Thursday, March 17, 2005

Terri Schiavo, Marriage, and What it Means To Me

By now, anyone who isn't locked in a closet knows about the Terry Schiavo case. This woman has been incapacitated in a Florida hospital for over a decade and being kept alive only by the use of an IV and a feeding tube and is in what doctors describe as a "persistant vegitative state".

Her husband, Michael Schiavo, and her parents and a number of pro-life advocates have been fighting over whether the feeding tube should be removed, and she be allowed to starve to death. There are a host of court battles and legislative actions in the works to either have the tubes removed or kept functioning, and those are covered ad nauseum elsewhere.

My comment is in regards to the husband's contention that Terri would have wanted the tube removed, based on a conversation that they had years ago where she stated that she would not want to be kept alive artificially. My point is that I believe, in the absence of Terri's prior documentation of her wishes, her husband should speak in her place. Period.

This, my friends, is what marriage means. If I were in a similar situation, the one person I would want making this type of decision for me is my wife. Not my father or mother, not an aunt or a grandmother, not some advocacy group with an agenda behind their actions, and sure as hell not politicians or judges attempting to score political points. None of those people should matter. There's only one person I have sworn my life to, and only one person who has sworn her life to me. And if that is to mean anything at all, it means that if ever I am unable to speak for myself, she, and she alone should be able to speak in my stead.

And if you want to contend (as many appear to - unconvincingly, I might add) that Michael Schiavo is an evil, coniving character, then my answer to you is simply that she should have thought about that before she married him.

Marriage, my friends, is supposed to mean something. When you marry, you cede extraordinary powers to your spouse. Yes, even powers of life and death. And perhaps if people considered it this way before they married, we would not have a 60%+ divorce rate. And so, to all the religious folk out there so quick to decry the denigration of marriage in our popular culture, I say you need to be consistent. If marriage is to be the all-encompassing and powerful institution you claim it to be, then you must accept the word of a spouse speaking on behalf of a person unable to do so for themselves.


Blogger marjo moore said...

You're right. And I would hope that anyone who disagrees with your position already has their living wills made out.

The more I think about Schiavo, I think that everyone -- when young and in good health-- should be required to make a binding declaration. That way, it's a non-issue when one becomes sick and/or depressed.

I know it's not realistic, but that's the great thing about the blogosphere. A lot of people are thinking about this now.

8:42 AM  
Blogger The Zero Boss said...

Agreed. And the courts have heard arguments that her husband is not looking out for her best interests, and have rejected them.

2:17 PM  
Blogger the Pirate said...

you overstated the divorce rate a little bit, but regardless of that, if marrage means so much why does Michael have a girlfriend and 2 kids on the side?

Another issue is if they are going to kill her, why are they going to starve her to death, isn't that cruel and unusual punishment? Shoot her in the head or something, but leave her there for a few weeaks while she starves and dehydrates?

Do you know how many MRIs and PETs Terri has had? 0, Michael refuse to allow it.
When was the last time Michael allowed Terri recieved physical therapy? 1992
Its kind of disturbing the neglict she has recived and the incomplete treatment at the request of her husband.

5:51 PM  
Blogger rox_publius said...

She HAS had MRIs, just not recently.

Snd, yes, her husband has moved on. Quite honestly, i don't know how long after the fact, but it's not for me to judge.

As for starving to death. Yeah, I'd choose something else, but if you REALLY want to open the active euthanasia can of worms... well, that'd do it.

As for the divorce rate... yeah, I overstated it, but not all that much:

About 50% of first marriages for men under age 45 may end in
divorce, and between 44 and 52% of women's first marriages
may end in divorce for these age groups.

Sorry, but I still say if I'm incapacitated, I want my wife making the call, and no one else. Chalk it up to a healthy distrust of government figures to do the right thing, I guess.

12:29 AM  

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