Jewish World Review July 11, 2005/ 4 Tamuz,
The continuing case of Terri Schiavo
Pat Anderson, for a long time the attorney for Terri Schiavo's
parents, said the day Terri died of dehydration as ordered by the
courts and her husband "Euthanasia in America now has a name
and a face."
Dr. Jon Thogmartin's autopsy report made clear that Terri Schiavo
was not dying, let alone terminal. As Dr. Carl D'Angio wrote in a
June 21 letter in the New York Times: "Her family loved what was
left of her and asked only to be permitted to care for her at their
own expense. My question is, who or what was better served by her
passive execution by water deprivation than by the first
Responding to the autopsy report, Terri's parents said: "Terri's
case was NOT an end-of-life case. Terri's case was about ending a
disabled person's life. Terri was brain-injured. This does NOT mean
that she was brain-dead."
Her parents also noted that "according to the medical examiner,
Terri was given morphine for pain as she died ... If Terri could
feel no pain, as some would say, why would these drugs be necessary?
In our opinion, the treating health care officials understood that
Terri felt pain."
There was a service when Michael Schiavo, her husband, buried her
cremated remains on June 20 in Clearwater, Fla., where he lives.
However, Terri's parents were not there he did not tell them.
That tells me something about Michael Schiavo. Also, on a bronze
grave marker, he had taken pains to order, he wrote: "I kept my
Concurring, a headline in the June 16 New York Post exclaimed:
"Terri had no hope Autopsy supports her husband." With few
exceptions, this was also the opinion of many editorial writers and
columnists around the country. Another consensus in the media was
that her rights had been, indeed laboriously, upheld by the courts,
up to and including the Supreme Court.
But the true core of this case, resulting in the extraction of her
life, was the decision by Circuit Judge George Greer in Florida that
Michael Schiavo had kept his promise by adhering to what he claims
Terri told him, before her brain injury, that she would not want to
live if she were kept artificially alive.
This alleged statement was just hearsay, confirmed only by Michael
Schiavo's brother and sister-in-law. But Judge Greer paid no
attention to the sworn testimony of a close friend of Terri, who
testified Terri had said her wishes would have been to go on living
in such a situation.
Moreover, Judge Greer repeatedly refused to take into consideration,
with regard to the husband's credibility, that Michael Schiavo,
after Terri became disabled, had for years been living with another
woman, with whom he's had two children, although he had said he
would devote his life to caring for his wife.
Also, Michael Schiavo did not mention her alleged wishes for years
after her brain damage, at one point saying he didn't know her
wishes. Yet Judge Greer allowed Michael Schiavo to act as her
guardian, while not permitting Terri to have her own lawyer
representing her. (Her parents had a lawyer, but elementary due
process required that an attorney directly represent this disabled
woman, whose husband was intent on her interment.)
Most of the media omitted the fact that in Congress, there were many
Democrats as well as Republicans who tried hard to provide Terri the
essence of our legal system due process before it was too
But then, the great majority of the federal judges who became
involved relied entirely on the state circuit judge's unyielding
death sentence. I called this judicial murder, the longest public
execution in our history. Despite Michael Schiavo's bronze marker on
her grave, I have not changed my mind.
Michael Schiavo's literary agent, David Vigliano, is sending
proposals for a book by the husband to publishers. Says Mr.
Vigliano: "I think this is the seminal case in the right to die with
This is the seminal case for whether euthanasia for the seriously
disabled becomes embedded in the American way of death.
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