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March 28, 2005


Now that Robert Schindler--the father of Terri Schiavo--is under the sway of Randall Terry (the anti-abortion terrorist, one of whose acolytes and deputies was the abortion-doc killer James Kopp), his rhetoric has increased in vehemence against letting a human vegetable die in peace.

But it wasn't always that way. The Guardian reported back in 2003 that Schiavo's father turned off the life support systems on his very own mother:

"But, given the vehemence with which he has been fighting to prolong Terri's life, it is a little surprising to learn that Robert decided to turn off the life-support system for his mother. She was 79 at the time, and had been ill with pneumonia for a week, when her kidneys gave out. "I can remember like yesterday the doctors said she had a good life. I asked, 'If you put her on a ventilator does she have a chance of surviving, of coming out of this thing?' Robert says. ' I was very angry with God because I didn't want to make those decisions.'"

So, Tom Delay agreed to the snuffing of his vegetable father, and Schiavo's father gave his mother release from suffering when (unlike Terri) her brain still worked but her kidneys failed. We, my friends, are awash in religious hypocrisy...(Thanks to Raw Story for digging out the Guardian clip.)

And the bad news just keeps on comin' -- Congress is gearing up to pass new legislation restricting the right to die, reports the New York Times this morning. Moreover, the Democrats are already showing signs of caving. It's stomach-turning that Barney Frank -- who led the House debate against the DeLay bill on Schiavo -- appears to be in favor of new restrictions to prevent human vegetables from being released from their lifeless brains and inanimate bodies:

"The Republican-controlled House," says today's Times, "already passed a bill that would allow the federal courts to review cases like Ms. Schiavo's, in which the patient has left no written instructions, the family is at odds and state courts have ordered a feeding tube to be withdrawn. That bill evolved into one that was narrowly tailored to Ms. Schiavo.

"Now some Democrats, prodded by advocates for the disabled, say Congress should consider whether such a law is needed. 'I think we should look into this and very possibly legislate it,' said Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts, who opposed Congressional action in the Schiavo case. Mr. Frank was speaking on Sunday on the ABC News program 'This Week With George Stephanopoulos.' Mr. Frank added: "I think Congress needs to do more. Because I've spoken with a lot of disability groups who are concerned that, even where a choice is made to terminate life, it might be coerced by circumstances." Barney, Barney, what the f--- are you doing? You were on C-Span Morning Journal this morning for a half an hour, and I still couldn't tell exactly what specific new legislative restrictions you favor. But many of the proposals coming from the disability lobbies are very disturbing--and all demand the drastic intervention of the State in what should be a very private choice.

Yesterday, "Holy Joe" Lieberman used a Meet the Press appearance not only to side with Bush-Rove-DeLay on Schiavo, but to say his fellow Nutmeg State lawmaker, Republican Congressman Chris Shays of Connecticut, was dead wrong when he denounced the Republicans as having become "the party of theocracy" (the ultra-righties at NewsMax are gloating). With nearly half the Democrats who voted on the Schiavo matter in the House having voted with DeLay, and with the leader of the opposition to DeLay on the Schiavo case now proclaiming that "Congress needs to do more" to put restrictions on an intestate patient's right to die, it is inevitable that whatever the Republicans cook up this time -- and make no mistake, it will be highly restrictive -- will pass, overwhelmingly. And the State will take put on Seven League Boots to walk all over the rights of a hopelessly absent individual (and that individual's spouse) to an end of life choice that is based on science, not superstition. Gay people, who have no standing in most states where medical decisions about their partner is concerned, are going to have even rougher sledding now, because they cannot be legally wed.

But so will most Americans--since, even if you have a living will now, there is only a 50% chance of having it honored by a hospital, as a raft of studies shows--this horrifying statistic can't be repeated enough. So, make sure you not only have a living will, but also a medical power of attorney, and a videotaped recording of your wishes in the event of such a catastrophic, brain-killing illness -- then cross your fingers. Maybe then, but only maybe, you may have a chance to survive the gauntlet of barriers -- about to be raised considerably higher by Congress -- that prevent the realization of your wish not to spend years, even decades, as a potted plant.

Posted by Direland at 11:30 AM | Permalink


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Texas 1999 Legislative Session, SB1260, as most people know, in 166.039 (f) says there should be no presumption that a living will hasn't been signed, even if none is in evidence.

Even though the law sets out that forging a DNR or "advanced directive" (in the language of SB1260) is "attempted homicide," there are no penalties set out for insurers who pressure patients to sign them, even as they remind insurers that they shouldn't do it.

Posted by: Josh Narins | Mar 29, 2005 7:42:12 PM

Sorry about the double post. Ech. Stupid computer.

Posted by: John D. | Mar 29, 2005 4:53:43 PM

Hooboy: no kidding. I just read at Yahoo news that Jesse Jackson, of all people, is "praying" with Terri Schiavo's parents today. As if involving himself with the Michael Jackson circus wasn't enough of a fiasco for him.

The snake pit surrounding Schiavo's parents is filled with extremist nutobs who hate Jackson and want him dead. This shouldn't have to be explained to him.

Posted by: John D. | Mar 29, 2005 2:26:03 PM

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