I come not to assail the Ivy League, but to praise it. This article on the Terri Schiavo case by a Harvard student with cerebral palsy makes the argument that the people allowing her to die are nothing more than bigots against the disabled. I agree completely. This is a must-read article if you are interested in this case.
Here is what he says:
In the Schiavo case and others like it, non-disabled decision makers assert that the disabled person should die because he or sheâ€”ordinarily a person who had little or no experience with disability before acquiring oneâ€”â€œwould not want to live like this.â€ In the Schiavo case, the family is forced to argue that Terri should be kept alive because she might â€œget betterâ€â€”that is, might be able to regain or to communicate her cognitive processes. The mere assertion that disability (particularly cognitive disability, sometimes called â€œmental retardationâ€) 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 he or she cannot communicate their experiences to us. What is this but sheer egotism? Regardless of oneâ€™s religious beliefs, this is obviously an attempt to play God.
Without replaying the endless “right to life” debate that seems never to arrive at anything new, can we agree that it is indeed indecent and unbecoming of our society to presume to know what Terry Schiavo is experiencing? Can we agree that the way she is being allowed to die is horrible and painful?
I’m pretty sure my wife knew nothing about the “Not Dead Yet” organization when she made her comments here. But it’s ironic that the first thing she thought about was Monty Python and the attempt to kill somebody who’s still a living human being. For the record, this is how the disabled see themselves, as this article shows.