Jewish World Review March 25, 2005 / 14 Adar II, 5765

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Consumer Reports

Killing Terri Schiavo

http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | People who say that the government has no business interfering in a private decision like removing Terri Schiavo's feeding tube somehow have no problem with a squad of policemen preventing her parents (or anyone else) from giving their daughter food or water.

Do those who want to keep the government out of private decisions think that the police are not the government? Do they think that the judges who authorized this are not the government?

Sadly, this is not the only Alice-in-Wonderland confusion of words and deeds in this tragic case.

We are being told that Terri Schiavo is being "allowed" to "die a natural death." Such an argument might make some sense if this were a terminally ill person. But Terri Schiavo is not dying from anything other than a lack of food and water, from which any of the rest of us would die.

She is not dying a natural death. She is being killed.

What is being kept alive artificially is the liberal media version of events. One side of this story is being repeated endlessly, as if it were gospel, but anyone saying something different — including doctors and nurses who have actually seen or taken care of Terri Schiavo — is unlikely to be reported.

The nature of death by starvation and dehydration is also being depicted as "gentle" in the words of the New York Times — the same New York Times which in 2002 reported starving people in India dying "clutching pained stomachs."

This "gentle" death is the story line in the liberal media but a priest who has actually seen Terri Schiavo tells a wholly different story of her visibly deteriorating condition. If this is such an easy death, why not videotape it and show those of us who are less enlightened how mistaken we are? Instead, there is a ban on anyone's photographing Terri as she dies.

Despite the oft-repeated claim that Terri Schiavo is being "allowed" to die, supposedly in accordance with her own wishes, the only person who says that these were her wishes is the one person who wants her dead and who personally stands to benefit from her death — her husband, Michael Schiavo.

When Sean Hannity said this on the Fox News channel's "Hannity & Colmes" program, he was assured by a lawyer who was defending the removal of the feeding tube that Michael Schiavo was not the only one to hear Terri say this. But, when Hannity demanded to know the name of just one other person, the lawyer followed an old lawyer's maxim: "When your case is weak, shout louder!" He shouted and waxed indignant — but did not produce the name of any other person.

This case is one where many people speak with certainty about very uncertain things — and the certainties of one side contradict the certainties of the other.

Many seem certain that Terri Schiavo is vegetative, does not understand what is going on around her and cannot respond. But Carla Sauer Iyer, a nurse who attended Mrs. Schiavo for more than a year, has contradicted all of this. Moreover, she has painted a very different picture of Michael Schiavo than the one he presents to the courts and to the media.

But you are not likely to find her eyewitness account of events in the mainstream media.

According to this nurse, Michael Schiavo complained that his wife wasn't dying fast enough — only the word he used was not wife or woman but a word that cannot be repeated in a family newspaper.

The nurse's sworn statement, under penalty of perjury, is that she reported to the police that she had found Terri in both medical and emotional distress after a closed door visit by her husband — and that she also found a vial of insulin, as well as needle marks on Terri, after Michael Schiavo's visit.

The same mainstream media that will scour the country to find individuals to quote in support of killing Terri Schiavo will not lift a finger to investigate the chilling charges this nurse filed with the police years ago. It might disturb the picture they are trying to paint.

Terri Schiavo is being killed because she is inconvenient to her husband and because she is inconvenient to those who do not want the idea of the sanctity of life to be strengthened and become an impediment to abortion. Nor do they want the supremacy of judges to be challenged, when judges are the liberals' last refuge.

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JWR contributor Thomas Sowell, a fellow at the Hoover Institution, is author of several books, including his latest, "Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One." (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.) To comment please click here.

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