Deciding 'Quality of Life'; Don't Let Terri Schiavo Starve to Death

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), November 3, 2003 | Go to article overview

Deciding 'Quality of Life'; Don't Let Terri Schiavo Starve to Death


Byline: Nat Hentoff, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The right-to-die - or right-to-life - case of Terri Schiavo has ignited an essential national debate on who has the authority to decide on the "quality of life" and whether life continues. Although brain-injured, Mrs. Schiavo is neither brain-dead nor terminal. And not all neurologists agree she's in "a persistent vegetative state." But her husband, Michael Schiavo, ordered her feeding tube removed Oct. 15.

The Florida legislature has intervened in the case, giving Gov. Jeb Bush the power to overrule her husband and reinsert the feeding tube. Mr. Schiavo has gone to court to have the feeding tube removed again. She would then starve to death. Initially, the resultant furor across the nation at this form of "death with dignity"- in the phrase of right-to-die proponents - pressured the legislature to act.

Mr. Bush was already in favor of Mrs. Schiavo's right to stay alive, emphasizing that "it is only the lack of food and water that will cause her death," and that she "is not comatose."

However, an array of lawyers, doctors, bioethicists and - to my dismay - the American Civil Liberties Union support her husband's right to end her life.

Harvard University's eminent professor of constitutional law, Laurence Tribe, told the New York Times that he disagrees with the interference of Florida's legislature and governor. By not supporting Mr. Schiavo's testimony stating that he knows what Mrs. Schiavo would have wanted, they "fundamentally violate her right to bodily integrity," according to Mr. Tribe, as well as the separation of powers in our government that gives the judiciary the final say over the legislature. Other lawyers disagree.

I do not have a law degree, but I would have thought that the ultimate violation of anyone's bodily integrity is to starve a person to death.

The witnesses to Mrs. Schiavo's alleged statement, when she could speak, that she did not want to stay alive "by artificial means" are her husband, his brother and his brother's wife. But Mrs. Schiavo's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, who have fought all of these years for her life, vigorously deny ever hearing their daughter say anything of the sort. Whatever Mrs. Schiavo may or may not have said, did she want to starve to death when she spoke of "artificial means"?

Mr. Schiavo is so determined to remove his wife's feeding tube that, after the order was given to reinsert it, one of his lawyers faxed a letter to doctors in Pinellas County, where the procedure was to be done, threatening to sue any doctor who reconnected the feeding tube because Mrs. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Deciding 'Quality of Life'; Don't Let Terri Schiavo Starve to Death
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.