- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 30, 2005

There is a perverted, sinister sickness in Michael Schiavo’s attorney, George Felos, glamorizing Terri Schiavo’s death, saying she looks “beautiful” and is “resting comfortably.”

Mr. Felos’ statement is presumptuous, extraordinarily insensitive and powerfully offensive, especially given contrary accounts of Terri’s family and their lawyers. They say she is emaciated, her eyes sunken, her skin flaking, she’s bleeding from eyes and mouth and desperately trying to cry for help.

Terri’s sister, Suzanne Vitadamo, said, “It’s like someone who is coming out of a bunker in Auschwitz.” Brother Bobby Schindler said, “This is heinous what’s happening, absolutely heinous — this is absolutely barbaric. If she is in fact dying so peacefully and easily, why not allow a camera in there to videotape it?”

I offer Mr. Felos’ gratuitous observation as Exhibit A to the assertion made by me and others that an element in our society doesn’t just promote so-called privacy, but affirmatively pushes the “death option.” There is something eerily repugnant in Mr. Felos’ glow about Terri’s plight.

I realize many, including some who believe Terri’s life ought to be spared, believe this “pro-death” characterization is over the top, but all things considered, I truly don’t.

Of course I’m not saying everyone who believes Terri’s feeding tube ought not to be restored are death-worshippers. I’m not saying that even those as callous as Mr. Felos seems, deliberately genuflect at the altar of death.

But I am saying all too many have become unwitting disciples of a pagan death cult, which romanticizes death and the death process, and disturbingly discounts the universal human will to live. At the very least they are blind agents in the incremental, inexorable devaluation of sacred human life.

They would have you believe, just as the pro-abortionists, that they are primarily interested in vindicating the choice, freedom and intent of the patient. Yet they don’t seem remotely interested in finding what Terri’s choice really is, just as the pro-abortionists do their level best to deprive pregnant women contemplating an abortion of information that might militate against making a choice for life.

They seem completely untroubled that Terri left no written declaration of her intention not to be kept alive, much less via feeding tube. They are unfazed that the only evidence she wants to die is the testimony of an estranged husband who somehow didn’t remember to mention it in the first years of her disability when he was pursuing a malpractice award. Why wasn’t he trying to honor “her wishes” then?

They appear entirely impervious to statements from Terri’s parents and siblings, and from some of her medical providers, that Terri does want to live, which, if true, would cancel any past contrary expression made, if at all, many years before.

They are so incurious about the many irregularities in this case, especially Terri’s reported current will to live, one must conclude they are biased against keeping alive severely brain-damaged people, regardless of their intent, past or present.

If Terri doesn’t want to live, why did she make loud noises when told all she needed to do to stay alive was express her will to live? Even forgetting everything else, if there is any chance she was trying to express her desire to live, we have no moral authority to permit her to be killed.

The fact Michael’s defenders turn a deaf ear to Terri’s cries and casually dismiss the very real possibility she has a will to live that transcends her brain damage proves it isn’t her intent they seek to honor, but their superior opinion that she doesn’t need to be kept alive in these circumstances. Rationalize if you must, but they are resolving all doubts against life and making their decision on subjective quality-of-life assessments.

Some doubtlessly will respond that the courts have painstakingly considered all the evidence. While I am skeptical about that, I don’t believe courts should have the authority to authorize killing an otherwise healthy woman in these circumstances, especially when she left no written directive. I hope state legislatures promptly address this travesty.

The enlightened among us pride themselves in rejecting the idea of slippery slopes, but it hardly takes a Nostradamus to see what our approach to the Schiavo case could lead to in the near future.

As long as we presume to play God by sanctioning killing a physically healthy, sometimes-conscious woman today, who very well might want to live, there is no reason to believe other vulnerable individuals will be spared down the road.

Then people will be even more sophisticated in characterizing their destruction of humanity as humane. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”

David Limbaugh is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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