Mike Parker sent me an e-mail yesterday after the autopsy of Terri Schiavo came out. His e-mail was quite courteous and nice but he was gloating. That’s OK — if the autopsy had shown results more favorable to my position on Terri I probably would have gloated also.
Bottom line for me: The autopsy results don’t change the primary reasons I was in favor of allowing Terri to live. Read more if you want to know why.
If you’re sick of this whole issue, please click someplace else.
1)Terri Schiavo was still alive when allowed by the courts to be dehydrated to death. This simple fact cannot be negated by any autopsy. Her body still functioned in some way. Was she completely blind (according to the autopsy, she was)? Well, videos showed her eyes following her mother around the room. There are apparently medical conditions that allow the “blind” to see or to appear to be seeing. This is irrelevant. We are not justified in killing blind people or disabled people. From an LDS perspective, the key question is whether or not her spirit was still resident in her body. Logic would say yes, but we have no way of knowing for sure. Bottom line: in my opinion, we (meaning society) allowed a husband to kill his wife.
2)The autopsy results do not change the primary facts of the case regarding Michael Schiavo’s claim that his wife would have wanted to be allowed to die. We will never know for sure. Michael Schiavo could not produce any written evidence. Given the lack of evidence, I believe the courts should have erred on the side of keeping her alive, especially given her parents were willing to take care of her indefinitely. Michael Schiavo’s behavior for the first few years belies his claim that he knew for sure she wanted to be allowed to die — otherwise, why did he try so hard to keep her alive for several years? But the autopsy results apparently make it difficult to support the position of some (I am not one of them) who claimed Michael Schiavo abused his wife and perhaps caused her condition. That must have been a hard pill for him to swallow, and I feel for him.
3)My major concern throughout this has been in creating a “culture of life” in our society. From an LDS perspective, we should be especially conscious of this issue. The Book of Mormon has made it abundantly clear that we need to be aware that in the last days society will begin to devalue life. That was the primary result of the two genocidal wars mentioned in the Book of Mormon. Many supporters of allowing Terri Schiavo to die have seemed to worship death rather than life. See this eloquent article by Peggy Noonan. Why are people so intent forcing this woman toward death? Yes, some of them have good reasons and I’m not maligning the many eloquent commentators on this blog. But really, what do we lose as a society by allowing Terri’s parents to take care of her? We lose nothing. But as a society we indeed lose when we begin to devalue life. By the way, this is the primary reason I am opposed to capital punishment. We lose nothing as a society by letting murderers rot in jail for the rest of their lives. But we lose as we begin to play God with the value of their lives.
I have many other reasons for opposing what happened to Terri Schiavo, but this should be sufficient for now. Passions run very high on this issue, so be gentle. Please.