On the same token Terri Schiavo should be dead also. If they had been living 5,000, 500 or even 100 years ago they would have died from their illness/injury. Medicine did not have the knowledge or ability to keep people alive passed their natural abilities. This, if you think about it, puts into serious question the thinking behind keeping them alive as espoused by orthodox Catholicism and the religious right.
The idea of not taking a life for any reason based on biblical belief never took into consideration that there would ever be the possibility of keeping anyone alive by extraordinary means. The writers of the new and old testaments couldn’t even dream of a feeding tube or a tracheotomy. They probably would have thought of it as being the work of the devil.
People were born and people died. Naturally. The idea of keeping someone alive at any cost brings into question the argument of quantity of life versus the quality of life. What is the quality of Terri Schiavo’s life? What has it been for the last 15 years? What is the quality of John Paul’s life? What reason is there for putting off the inevitable?
Terri Schiavo has only moved her head and eyes for the last 15 years. She has not responded voluntarily but rather merely reacted to any type of stimulus. She has neither been able to make decisions for herself, make her needs known, nor connected with another human being in a meaningful way. All of this has been because of a feeding tube that was surgically placed in her abodomen several years ago. What kind of quality of life is this?
I understand the family’s thinking when the decision was made to implant the tube. There was hope and the thought that something medical could still happen to change the situation. But fifteen years ago, medicine had not made the strides it has made over just the last few years. They believed there was still hope. But when does hope give way to reality?
When my mother had her stroke several years ago, a feeding tube was place in her nose without consulting me. [I was next of kin.] I went ballistic. There was no way that she was going to survive. I wanted it removed at once because when it is put in, as we see in the Schiavo case, it is impossible to remove. The hospital’s response was that they were legally mandated to make certain that she was being nourished. I continued to fight until her doctor assured me that there was no way she could survive even with the feeding tube. It still worried me. I had visions of her remaining in a state of limbo in a position much like Terri Schiavo's. Luckily, she died a couple of days later and was spared the purgatory in which Terri Schiavo is being held.
Was I being a cold, unloving monster of a son? I don't think so. My mother was a vibrant and active person. She worked until she had her first mini-stroke one month before the massive one, and she was 76 years old. A wonderfil life! I believe that she would never had wanted to just be a body with no will or ability. I beleve she would want to be with her god.
If you believe, as my mother strongly did, that your soul goes to a wonderful place called heaven after your death would you want to be held captive in this world? Would you want to be denied the right to be basking in the light of your religious beliefs because you’re in an inhuman state of being? Would you be angry that you were being denied what you believed was the purpose of your entire life of action and being?