Saturday, June 18, 2005

Dona Eis Requiem

It does look as if there's no further reason to wonder about Terri Schiavo's ultimate condition:
[Her] brain weighed 615 grams, roughly half of the expected weight of a human brain...This damage was irreversible, and no amount of therapy or treatment would have regenerated the massive loss of neurons.
Turns out that the video tape of Terri Schiavo apparently responding to visual stimuli---what Bill Frist used to make his tele-diagnosis---was misleading as well, since the "vision centers of her brain were dead."

Now, it's probably too much to ask for that this be the end of the Cult of St. Terri the Martyr---as Julian Sanchez pointed out, "for the true believers, this is doubtless just further evidence of how elaborate and sinister is the anti-life conspiracy to hide the 'truth.'"

But the fact that the (credible) doctors were completely right about everything should at least shift the terms of the debate. There's no further case to be made about "erring on the side of life" or "giving life the benefit of the doubt," etc. The question now is, do people in states of extreme and irreversible brain damage have a right to die?

Unfortunately, we don't get to have a substantive debate over the right to die, at least not yet. Because Jeb Bush would prefer to investigate Michael Schiavo's role in Terri's collapse.

To be perfectly serious for a moment, I can't think of any comparable example in recent American history of a citizen made to suffer such malicious smears purely in order to determine the winner among the Republican caucus of a Focus on the Family cock-measuring contest. On a related note, I'm not getting Fox News anymore, so I didn't get a chance to see Sean Hannity planting his face in a fecal buffet after the Terri Schiavo autopsy results. Anybody who witnessed it: how'd that go? (HANNITY & colmes didn't just ignore it, did they?)

ALSO: TYVM to Julian Sanchez for the nice link, and also for spelling the name of this blog without an apostrophe.


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