Thursday, March 24, 2005

Not Dead at All - Why Congress was right to stick up for Terri Schiavo

Slate has this story by Harriet McBryde Johnson which lists 10 issues that are being obscured in all the dust tossed up by the death-before-life side. A disability-rights lawyer with congenital health problems, she concludes:

In the Senate, a key supporter of a federal remedy was Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, a progressive Democrat and longtime friend of labor and civil rights, including disability rights. Harkin told reporters, "There are a lot of people in the shadows, all over this country, who are incapacitated because of a disability, and many times there is no one to speak for them, and it is hard to determine what their wishes really are or were. So I think there ought to be a broader type of a proceeding that would apply to people in similar circumstances who are incapacitated."

I hope against hope that I will never be one of those people in the shadows, that I will always, one way or another, be able to make my wishes known. I hope that I will not outlive my usefulness or my capacity (at least occasionally) to amuse the people around me. But if it happens otherwise, I hope whoever is appointed to speak for me will be subject to legal constraints. Even if my guardian thinks I'd be better off dead—even if I think so myself—I hope to live and die in a world that recognizes that killing, even of people with the most severe disabilities, is a matter of more than private concern.

What the mindless supporters of spousal homicide are ignoring is that it's not a bad thing to make sure we're not killing an innocent person. However, they appear more interested in saving convicts than the ill.

I can only hope that they never become infirm and someone applies the same value judgements over their lives.

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