Thursday, March 24, 2005

Terri's law -- a prediction


I support the right to die. By this, I mean that I believe any adult should be legally entitled to end his or her life at any time, for any reason; that anyone whom he or she asks for assistance in doing so should be held harmless for rendering that assistance; and that he or she should be recognized as entitled to direct in writing, with full legal force, the conditions under which he or she may or may not be kept alive when incapacitated and unable to communicate upon such matters.

Because I support the right to die, I hate the Terri Schiavo case. Supporters of the right to die have allowed themselves to be led into a clever trap that will spring shut in the next year-and-a-half, and they'll have only themselves to blame for it.

Right now, most people don't see the trap. They're falling for the camouflage -- the misdirection. I fell for it too, briefly. The main concern right now among right to die advocates is that the Schiavo case will set a precedent for federal intervention. The fact is, no such precedent will be needed.

As I write this, it is March, 2005. By fall of 2006 -- in other words by the end of most states' 2006 legislative sessions -- many, if not most, states will almost certainly have passed one version or another of what I'm going to call (and what they're likely to call) "Terri's Law."

Do you have a living will? If so, you should take it to your attorney and have it gone over with an eye for detail. By early 2007, "Terri's Law" will be in effect. If you don't have a living will, or if so much as a semi-colon is out of place in that living will, the law will dictate that the plug can't be pulled. Period. End of discussion. No exceptions.

It won't matter if you verbally told every person you ever met that you'd never want to be kept alive with tubes and machines.

It won't matter if you're a headless lump of meat lying in a bed, with a ventilator pumping air through a tracheotomy tube into what's left of your throat.

You'll have a perfect living will, or you'll live whether you'd have wanted to or not. You'll have a perfect living will, or your family will be powerless to act on your behalf no matter how well they might know your desires or intentions. And I guarantee you that the state will be very exacting in its standards for those documents.

That's what right-to-die advocates and many libertarians will have won with their decision to abandon fact, reason and reality in support of a lying husband (and yes, Michael Schiavo is a liar -- he's made too many conflicting statements which can't all be true to classify him as anything else) and to support a lawless judiciary in its murder of Terri Schiavo.

I'd say that the "right to live -- whether you want to or not" crowd is enjoying a good belly laugh at your expense right now, but I don't think that's true. Agree with them or not, they really believe that Terri Schiavo deserves the benefit of the doubt and they will genuinely mourn her death. That's because they've held on to what right-to-die advocates and many libertarians have given up as this case has played out -- their principles.

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