Human Exceptionalism

Eluana Englaro Case: Media Bias and Non Cooperation With the Culture of Death.

Readers of SHS have heard of the tragic case in Italy of Eluana Englaro, diagnosed for 17 years to be in a persistent vegetative state. Her father won the right in Italian court to remove her feeding tube, but has been unable, so far, to find a medical facility willing to dehydrate Eluana to death. That my have changed. Note the language in the following report, headlined “Clinic May Help Eluana End Her Life”:

A clinic in Udine on Thursday said it may be ready to help a woman trapped in a vegetative state for 17 years end her life in accordance with a landmark right-to-die ruling. Beppino Englaro, who has fought for more than a decade for a dignified end to his daughter’s life, has yet to find a clinic prepared to carry out November’s court ruling. The Quiete Clinic, which receives partial public funding, said it would make a final decision by the end of next week on whether it can accommodate 38-year-old Eluana Englaro. ”I think it’s right for Udine to offer a just and civil solution to this matter,” Udine Mayor Furio Honsell told ANSA. Eluana’s lawyer, Franca Alessio, said the family had been in touch with the clinic, but added that they were also investigating other possibilities.

Media just can’t use accurate language on these issues, it seems. Eluana isn’t trying to end her own life. If she is PVS, she is unaware of what is happening. Moreover, before the media call dehydration a “dignified death,” they should talk to Terri Schiavo’s brother Bobby Schindler–who, as his sister’s death was imminent, told the world that Terri’s tissues had become so dry blood was pooling in her eyes.

If the culture of death cannot be defeated legally, it must be resisted with total non cooperation. We see that happening in Washington State, for example, with medical facilities there beginning to declare “assisted suicide free zones.”

That issue was also well discussed in the Italian situation–with promoters of the culture of death threatening a truly draconian action (which I put in italics):

[Italian Health Minister Maurizio] Sacconi on Thursday warned national health service clinics that they have a duty to keep patients fed and hydrated, adding that it was the State’s responsibility to guarantee basic levels of assistance as laid out in the Italian Constitution. This will remain the case until parliament passes a general law on end-of-life issues, he added. Sacconi stressed that while the court ruling permitted the removal of Eluana’s tube, it did not ”place any specific obligation on national health service clinics” to do so. However, the Cassation Court’s deputy prosecutor general, Marcello Matera, has argued in the past that it would be ”theoretically possible” to ask the police to see that the court sentence is carried out in the event that a clinic does not come forward.

We will have that same fight here over conscience clauses, and it is going to be gargantuan. Remember this: Once it is in the driver’s seat, the culture of death brooks no dissent. And those of us who oppose the COD have to be just as determined–within the confines of law and/or principles of peaceable resistance–to refuse any and all cooperation.


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