In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 29, 2005 / 18 Adar II, 5765

Orwell and Terri Schiavo

By Rich Lowry

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Denial is not just a river in Egypt, goes the saying. Indeed, it is something very important to supporters of ending Terri Schiavo's life, judging by their head-spinning evasions.

A woman who might (or might not) be in a persistent vegetative state, but who is otherwise not ill and can continue to live for years despite her profound disability, is dying because we are refusing to give her sustenance. We are affirmatively ending her life, perhaps against her will, because there is no way now to know her will. Supporters of this act feel compelled to try to pretty it up.

They say that Terri is being "allowed to die." No. She is being made to die. All across America, in hospitals, mental wards and institutions for the severely disabled, there are people who, if we withdrew our care for them, would die. We wouldn't call this "allowing" them to die. We would call it scandalous neglect.

George Felos, the lawyer for Terri's husband, Michael, explains his position in the case thusly: "I firmly believe in the right of individuals to make their own medical-treatment choices." But Terri is not making her medical choices. Choices are being made for her, perhaps (if you believe Michael Schiavo) on the basis of things she said a decade ago, perhaps (if you don't) in the absence of any stated preference.

After visiting her bedside recently, Felos declared, "In all the years I've seen Mrs. Schiavo, I've never seen such a look of peace and beauty upon her." Maybe Felos has forgotten: If she is indeed in a persistent vegetative state, as he maintains, she can't feel anything, let alone a sense of peace that would make her radiant with beauty.

One expert told The New York Times that "no one is denying this woman food and water." Really? Then why is she dying? Is it merely a coincidence that she might experience kidney failure from dehydration at any time?

This expert's argument is that, since she is in a persistent vegetative state, she has "no knowledge of food." By this logic it would be morally acceptable to suffocate her with a pillow since she has "no knowledge of air." She could be dropped out of a 15-story window because she has "no knowledge of gravity." She could be shot because she has "no knowledge of ballistics."

Then there is the misuse of words that are thrown at Republicans to prove their alleged hypocrisy. For example: Why aren't conservatives respecting the "sanctity of marriage" here? But Michael Schiavo — perhaps understandably, given the wrenching circumstances — long ago moved in with another woman, with whom he has two children. This is no longer a case of simon-pure "sanctified" marriage.

Or how about "federalism," supposedly trampled by the GOP Congress? But federalism means a division of the branches of government, all with their designated powers. When state and federal courts willfully strike down or ignore laws passed by democratically elected legislatures, this is not "federalism," but a perversion of the country's constitutional scheme.

Felos says Terri would want us to "ask ourselves the questions: What's the purpose of my life? And how can I best fulfill that? And how can I be of service to others?" Those are important questions, but ones liable to produce answers that might confound all our expectations. Terri Schiavo might have believed, before her tragic injury, that her purpose was to be a loving wife and mother. Now, in circumstances that would have horrified her, her purpose might be to give a kind of comfort to her family and to demonstrate to those around her the value of life, even when our capacities are heartbreakingly diminished.

Despite the spiritual-sounding mumbo jumbo, Felos and his allies want to foreclose the possibility of this purpose. They believe that some people's lives are meaningless and expendable. There is something chilling about that, which is why they so often resort to weasel words and gauzy euphemisms.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.

Rich Lowry Archives

© 2005 King Features Syndicate