Friday, March 25, 2005

Thoughtful debate

I found it frustrating to try to articulate my point yesterday -- surprisingly, it's difficult to write clearly about life, death and the meaning of it all. My opinion on this is really just focused on the political ramifications of Congress inserting itself into the process, and what this means about the Republican Party. As for the really important issue -- what should happen with this poor woman -- I am not sure. I do think it's a subject that deserves attention and some kind of national debate. I just don't think Congress was trying to encourage such a debate; they were trying to impose their determination of what should happen in a rather heavy-handed, and politically hypocritical, way.

Here are some other views that I think DO add to a thoughtful debate:

Harriet McBryde Johnson, an attorney who is disabled, wrote this article for Slate. She argues that the decision to end one's life is so momentous that it simply cannot be delegated to anyone. The practical implication, then, for situations like the Terry Schiavo case where someone is no longer able to make decisions, is that we default to keeping the person alive. I've never heard of McBryde Johnson, but she has a new book coming out with a great title: "Too Late to Die Young".

NPR's Here and Now interviewed Georgetown University law professor Jonathan Turley on Wednesday about the legal aspects of the case. What was a standard expert analysis piece turned suddenly personal when Turley told of his family's struggle this past winter over how to handle his father's decline due to Parkinson's disease. Turley is remarkably honest and revealing about what happened, and his view is that he, like Schiavo's parents, wanted to keep his father's feeding tube in, but that the law is clear that Congress has no place intervening in such a family dispute. You can listen to it here where it says "Latest on Terry Schiavo" (you have to listen to about 5 minutes of legal analysis before he gets to his own story) or read about it in USA Today.

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