"Not Dead Yet"
She directed us to several links; this one among them:
The argument put forth by this group, "Disabled Queers," is that we should think of Terry as disabled and that those who advocate for the removal of her feeding tube are thereby participating in discrimination against a disabled person.
While I appreciate the bold witness on behalf of Terry's life, I simply cannot regard someone without a cerebral cortex as "disabled." She is far beyond that Pale at this point.
However, the group raises for me this question: if we are to respect the right of disabled persons to have as full a life as they can (and I do), and if we are to respect the value of every life -- even one as limited as Terry Schiavo's in her current condition -- let me ask you this: what do you think is the value of Terry Schiavo's life right now? Ontologically speaking? Outside of the sense of purpose she provides to her parents, her other caregivers, to politicians, and to right-to-lifers who are right now keeping vigil outside her hospital room?
A second point the group makes is that keeping Terry alive via means of a feeding tube is not particularly high tech at all, and does not really amount to "extreme measures." I find this a compelling point. Do you?
Third, all of these groups point to Mr. Schiavo's conflict of interest in standing to benefit both personally and financially from Terry's death. This seems strange to me, or at least terribly naive. I have not kept vigil with a great number of family members and loved ones after a decision has been made to withdraw life support, but I have some. And in every case, yes, there would be some financial and/or personal freedom earned by allowing the loved one to die.
I believe that Mr. Schiavo has already spent close to a million dollars on medical and legal expenses for Terry. Can we really believe that after fifteen years, this is all about hard, cold greed? I think of Schiavo's girlfriend with whom he has a child or two. I imagine she might like to marry the guy. Is that really so depraved?
I truly don't mean to be hurtful in saying this, but I wonder if any of the most outraged folks out there advocating for Terry's life have even thought to connect her eating disorder with her long sojourn in this unconscious twilight, and thus to regard her in a more complex role as one of absolute victim or martyr. The fact that some of them (including children) are actually trying to get into the hospital with bread and water for her -- and they don't mean the bread and water symbolically, either -- speaks to me of a kind of a kind of intentional ignorance that insists on making a saint or martyr out of an ordinary human woman.
People, she can't eat that bread. She can't drink that water. No way, no how. What are you thinking?