I’m torn. I really am. Since Schiavo started innundating headlines, I have been thinking about my position on the issue. I’ve outwardly expressed rage and indignance at Congress’ legislation and sympathy and sadness at the Schindler’s position.
Yet, I thought I was opposed to this federal intervention.
Then I looked back at a strikingly similar situation a few months ago: The Michael Ross execution. In Michael Ross, almost all courts (barring Chatigny) had decided that Ross was competent. Yet, armed with an affidavit from a psychiatrist who had not yet seen Ross, I argued that he should be given more time, given more of an opportunity. All courts refused to intervene, lifting stays and upholding lower courts’ decisions on competence. I fumed, I fretted and I pontificated.
In fact, it is eerily similar: Both claimed (Schiavo through her husband) to be competent to make their decision to end their lives. Ross does not want to live on in eternal solitude in a single prison cell and Schiavo doesn’t want to keep on living in a state from which there might be no return and be kept alive solely on feeding tubes.
SO. Shouldn’t I be arguing that if there is some glimmer of contradictory evidence regarding Schiavo’s vegetative state, that it should be explored? That there is really no rush to pull the feeding tube? One could easily say that issues in both cases had been well settled by state courts over years of litigation.
Yet, what is it about the Schiavo case that makes me react so?
It ocurrs to me that there might be two reasons for this:
1. The desire of an individual not to live on in a persisent vegetative state as opposed to the killing of an individual by the state as punishment. The latter should suffer higher scrutiny than the former. A private action as opposed to a state action.
2. The way Congress stepped in and mandated an outcome (come now, really, let’s not kid ourselves) regarding the reinsertion of the feeding tube. The Ross case, no matter how ugly it got, was relegated to the court system. Never did it reach the legislature who imposed it’s will.
I might just be running circles around myself. Help?