First, read the most lucid, concise summary of the Shiavo case I have yet read, courtesy of Ars Technica. This puts a lot of misinformation that has been bandied about talk radio to rest. A few highlights about the husband:
- Michael Shiavo has not signed book or TV deals, and has turned down offers of millions and millions of dollars. The medical malpractice settlement money he got has all been spent. So it’s hard to argue he is doing this because he got the money and now needs to dispose of the money.
- He lived with the Schindlers (Terri’s parents) for several years, and they suggested he date again. So why do right-wingers keep bringing this up as if it were some horrible secret he kept from the world?
- Michael tried some fairly extensive things, including experimental treatments, to revive Terri. It’s not like he was just hoping she’d die.
Now some unpleasant things about the Schindlers:
- They have signed media deals. They are, whether cynically or not, profiting from their daughter’s condition. So any aspersion about Michael must be equally cast at them.
- Their accusations of spousal abuse only surfaced after Michael decided there was no hope and Terri should be allowed to die.
I’m sure they are grieving. It must be horrific. But they are not angels, nor is Michael a devil. Yet many on the right are claiming just that.
Now a few facts about Terri:
- Her CAT scans from 1996 show massive atrophy in the brain. There is simply little tissue she could use for awareness. These are rarely shown by press reports and never mentioned by right wing commentators.
- Her heart attack was brought on by an eating disorder that so starved her it weakened her heart. That irony is rarely to never mentioned, and I heard one commentator deny it outright.
- The electrodes from the experimental treatment mentioned above are still in her brain. Calls for MRIs are calls for manslaughter, as MRIs use powerful magnets for imaging and would cause the implanted electrodes to act as a blender inside her skull.
- She cannot swallow (hence the feeding/water tube). Several “life-centric” protesters would have killed Terri Schiavo had they succeeded.
Clearly, there isn’t a lot of science education on the side of the so-called conservatives (in reality, big-government theocrats).
Their hypocrisy has been pretty stunning:
- They claim to be conservatives, but are advocating government involvement in a private matter.
- They claim marriage is sacred–at least when it’s between a man and a woman–but are seeking to undermine marital rights.
- They claim to hate an unelected judiciary, but didn’t complain when it gave George W. Bush the presidency.
- They claim that new advances might give Terri a chance at healing, but are against the stem-cell research that underlies most new neural treatments.
- The claim that the liberal media is full of distortions and half-truths and innuendo, but as has been shown above, they’re only concerned about media integrity when it is practiced by liberals.
- They claim this is about “torture” but fail to apply that standard to:
- Conscious Iraqi inmates of Abu Ghraib (“fraternity pranks” I believe was the term)
- People who are fully conscious who choose death over a painful terminal illness
- People who are denied certain classes of drugs because said drugs can be used in naughty ways
- Any similar case where the patient was not previously a photogenic white Christian woman, and there are thousands of these cases
However, liberals are not without hypocrisy in this matter:
- They claim to value the rule of law and decisions of the court system, but set up an almighty whine when it selected George W. Bush instead of their guy. Both conservatives and liberals claim the circumstances are different, but it’s hard to escape the impression that they love the judiciary when it’s not their ox that’s being Gored.
- They claim to value a personal right to choose, but seek greater medical regulation that removes choices not dealing with reproduction–in fact, in almost every area of life besides reproduction and choice of sexual partner. The days of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement are long behind us.
Two points versus six. I think the Right, as usual, wins the biggest hypocrite award. How power corrupts. Given that the thoroughly-spanked Left has two points, I wonder if they’ll remember the lessons they’ve learned when the wheel turns and they are on top of the DC power game.