The world has had two examples of death to observe in the past week. One was a man who has been in the public eye for a quarter century, a spiritual leader for faithful Catholics and a man who fought for the downtrodden. The other was a young woman known only by her family and friends until controversy thrust her onto the front pages of the papers. I’m sure we will be hearing and reading much more about both Pope John Paul II and Terri Schaivo for some time to come.
This morning, I read a commentary by Prison Fellowship President Mark Earley, a portion of which follows:
In fact, the most compelling argument for saving Terri was made, not by a Christian, but by Harriet McBryde Johnson, a disabled lawyer and self-professed atheist.
First, she says, Terri Schiavo was not terminally ill. This case was not about “end-of-life” decision-making; it was about intentionally killing a disabled woman by denying her food and water.
Second, Terri was not on life support. She was simply being fed through a tube. Is this method of feeding fundamentally different from feeding someone with a spoon? As Johnson puts it, “No matter how you answer that, it has nothing to do with whether a person should live or die.”
Third, Terri’s case is not about a patient’s right to refuse medical treatment—not, that is, unless we call eating and drinking “treatment.” If we do, then all of us, every time we eat a meal, are acting to artificially extend our lives. [emphasis mine]
I recommend that you take a moment to read the entire The Aftermath post.
Then take a moment to visit the National Right to Life site and download a copy of a Living Will for your state. Don’t just download it. Print it and complete it. That’s what I’m going to do.