Chairman Carole Jean Jordan said Thursday there’s no inconsistency in the GOP’s message of less government.
"Certainly people are better off when they make their own decisions," Jordan said. "This woman is unable to make her own decisions. Sanctity of life is a Republican principle, and we stand on the side of sanctity of life."
…"I’m very surprised they’ve tried this a second time," Paulson said. "They [Republicans] run a serious possibility of alienating a major sector of the Florida electorate, the senior citizens." [Source]
Yeah seniors here in Florida are always complaining about their right to be slowly starved to death. Their right to have a guardian that never visits them and spends much time and effort to have them die. Their right to have basic medical diagnostics such as a CAT scan not given to them. Their right for the Catholics among them to be refused to be allowed to receive Holy Communion. These are real hot button issues here.
The latest news is that a House committee was issuing congressional subpoenas to stop doctors from disconnecting the tube and an attorney for the parents Terri Schiavo will ask a federal judge in Tampa to block the removal and review the actions of state courts. Matt Drudge reports that The Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pension (HELP) Committee, Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming) has requested Terri Schiavo to testify before his congressional committee and that this action triggers legal or statutory protections for the witness, among those protections is that nothing can be done to cause harm or death to this individual.
If these actions don’t work maybe a prosecutor can charge Terri with an unsolved murder since she would be a lot safer on death row than in a hospice. She would also have much better legal protection in the appeals process. Or maybe she can be enlisted in the military and then charged with being UA (Unauthorized Absence). I know at Captain’s Mast sometimes the punishment might be to put the prisoner on only food and water, in this case that would be a step up.
Reportedly Caesar Augustus said of King Herod, “I would rather be Herod’s dog than his son.” In our society the situation is the same. Just try to publicly starve a dog to death and not to give it water. I am also getting tired of hearing about hydration. Why use the medical term for giving a patient water? Maybe for the same reasons they refer to giving Terri food and water as life support. Technically it is true, without food or water we will soon have no life to support. "Honey where would you like to go out to receive life support?", "Well I would like to try the new life support provider down the road I heard they have a nice atmosphere and good prices." I am also getting tired of the phrase "Right to die." That has been settled since Adam and Eve fell and is a right that is ultimately denied to no one.
Update: On the way to may a holy hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament I heard that Judge Greer had acted to overturn the other judge and ordered her feeding tube removed which was done around 3 P.M. What is it with judges ordering the death of innocent people on a Friday? As I prayed the stations and read "Jesus is condemned to death" I could just imagine Judge Greer washing his hands and saying "What is truth." Jesus told the parable of the unjust judge that after many intercessions from a woman finally gave in. If only that might happen in this case.
Update: An editorial from Peggy Noonan:
…Here’s both a political and a public-relations reality: The Republican Party controls the Senate, the House and the White House. The Republicans are in charge. They have the power. If they can’t save this woman’s life, they will face a reckoning from a sizable portion of their own base. And they will of course deserve it.
This should concentrate their minds.
So should this: America is watching. As the deadline for removal of Mrs. Schiavo’s feeding tube approaches, the story has broken through as never before in the media.
…A final note to the Republican leadership in the House and Senate: You have to pull out all the stops. You have to run over your chairmen if they’re being obstructionist for this niggling reason and that. Run over their egos, run past their fatigue. You have to win on this. If you don’t, you can’t imagine how much you’re going to lose. And from people who have faith in you.
Bill Frist and Tom DeLay and Jim Sensenbrenner and Denny Hastert and all the rest would be better off risking looking ridiculous and flying down to Florida, standing outside Terri Schiavo’s room and physically restraining the poor harassed staff who may be told soon to remove her feeding tube, than standing by in Washington, helpless and tied in legislative knots, and doing nothing.
Issue whatever subpoena, call whatever witnesses, pass whatever emergency bill, but don’t let this woman die.
What is up with GOP controlling both houses and finally passing oil drilling in ANWR and measures like bankruptcy reform yet can’t pass a bill to protect Terri and those like her from being starved to death by court order. I think we need to pass a moral banrupty bill and they can be the first to file a moral chapter 13.