Terri Schiavo's feeding tube is supposed to be removed today. GOP members of Congress are trying to avoid this by doing something bizarre--subpoenaing her to testify:
PINELLAS PARK, Fla. (Reuters) - A Florida court cleared the way to remove the feeding tube that sustains a severely brain-damaged woman on Friday after U.S. lawmakers tried to prolong her life by subpoenaing her to appear before Congress.
Schiavo has been kept alive since a heart attack starved her brain of oxygen in 1990, leaving her in what the courts declared was a permanent vegetative state.
Her husband and legal guardian, Michael Schiavo, says she would not have wanted to be kept alive in that condition. In a bitterly contested seven-year court case, Michael Schiavo won permission to remove the feeding tube after 1 p.m. EST on Friday, which would bring his wife's death in seven to 14 days.
Republican congressional leaders made a last-minute bid to stave that off by subpoenaing Terri Schiavo to appear before hearings and committees later in the month, a move that would grant her protection as a witness in a congressional inquiry.
Michael Schiavo's attorney, George Felos, said the U.S. Congress has no authority in the case.
"The state does not own Mrs. Schiavo's body and Congress cannot simply order her to remain alive contrary to her medical treatment wishes and court order," Felos said.
President Bush, who was in Florida on Friday to talk about Social Security, backed efforts to prolong Schiavo's life.
"The president will continue to stand on the side of defending life," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said aboard Air Force One on the way to Florida.
As the legal drama played out, police were stationed near the Woodside Hospice caring for Terri Schiavo in Pinellas Park, Florida, keeping the entry clear and checking the identities of those trying to enter.
A couple of dozen demonstrators stood outside, praying aloud to prevent removal of the feeding tube. Some carried signs reading "Thou Shalt Not Kill."
Schiavo was 26 when she became ill and had no "living will" or written directive about what end-of-life care she might want.
After hearing testimony from doctors and neurologists, the Florida courts ruled that the cardiac arrest robbed her brain of "all but the most instinctive of neurological functions" and that there was no hope of her regaining consciousness.
It ruled that she would not have wanted continued life support based on relatives' testimony that when her husband's grandmother was being kept alive by a respirator, Terri Schiavo had said, "If I ever go like that, just let me go … I don't want to be kept alive on a machine."
What a mess.
I have a question for 'social conservatives' who oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide partly on the grounds that it creates a "culture of death." Assuming that Terri Schiavo does eventually have her feeding tube removed for good, if you think that she is still conscious on some level, wouldn't it be better to simply euthanize her, allowing her to die immediately, than to just remove her source of food and starve her to death? Given that she is going to die one way or the other, wouldn't it be better to make it quick and painless (if indeed she can feel pain, which the 'defending life' side thinks she can)?
UPDATE: Apprently the GOP's ploy is not going to work.
Also, has anyone else noticed that more than a few right-wingers seem to be taking issue not only with Michael Schiavo's efforts to remove Terri's feeding tube, but also with the fact that he has gone on to have a couple of children with another woman? Here is one example; there are more, but I don't feel like tracking them down.
So what is this about--the 'sanctity of life' or someone putting his pecker where you think he shouldn't?