On Thursday, the decade-long battle over the life of Terri Schiavo ended. The real concern of this case, however, was not the intricacies of the legal aspects or of the political jockeying; it was the moral and ethical ramifications that came with it.
Without a doubt, Schiavo’s life should’ve been preserved. Opponents clamored this was about quality of life-that couldn’t be farther from the truth. At its very core, this case was about one side thinking it’s OK for humans to pass judgment and speculate about the will of other humans to live or die. It was about legitimizing the practice of playing God over the free will of an innocent person, and taking away the most precious right any human possesses-the right to life.
This was a tragedy ripe with hypocrisy. It turned into a civil proceeding attempting to determine the true intent of Schiavo, live or die? Different forms of this case take place on the criminal side of the court as well; they are called capital punishment cases.
How horribly hypocritical is it that in order to execute a deranged murderer, we must have zero reasonable doubt about their intent and actions in their crime; but to effectively execute Terri Schiavo we needed only the shaky hearsay testimony of a few people who knew her.
If that same evidence were applied in a criminal case, there would be no case-there would only be a laugh and a dismissal from the judge.
Many Americans complained that the government, specifically the U.S. Congress and Florida Governor Jeb Bush, far overstepped their bounds and attempted to circumvent the justice system. People, we were talking about saving someone’s life! I find it incredibly disturbing that the Governor of our state can save the life of a convicted murderer with the stroke of his pen, but was powerless to save the life of an innocent, suffering woman.
Michael Schiavo ended this in a despicable manner. Refusing to allow Terri to be buried by her blood relatives is bad, speculating that he may conceal the location of her grave from them is unforgivable. The shameful nature of this case could take pages and pages of paper for me to get it all down, but the quick moral of the story is we cannot play God. If there is no clear intent, life should be preserved at all costs.
Terri’s parents now can begin to move on, and they should move on with their heads held high, knowing they did more than most daughters could have hoped for. The following quote is for the Schindlers, who are heroes in my book.
“…[and if I fail]; “I have fought the good fight, I have stayed the course, I have kept the faith.'”
Rest peacefully, Terri Schiavo.
Don Donelson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.