Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Bigotry and the Murder of Terri Schiavo

From, of all places, the Harvard Crimson, a student with cerebral palsy is, quite rationally, worried about where the culture is heading.

The result of this disrespect is the devaluation of lives of people like Terri Schiavo. In the Schiavo case and others like it, non-disabled decision makers assert that the disabled person should die because he or she—ordinarily a person who had little or no experience with disability before acquiring one—“would not want to live like this.” In the Schiavo case, the family is forced to argue that Terri should be kept alive because she might “get better”—that is, might be able to regain or to communicate her cognitive processes. The mere assertion that disability (particularly cognitive disability, sometimes called “mental retardation”) is present seems to provide ample proof that death is desirable.

Essentially, then, we have arrived at the point where we starve people to death because they cannot communicate their experiences to us. What is this but sheer egotism? Regardless of one’s religious beliefs, this is obviously an attempt to play God.
The author, a fellow named Joe Ford, provides a link to Terri’s Exit Protocol. Read it for yourself, and ask whether it describes a pleasant serene death.

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