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The Forum > Article Comments > No winners in Schiavo case > Comments

No winners in Schiavo case : Comments

By Doug Bandow, published 24/3/2005

Doug Bandow argues that the care of Terri Shiavo should be handed to her parents.

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A close family member (we'll call this person "Z") has been in a 'permanent vegetative state' for 4 years so I feel I do know to some extent what I'm talking about.

first: In any medical case you will get conflicting opinions. I can't see that Z has any responses other than reflexes to sounds, light, hunger, pain etc. These are completely automatic body responses, nothing else. However Z has carers who are sure they can see 'something'. I don't know who is right but I can't help thinking they are wishing to see something.

second: Very few people are going to choose to let their life-partner die without a great, great deal of thought. Bear in mind the people left behind who then have to deal with the guilt of 'killing' their loved one.

third: No one, and I mean NO ONE would ever choose to live in the manner of someone who is in this sort of state.

The only way I can deal with Z's condition is to consider that they have died and all that is left is their body. It is unbearably sad for me to even consider that there is even a spark of life, let alone consciousness, left that is suffering in this terrible condition.

A permanent vegetative state is what is says, it is not something you get better from.

If Terry Schiavo meets the legal definition of permanent vegetative state then she should be allowed to complete the process of death, for she has already gone a long way down that path. Her husband is someone to be pitied and supported, not attacked.
Posted by Ian Duncan, Thursday, 24 March 2005 3:14:19 PM
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Part 1
The following is an email is one of several I forwarded about Teri’s case. It seems no one has bothered to consider who is the real guardian!

Meaning, that all legal decsion of recent may be invalid.

Terri is a living being, not brain-dead or in a vegetable state as reported, and to do onto her may be used to do onto others and we end up with disaster!

Subject: Terri's DE FACTO Guardianship since 2003 already!


I understand from media reports in the commonwealth of
Australia that the State of Florida is seeking “GUARDIANSHIP”
over Terri.

I know basically nothing about USA law, but commonsense tells
me that when you overruled the Court and ordered the tube to
be reinserted in 2003, you basically then overruled the
GUARDIAN ship of Terri’s husband also, at least implied doing
so. Therefore, the recent proceedings involving him as a
GUARDIAN must be deemed to be miscarriages of justice, as
your 2003 intervention effectively was a declaration that he
was not acting as a proper guardian to pursue Terri to be
starved to death, and hence from that time the State of
Florida had a DE FACTO guardianship over Terri.

As such, I view, as a governor you have every obligation to
immediately take charge and ensure reinserting the feeding
tubes for Terri and to appeal all decisions made since your
2003 intervention as being legally floored as Terri’s husband
no longer could have been deemed to be the legal guardian of

You cannot override the intentions of the guardian and in
particular where it concerns the starving of a human being
and then still allow such a person to remain a guardian.

Being far away in the commonwealth of Australia, and without
having all legal resources available to me, and neither
having all information published about Terri available to me,
nevertheless it is and remains my view that your intervention
in 2003 effectively ended Terri’s husband’s guardianship, and
it is just that the Court may never have considered this.
Posted by Mr Gerrit H Schorel-Hlavka, Thursday, 24 March 2005 9:07:37 PM
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Part 2;
Again, I cannot accept that legally a guardian could be
deemed to remain a guardian where his intentions are contrary
to that of the State of Florida, as expressed by the Governor
in 2003 to reinsert the feeding tube.
As it is the State of Florida who provided “guardianship”
then in effect your intervention in 2003 must have been
deemed that the State of Florida effectively terminated the
guardianship held by Terri’s husband.
Perhaps, it might be wise to overnight, so to say, pass
legislation to that effect, as to give the message to the
world that this is what is applicable when the governor steps
in for and on behalf of the State of Florida.
Again, when a governor steps in with a “pardon” for a
convicted person sentenced to death, then
this “automatically” overrules and Court decision and hence
no one could re-litigate the crimes the person was given
a “pardon” for.
Therefore, I view, that where the governor, so to
say, “pardoned” Terri in 2003 from dying from starvation –
and not even having committed a crime, then this effectively
overruled any court decision and no Court ever could
therefore re-litigate her case if she should be allowed to be
starved to death, as you already have decided she should not.
It is therefore beyond litigation.

I urge you again, not to waste a single second but to
immediately take control of Terri health and wellbeing and
safety and to ensure police will guard her against anyone who
may seek to attempt to deny Terri her human rights in any
way whatsoever, including her right to be fed!

I doubt that any lawyer ever may have argued my reasoning,
then again, being an outsider perhaps gives me a better
insight and ability to use common sense!

As for protesters who seek to feed Terri being arrested. It
seems to me they are acting lawfully, if indeed by de facto
the State of Florida took guardianship in 2003 by ordering
the reinsertion of the feeding tube. Subsequent court
decisions simply are a legal irrelevance.
Posted by Mr Gerrit H Schorel-Hlavka, Thursday, 24 March 2005 9:08:39 PM
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The sheer hypocrisy of the neo-con godbotherers is breathtaking. This poor woman has been artificially kept alive for 15 years at who knows what cost, just so she can end up being used as a political football by those who depend on the electoral support of the loony religious right. Of course, these are precisely the same people who shrug off the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians as 'collateral damage' from their adventure in Iraq...

Their cruelty apparently knows no bounds - why starve the poor thing slowly to death? Somebody should mercifully put her out of her misery. Why subject the poor woman to 'treatment' that would be deemed inhumane if it was applied to an animal? If my dog or horse was in a similar state I'd have the vet euthenase them to put an end to needless suffering. If I allowed my dog or horse to starve to death I would rightly be charged with cruelty to animals.

The twisted logic of the godbotherers never ceases to amaze me, as does the cruel political cynicism of the neo-cons.

Posted by morganzola, Friday, 25 March 2005 8:58:39 AM
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The author seems to lack many of the facts of the case, but I don't find that suprising given the right-wing PR machine in America.

The courts have weighed the evidence and decided that Terri would not want to continue like this. From what I understand, it is no longer up to the husband and he is no longer acting as guardian with respect to her life support.

The parents, like the husband and thousands of others, are in a horrible situation. They do not want to let go of Terri and may also be ideologically opposed to refusing treatment. They are trying every single argument that they can think of in order to keep her body alive and this is shown by the many varied, incredibly dubious and hateful attacks against the husband. The parents claims have consistently been found lacking, and given some of their statements about Terri's actions it is clear that they are delusional, or making stuff up, or both. Consider also that their spokesman is Terry Randall, a pro-life extremist who believes Americans are called by God to conquer the US and make it a theocracy.

The video was compiled from countless hours of filming for the purpose of convincing others. Because they lack proper context those scenes do make her look "alert and responsive", but the courts have found that her actions are involuntary and that she is unable to respond to simple questions, despite many tests.

There are no supporting documents for Iyer's many claims, even though she would have had to report them and her claims are not corroborated by other nurses. The settlement money is gone and the husband has refused many offers of money, so he doesn't seem to be in it for selfish purposes.

Most of her brain has atrophied and is now liquid, it is not coming back. There is no chance of rehabilitive care (which he couldn't fund anyway) because she is not responding, because what held her consciousness is gone.

Mr Gerrit H Schorel-Hlavka, the actions by Jeb were found to be unconstitutional, 'nuff said.
Posted by Deuc, Friday, 25 March 2005 12:40:55 PM
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Morganzola and Deuc – agree entirely with your posts.

Unlike the claims in the article, this case looks like it will be resolved over the next couple of days – the Bush family’s attempts at “muddy waters politicing” and “rule by presidential decree” having failed.

When this lady left her parents home, married and built a home of her own with her husband, her parents relinquished all “priority of authority” over her and the disposition of her (now sadly vegetating) body. In the absence of her own cognitive ability and the absence of divorce or separation orders, her husband is, rightly, the guardian of his spouse - not her parents.
If you don’t like this just turn it around and ask yourself if you -

1 should be forever the subject of your parents whims
2 should age of majority mark your adulthood and thus right of deciding on matters of personal choice.

As for all the bull and bluster and attempts at character assassination of the husband - easy to claim – where is the “real” evidence. 15 years is a long time – I am sure anyone else of reasonable life expectations and motivations would want to “move on” with their life too.
Certainly if it were me, I would want to be "unburdened" of a pointless husk existence and would wish my partner to go forward and create the best life for themselves which they could – that is part of the art the of loving – not clinging to it.

And Gerrit H Schorel-Hlavka
“I know basically nothing about USA law, but commonsense tells me”

1 - I guess US courts are better equipped in their “knowledge of US law”.
2 – Your common sense and my common sense are opposed.

My “commonsense” says a husband is “guardian” for the reasons I outline above.

The “state” should interfere only at its peril – Diminish the individual and you diminish the society to which they contribute – and thus the apparatus of the state, which relies on the strength of those individuals for its existence
Posted by Col Rouge, Friday, 25 March 2005 2:36:02 PM
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