In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

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 April 1, 2005 / 21 Adar II, 5765

The day ‘reasonable doubt’ fell from grace

By Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker
Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | With Terri Schiavo's death, we can look forward to weeks, months and possibly years of discussion about what we've learned from this sad, tragic, depressing and sometimes embarrassing travail.

From the carnival cast who camped outside Schiavo's hospice to the pious pontificators on all sides, we've been treated to a surreal adventure through the culture of life and the valley of death. What are we to make of it?

Was Michael Schiavo a hero for fighting to let his wife die, as he claimed she would have wanted? Or was he a villain for depriving Terri Schiavo's parents of their desire to care for their daughter? Was Terri Schiavo capable of suffering, aware of her surroundings? Or was she, as some doctors determined, in a "persistent vegetative state," essentially not "there"?

The Schiavo saga may be like war — something we have to recover from before we can make rational judgments about the rightness or wrongness of our actions. As one who concluded that the humane and common-sense solution was to let Schiavo live and her parents care for her, I find myself at a loss for appropriate closing words except to say that something went terribly wrong here.

Objectively, there seemed on several points to be enough "reasonable doubt" — the standard for any jury considering a death sentence — to avoid the final solution. Distilled to simplest terms, the crux was this: If Terri Schiavo would not suffer from dying, and then she also would not suffer from living.

Fundamentally, is it not better to build our slippery slope on the side of a beating heart?

I pose this strictly as a philosophical question, not as a practical matter in consideration of all the thousands of people living among snarls of medical tubing and industrial machinery, or medical and insurance costs, or even family hardship, which all combined might incite a riot for euthanasia.

In the philosophical realm, where our better angels dwell, check marks in the "reasonable doubt" column far outnumber those in the "certainty" column — from what Terri Schiavo would have wanted to what her condition was.

Although several doctors diagnosed Terri as being in a "persistent vegetative state" (PVS), unaware of herself and her surroundings, others, including doctors and her parents, saw something else — a person badly damaged but responsive enough on occasion to warrant continued feeding, at a minimum.

There was also dispute as to what Terri would have wanted. In the absence of a written document, the word of her husband, Michael Schiavo (corroborated by a couple of his family members), sealed her fate.

But Michael Schiavo's word was cast into reasonable doubt by his "common-law" marriage to another woman with whom he has children. Common sense tells us that Michael Schiavo's personal interests vis--vis his new family were in direct conflict with those of Terri Schiavo, who may be the first known Catch-22 fatality.

Mute and brain-damaged, she couldn't object or divorce her husband, who insisted that she die while refusing to divorce her, though he lived with another woman in a no-fault state that also doesn't recognize common-law marriage. There's a feminist mother lode buried in there somewhere.

At this point, everyone asks, "Yes, but would you want to live that way?" No, most of us wouldn't, but nor would many of us want to die that way. Thus, the more accurate question should be:

"If you were in a PVS or semi-conscious state — and opinions differed — would you rather have your mother and father take care of you or have your feeding tube withdrawn, after which you would die slowly of starvation and dehydration, though opinions differ as to whether you would be aware of the symptoms?"

To be fair and accurate, we would offer some insight into what starvation and dehydration are like. Here's how a neurologist describes the process in Wesley Smith's book, "Forced Exit":

"A conscious person would feel it (dehydration) just as you and I would. Their skin cracks, their tongue cracks, their lips crack. They may have nosebleeds because of the drying of the mucous membranes, and heaving and vomiting might ensue because of the drying out of the stomach lining. It is an extremely agonizing death."

Whether Terri Schiavo was conscious of her suffering is the question of essence. Michael Schiavo's lawyer, George Felos, reported during the deathwatch that Terri wasn't suffering and looked "beautiful." Terri's parents thought otherwise. Given the difference of opinion, we might consider the fact that Terri Schiavo was given morphine.

Even those tending the dying woman apparently had reasonable doubt. In our world on this day, Death got the benefit of that doubt.

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.

JWR contributor Kathleen Parker can be reached by clicking here.

Kathleen Parker Archives

© 2005, Tribune Media Services