Monday, March 21, 2005

Straight thoughts 130

March 21, 2005

After many ups and downs, the Terri Schiavo case, ignored in the past by the politically-correct, culture-of-death media, has become so important that it could not be ignored by the Us Congress, by the US Senate, by the US President and by the media.

The US Congress has taken the unprecedented action to reconvene on a Sunday night and have a vote after midnight. More importantly, the vote was 203-58 in favour of the legislation that allows the family to appeal to the federal courts.

In the meantime the Canadian media, with their usual bias, are trying their best to discredit the action of the US Congress. The Globe and Mail for example is misrepresenting the purpose of the legislation by asking the question, under the guise of an informal poll: "Do you believe U.S. Republicans are doing the right thing in creating legislation to prolong the life of brain-damaged Terri Schiavo?".

The US Congress recognizes its Constitutional requirement to protect the life, freedom and opportunity for every citizen. President Bush pointed out that when there is a doubt, the courts "should have a presumption in favor of life" and that "The culture of life must extend to individuals with disabilities."

However, the confusion generated by many radio talk shows and other media has not yet been clarified.

On one side of the argument some commentators try to explain how, in the interest of a a dignified death (presumably because of an un-dignified quality of life) Terri should be starved to death as an act of compassion. They are prepared to believe those medical reports that assure that Terri is incapable of feeling any pain, or anything at all. They are prepared to believe the husband's story that Terri would not want to live this way.

On the other side of the argument, some commentators are trying to analyze Terri's particular case, the possibility of her having been abused, the possibility of her husband lying, her ability to follow a balloon and her ability to react by screaming, when she was asked to say: "I want to live".

What many commentators are missing is moral direction. What to do in these cases?

The answer is simpler than expected.

First we need to distinguish between "ordinary means", such as food and water, versus "extraordinary means" of life support.

Once that has been clarified, then the moral directive is "Not to ever deny a human being ordinary means of life support", independently of the person's condition, ability to think or react. Life is an inalienable right of all human beings. Do we not sustain life by feeding babies? Do we not feed people in a coma? Do we not feed the disabled?

A decision based on medical factors can be very complicated and, even if assumed correct, physicians have been proven wrong many times by extraordinary recoveries.

Independently of all the questions about Terri's condition, not only the US Congress, the President, and the Courts, but also the media should quickly qualify this case as "solved". Terri must be allowed to live if ordinary means are enough to sustain her.

It should be made known that defending life is a constitutional requirement of the US government. It is unconstitutional in the US to allow judges or anyone else to deny ordinary means of life support to anyone.

In Canada, the left would like to force our government to take care of the poor by providing them with food and housing. Why then would we deny life, food and water to the most defenseless - the unborn and the handicapped?

Defending all life, as it is spelled out in the Principles of the Family Coalition Party, should also be spelled out in the Canadian Constitution as the primary objective of government.

We can make that become a reality by promoting a culture of life and true compassion.