Unlike O-Dub, I’m going to come right out and say that I think Terry Schiavo should be allowed to die. More correctly, Terry’s husband, Michael, should be free to exercise his rights as a husband and legal guardian and have her feeding tube removed immediately. Majikthise has a wonderfully informed breakdown of some of the issues involved in this case, but at the core we’re dealing with the powers recognized by the state as it regards marriage. Michael and Terry were married and absent any documentation of Terry’s will (such as a living will), Michael has the right to make her decisions. Simple. Cut. Dry.
Atrios is urging everyone in his readership to start a living will and that’s a good first step, documenting your wishes. The second, logical step would be to discuss this issue with your family. One of the first, serious discussions I had with my folks after I married Jenn was the fact that neither of us wanted to live by means of a respirator, feeding tube or any other machine. If our lives were in some manner of suspended animation due to brain trauma, coma or severe injury then they would have to accept our fate and let us die.
If only the Terry Schiavo’s parents were likewise informed. If only Michael and Terry had made their feelings known either verbally or on paper to their parents. If only they could rewind time. But they can’t and the system we have in place, the imperfect solution, but the solution nonetheless, is to let Michael decide. Michael and Terry agreed to “for better or for worse” and I can’t see how invalidating and postponing Michael’s wishes for Terry does anything to aid anyone involved.
My parents didn’t like my attitude about what might happen to me (hopefully not). I listened to their concerns and their point of view, but this is my decision. My wife and I understand what we will do should we encounter this situation in the future.
What happens to me when I die is every bit as important to me as how and when we brought children into this world. Every bit as personal, private and sacred. I would not substitute anyone else’s judgement or word over that of myself or my spouse. Marriage is the contract, the institution that grants Jenn & I this privelege over and between one another.
Our marriage means that we get to decide our own fate whether or not our parents, our children (child, currently – hi Rae Rae), neighbors, church, state and federal government, or our employers agree or disagree. Our choices are our choices and ours alone.
It’s time America realizes that we’ve intruded into the most private and powerful part of the Schiavo’s marriage, their promises to one another, their vows. It’s time we step back from that precipice and let Michael decide. It’s what Terry wanted.