AndrewSullivan's got a good point.
Here's a question I can't get out of my head. What if Terri Schiavo had had a living will saying she wouldn't want a feeding tube to keep her alive for decades with no reasonable hope for recovery? Legally, of course, there'd be no issue. She'd get her chance to die in peace. But morally? The arguments of the proponents for keeping the feeding tube in indefinitely suggest that removing the tube is simply murder. If that is the case, then how can removing the tube ever be justified - even if she consented in advance? Murder is murder, right? Isn't a 'living will' essentially a mandate for future assisted suicide? It seems to me that the logic of the absolutist pro-life advocates means that this should be forbidden too. They should logically support a law which forbids the murder of anyone, regardless of living wills. In a society that legally mandates the 'culture of life,' the individual's choice for death is irrelevant, no? Or am I missing something here?


Blogger Class of 1996 Reunion Committee  said...

He's right about the religious response to wills that ask for the feeding tube to be removed. If Terry had written one asking for the tube to be removed, the religious people would be morally against her own wishes being honored. It really exposes that the true concern of all these religious leaders is not actually for Terry and what she may or may not have wanted, but rather for the issue of maintaining life no matter what the circumstances.

As for the idea of a living will asking for "assisted suicide" in the future, the law generally makes a distinction between a person who is alive under their own power and a person who is alive because of a feeding tube or other device. So, asking not to have your life sustained by technology is not the same as asking for assisted suicide.

Friday, April 01, 2005  

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