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Terri Schiavo -- My Take On The Case, Euthanasia, Abortion And The Death Penalty

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I haven't written an entry on this and this will probably be my only entry on it.

I'm going to post a couple comments I made at other sites which basically sums up my take on it.

Comment made at Slant Point

Sure, your opinion is he should hand over guardianship. My opinion is the same. Here's the real issue. If he hands over guardianship, he's then at the mercy of her parents as to divorce, etc...

Say he turns it over then wants to divorce Terry. The parents -- who already hate him -- would no doubt get a vicious lawyer to take him for everything he's worth. In addition they would go on an endless hunt to find doctors that would say her situation is due to "spousal abuse" and they would file charges against him.

He really can't win either way. If she dies, to some, her blood is on his hands. If he turns over guardianship he's probably financially ruined, could possibly face charges and would still be vilified by a lot of people for having gone this far already.

The only thing he can do is what he actually believes is right and with regards to his morals and within the law.

Another comment which is basically the same thing, but a little clearer.

Comment made at In Search Of Utopia

If he gives custody to the parents:

1) In the divorce they would make sure he gets slammed financially and possibly even make him pay monthly support for her care. No doubt they would have a good argument under adultery law since he has moved on with another woman.

2) They would instantly look for doctors that would agree that her condition was caused by "spousal abuse" or some other fault of his. He would therefore face charges, even if he had nothing to do with it, because they would be vindictive as hell.

3) After all that he would still be vilified by a majority of people for what he's done already.

So it's not as simple as you think. Besides it's medically been found that she's "vegetative" or whatever you want to call it. The only proof on her having any cognitive ability is from her immediate family or those who want life at any cost. In other words they have an agenda.

So there you have it. Diggers take on the situation. He should turn over custody. There's an interesting audio file going around that the father claims is Terri talking. I listened to the audio and didn't hear anything coherent other than her moaning in different pitches. To hear the audio yourself head over to In The Bullpen. Call me callous or whatever you want to, but people also saw a face on Mars and usually tend to hear, see or find what they are looking for when confronted by things like this.

However, don't take this as me being all pro-life about it. Far from it. Most people on the right will rip me apart for my views, but I'm more Libertarian when it comes to these issues. I'm pro-euthanasia, pro-abortion and pro-death penalty. On euthanasia, anyone who wants to die should be given that option and help. On abortion, I feel the rights of the mother should outweigh the rights of the unborn baby in virtually every case. On the death penalty, when found guilty with overwhelming and impossible to refute evidence and a confession, said prisoner should be taken out back and executed.

I am however for parental notification for a minor child in the case of abortion. The parents are responsible for the child should something happen during the abortion and they should have the right to be notified and have final say in whether one is given or not. To allow a child to go in for an abortion without notifying and getting the approval of those responsible for the minor is ridiculous.

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Posted by Digger on March 21, 2005 02:33 AM (Permalink)

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Well, you're wrong on all counts here digger.
Here's why your wrong on abortion:


Here's why you're wrong on Terri (all that about divorce can be written clearly in legal papers for him to avoid all that)


Even wrong I still love you cuz I still need my pool cleaned.

Posted by: Rightwingsparkle on March 21, 2005 08:21 AM


You assume I'd "rip you" for your views, but I don't think they are too different from mine. I'm really more of the libertarian wing of the Republican party.

If there were documentary evidence that Terri would not want to be kept alive in a brain-damaged state, I would say her wishes should be honored.

That's not what we have here. In the absense of such documentary evidence and in the face of the trial judge barring new exculpatory evidence, the law should be obligated to err on the side of life.

Come on Digger. If Terri were a convicted rapist/murderer based on eyewitness testimony on death row for 15 years and a judge barred testing the evidence for DNA with new advances in technology only available in the last 5, the same "liberals" anxious to see Terri die would be up in arms!!

And considering the (dare I say) Mengele-style sentiments of "Dr." Cranford (who thinks PVS and ALS patients should be stripped of their Constitutional rights since they are no longer "humans") who's 45 MINUTE evaluation of Terri has condemned her to slow, painful death we don't visit even on animals -- why oh why is there this resistance to Terri's rights?

Eugenics, maybe?

Posted by: Darleen on March 21, 2005 06:22 PM


Those are some excellent links everyone should read. Out of the four hours of asking Terri to blink or follow a balloon repeatedly passed over her head they have about 5 seconds where her movements coincide and that is all we ever see on the news.

If those are true brain scans of her then she could not possibly have the cognitive ability to comprehend speech.

How come they won't release the full videotapes of her or say an hour of new footage if she has such ability. If anything that should raise red flags for all as to claims of her being reactive.

Right to lifers would defend her even if she didn't have arms, legs or a head though and her torso was still on life support. So arguing with them over when termination should be granted is not going to get you anywhere anytime soon.

As for your link on abortion Sparkle, it doesn't change my mind. I suppose you would rather have things like the Carisa Ashe event happen. She obviously didn't believe in abortion and had 8 kids at 34.

Don't try to bring out the abstinence argument either, because that isn't going to happen as I'm sure Carisa heard of both abstinence and birth control.

Adoption is cool and all, but as you state in your entry:

Since 1973 we have averaged 4000 abortions a day in this country.

Good luck finding people to adopt 4000 kids a day. What do you propose we do with all of these unwanted kids? Open more group homes? Sure some people want them, but if you think our prison population is bad, imagine trying to house 1.46 million new babies a year until they are 18, giving them healthcare, food and an education.

How about you pro-lifers come up with a realistic solution and then we'll talk.

On top of that you want to keep every person alive on life-support even if they are brain dead. I have no problems with this if it is going to be paid for 100% be someone and not cost taxpayers anything, including by increased insurance. If you want to keep someone that has legally been termed as "unrecoverable" don't expect insurance to pay for it because of your pro-life beliefs.

So after you finish housing 4000 new babies a day, add countless number of "vegetative people" to the list of those in hospitals, what are us able bodied taxpayers who have families and kids supposed to get healthcare and education? Our systems suck as it is, yet we now have to support this additional overhead you would add.

I would really like an answer on this, as any logical person who looks at the feasibility of such an undertaking would see it is not possible.

Come on, don't be shy, speak up. Better yet write an entry on it and I'll link you. Or send a bunch of pro-lifers here to tell me where I'm wrong.

Posted by: Digger on March 22, 2005 02:18 AM


Right to lifers would defend her even if she didn't have arms, legs or a head though and her torso was still on life support

I disagree. Terri is not on life support. She just gets FOOD and WATER through a tube because her "husband" has refused her the testing/therapy to swallow and has barred even giving her ice chips by mouth. He has consistently since the judgment frustrated any attempts at stimulation that may make her limited skills at communicating a bit easier. My BS meter with Michael pegged through the roof over his "concerned spouse act" when he slipped recently on Larry King "we don't really know Terri's wishes"...

First, do no harm I weep for a society that moves down the road to eugenics. The George Felos/"Dr" Cranfords of the movement would have happily pulled the respirator on Christopher Reed.

We have to stop projecting our own personal emotionalism ... one has the MSM erroneously reporting Terri's condition... even ABC in their "poll" framed the question to lead to the conclusion they wanted. Yes, portray Terri as a brainless, unconscious thing on life support then ask people if THEY would want to be kept so and one moves down the emotion id chain as

~I wouldn't want to be alive that way
~NO ONE would want to be alive that way
~Terri wouldn't want to be alive that way

Terri is alive, not brain dead. The argument then has moved into the realm of eugenics.

Absent ANY documentary evidence of her wishes to be euthanized her guardianship should have been summarily transferred to her parents when Michael tried to have her euthanized.

Good God, this is reminiscent of courts that keep giving an abused kid back to the bio parent until such time the bio parent kills the kid.

Oh "We were just following the Law!" in those cases sounds suspiciously similar to "We were just following orders!"

Posted by: Darleen on March 22, 2005 06:47 AM

First, I do not want people on life support kept alive. I do not believe in machines keeping people alive. That is why I have advocated letting her parents feed her orally. Everyone is happy, except Michael, of course.

Abortion has only been legal since 1973. There were not 4000 abortions a day before that. I was in teen ministry for several years. I asked hundreds of girls that if abortion were illegal do they think they or other girls would reconsider having sex before marriage. They all said yes. Most women have that in the back of their mind as backup. Most abortions are done for birth control reasons. Just having it illegal in a restrictive sense (1st trimester, 24 hour waiting period ect) would reduce abortions considerable I believe.
Also, in my work in crisis pregnancies, almost every woman who changed her mind about abortion KEPT her baby. So there would not be thousands of babies on the market so to speak. But even if there were a flood, there is a five year waiting period on state adoption lists RIGHT NOW, and a 2 yr waiting list in private adoption. So there are PLENTY of parents out there willing to adopt.

Posted by: Rightwingsparkle on March 22, 2005 09:55 AM

"The only proof on her having any cognitive ability is from her immediate family or those who want life at any cost. In other words they have an agenda."

See, this is the problem I have with the whole case.

Michael never mentioned the alleged conversation he had with Terri regarding 'living like that'....while watching 'some tv show'....until seven years AFTER she collapsed. There's nothing in writing; he's basing his argument on one alleged conversation; he never brought it up till long after he was involved with a THIRD woman and had won lawsuits concerning Terri.

You say her parents have an agenda....doesn't Michael? The only way he can marry this Jodi is to be free of Terri. Who knows why he wants to marry her....because of the kids? Because she's putting the screws to him about it? Who knows?

Bobby Schindler told Glenn Beck today that his family found out about Michael's marriage plans upon reading the obituary for Michael's mother when she died in 1997. The obit stated she was survived by her son Michael and his FIANCEE Jodi. No mention of Terri, his legal wife.

A lot of women would be plenty ticked off after living with a guy for this long, having kids with him, and having marriage dangled in front of them with nothing coming of it. He could have divorced Terri way back then and married Jodi if he really wanted to. (If you're allowed to attribute devious, vindictive behavior to Terri's parents, I'm allowed to do the same with Jodi and Michael). The only way for him to marry Jodi without jeopardizing himself financially and possibly facing jail time is for Terri to die. On top of all this, he wants her cremated afterward..why? Terri's a strict Roman Catholic...cremation is not generally an option for Catholics. He won't even let a priest see her. How loving he is, huh?

Posted by: BorgQueen on March 22, 2005 02:40 PM

Go to my site or Darleens Place and read the nurse's avidavit taken in 2003 long before this became a political circus. It that doesn't change your mind digger, nothing will.

Posted by: Rightwingsparkle on March 22, 2005 08:36 PM

As the parent of a disabled child, my wife and I had to make the extremely difficult decision that should our 4 year old daughter experience spinal problems which result in complete loss of all functionality (she's not that way now, but the potential is there), we would not want her to live that way. We've fought tooth and nail to make sure she has every chance to live a happy, productive life.

I don't expect anyone here to understand the logic behind such a decision, but unless you've gone through the stressful and difficult (but rewarding) process of trying to raise a disabled child yourself, you'll never understand anyway.

This will be my only contribution to the Schaivo case. Following is an editorial published in today's (3/25) LA Times, which pretty accurately summarizes the sudden, and explotative ramblings of the right. Specifically, I find Sean Hannity's week long radio ramblings to be completely disrespectful of the Schaivo and Schindler family as they attempt to deal with the pain of having to let their daughter die in peace.

Here's the article.

Why Schiavo's Parents Didn't Have a Case

By Andrew Cohen, Andrew Cohen is CBS News' legal analyst.

Terri Schiavo's parents did not lose their federal case because they didn't try hard enough. They didn't lose their case because everyone conspired against them. They didn't lose it because Congress ticked off the judiciary over the weekend with its over-the-top custom-made legislation. They didn't lose it for lack of money or because they failed to file a court paper on time. They didn't lose it because the laws are unfair or because bureaucrats sometimes can be arbitrary and capricious.

The Schindlers lost their case and their cause — and soon probably their daughter — because in the end they were making claims the legal system has never been able or willing to recognize. They lost because they long ago ran out of good arguments to make — those arguments having been reasonably rejected by state judge after judge — and thus were left with only lame ones. And they lost because in every case someone has to win and someone has to lose. That's the way it works in our system of government. It isn't pretty, and sometimes it's unfair. But it's reality.

Especially during this final round of review, orchestrated by Congress' extraordinary attempt at a "do-over" for the couple, Schiavo's parents lost appeal after appeal specifically because they were asking the federal courts to declare that their constitutional rights had been violated by the Florida state court rulings in the case. They were arguing, in other words, thanks in part to their custom-made congressional legislation, that the federal Constitution gave them the right as losers in state court to get a new, full-blown trial in federal court.

If you ponder that notion you will realize just how astounding it is. If accepted, it would have meant the end of state courts as we know them. No decision at the state level ever would be final, because every losing litigant at the state court level would be able to walk into federal court and declare a federal constitutional violation. State court trials thus would become like practice sessions and the federal courts, which are supposed to be of "limited jurisdiction," resolving only certain kinds of disputes, would become free-for-alls.

It's true that there are many federal claims that run concurrent with state law. And sometimes, in rare cases, it is necessary for the federal courts to look behind the curtain of a state court ruling. And sometimes it is required. In capital cases, for example, the law requires a federal review of a state court death penalty conviction. In such cases, the government is seeking to kill someone on behalf of the people. In the Schiavo case, a private guardian (a husband) was seeking permission to fulfill his wife's wishes, as determined by the state court of Florida. Yes, there is a difference, one that has been recognized in law and tradition.

If we were to open the doors of federal courts to every losing side in a guardianship case, or a child custody case, or any other matter traditionally left to state courts, we would be changing the very nature of the balance between federal power and states' rights. And we would be doing so at the request of politicians who have spent a generation trumpeting states' rights over the intrusion of federal power.

So how has the federal judiciary reacted to this terrible idea? Predictably, those judges haven't been crazy about it. The federal trial judge in this latest case, U.S. District Judge James D. Whittemore, specifically rejected it. The argument by Schiavo's parents, he wrote, "effectively ignores the role of the presiding judge as judicial fact-finder and decision-maker under the Florida statutory scheme …. [Michael Schiavo] is correct that no federal constitutional right is implicated when a judge merely grants relief to a litigant in accordance with the law he is sworn to uphold and follow."

It is no wonder that the federal appeals court refused to reverse Whittemore's ruling. And it is no wonder that the conservative U.S. Supreme Court decided for a fourth time to stay out of the case. This harsh reality won't make it any easier for the Schindlers, but government cannot run on passion or emotion or sympathy. As the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals wrote: "There is no denying the absolute tragedy that has befallen Mrs. Schiavo…. In the end, and no matter how much we wish Mrs. Schiavo had never suffered such a horrible accident, we are a nation of laws."

I don't blame the Schindlers and their lawyers for coming up with any and every argument they could think of. Grief expresses itself in many ways. By refusing to accept the Florida court decisions, Congress and the White House enabled this grief, falsely encouraged it and then used it, and the Schindlers, for political purposes. The federal courts, on the other hand, by refusing to change the Constitution for one family, acknowledged this grief and tried to deal with it as humanely as possible while still providing the finality that our legal system provides and that our society needs.

Posted by: deccles on March 25, 2005 09:11 AM

My heart goes out to anyone having to deal with a disability in a child.

deccles, I know you won't be responding but I find it hard to believe that you would want your daughter to go through this dyhyration and starvation process that is going on two weeks now with Terri. Who would want thier loved one to go through that???

although the article makes the case legally, there were many times in this country when the case was made legally to have slaves, for blacks to sit at the back of the bus, for women not to vote. Laws change when we finally see the injustice in them. If nothing else comes from this, I pray we will change the law so that nothing like this EVER happens to another human being.

Posted by: Rightwingsparkle on March 28, 2005 12:16 PM

I don't think there's anyone actively excited by the manner in which Terri is dying.

Posted by: Digger on March 28, 2005 06:26 PM

I should hope not. You got to know that each day that passes and she hangs on is making everyone who was for taking out the feeding tube or letting her parents feed her is feeling just a little bit more queasy.

You're feeling it, aren't you digger? Admit it.

Posted by: Rightwingsparkle on March 28, 2005 10:19 PM

If those are true brain scans of her then she could not possibly have the cognitive ability to comprehend speech.

That depends on what you mean by "true." One of the memes popular among the "kill Terri" crowd is that a CT scan revealed she had no cerebral cortex. In fact, CT scans aren't nearly accurate enough to do that with any certainty. An MRI or a PET scan would be, but Michael Schiavo refused to allow one, offering only a lame excuse about thalmic implants (which should have been removed a long time ago, and which in any event would pose no barrier to a PET scan). So we're supposed to be OK with seeing her starved to death because three guys named Schiavo agree that's what she wanted, even though every member of her immediate family, her best friend, and at least two treating nurses maintain the opposite?

Sorry, but this whole thing stinks to high heaven. I'm all for executing capital murderers who have been convicted beyond a reasonable doubt. I am not for executing suspected murderers whose guilt one measly judge finds "clear and convincing," and then upheld by a dozen others on the basis that the first judge's conclusions were not clearly erroneous.

Posted by: Xrlq on March 30, 2005 10:20 AM

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