I reviewed the two Schindler/Schiavo books briefly in the NYPost this weekend. There will be shelves of books on Terri Schiavo before the year is out. Some of it is crime drama (Mark Furhman), some of it the ethical issues (Arthur Caplan), some of it is heartbreaking, maddening human interest (The Schindler family, Michael Schiavo).
The best writeup on Terri Schiavo’s death though? It’s in Ramesh Ponnuru’s Party of Death: The Party of Death: The Democrats, the Media, the Courts, and the Disregard for Human Life.
He writes, in part:
Schiavo’s death was surrounded by euphemisms, the need to resort to which also suggests a limit to the public’s enthusiasm for euthanasia. Those who defended the withdrawal of the tube scrupulously avoided the words “starvation” and “dehydration.” While the press was not allowed to witness her deteriorating condition, it was told that her “dying process” unfolded with soothing music in the background and a stuffed animal by her side.
But what the country tolerated was bad enough. If anyone on death row were ever starved to death, it would rightly be considered cruel and unusual punishment. Nobody would bother debating whether the federal government should step in.
People die every day, and people are killed every day. It’s not every day, however, that most Americans support the deliberate killing of an innocent woman. Pro-lifers have always said that mercy killing is wrong, and also warned that once it started the mercy killers would cease to be fastidious about whether they were really following a patient’s will. It’s not just that the slope is slippery, but that we have already slid too far down it.