Unless Florida courts or the U.S. Supreme Court reverse themselves, Michael Schiavo will be allowed to kill his wife, Terri, and do it in the most horrific way.
A judge in Pinellas County Fla. has extended what amounts to a stay of execution until Friday, February 25. If that stay is not extended further Michael Schiavo’s attorney says his client will immediately have the feeding tube now keeping Terri alive removed, allowing her to be starved to death.
Although badly brain damaged, Terri is conscious (not comatose), shows many signs of being aware of her surroundings, and is not on any life support systems. Like all of us, however, she is dependent on nourishment. If her husband succeeds in removing her feeding tube, she will die an incredibly painful death by starvation and dehydration.
How painful? According to Newsmax.com, Dr. William Burke, a neurologist in St. Louis, was quoted by medical ethicist Wesley Smith as describing the agonizing process:
“A conscious person would feel it (dehydration) just as you and I would. They will go into seizures. Their skin cracks, their tongue cracks, their lips crack. They may have nosebleeds because of the drying of the mucous membranes, and heaving and vomiting might ensue because of the drying out of the stomach lining. They feel the pangs of hunger and thirst. Imagine going one day without a glass of water. Death by dehydration takes ten to fourteen days. It is an extremely agonizing death.”
Not long ago, I had the unpleasant task of putting my dog to sleep. I used a hypodermic needle and he simply went to sleep and died. Had I done to him what Michael Schiavo wants to do to his wife – starve the animal to death – I would have been arrested. And in Florida which prohibits the inhumane treatment of animals, where the starvation of one’s pet is a criminal act, the courts have ruled that it legal to kill Terri by starving her to death.
There is a video taken by Terri’s parents that shows her fully alert, smiling, reacting to their presence and following her mother’s movements with her eyes. Shockingly, when he learned of the video, Michael Schiavo banned any other efforts to film her.
In the light of this, I find it disgraceful that the judge who over the years has consistently sided with Michael Schiavo, and has accepted the false idea that Terri is nothing more than a vegetable whose life is meaningless, has never once bothered to visit Terri to learn for himself that she is a living, conscious, human being.
Thanks to the secularist mainstream media the general public is under the mistaken impression that Terri is on life support, which is true only if being fed and given liquids is considered life support. If that is true, all the rest of us are on life support too.
Terri suffered a serious brain injury in 1990 and there is evidence that suggests she suffered physical abuse that led to her condition. In a trial in 2000, Terri’s husband asked for permission to have the feeding tube removed. As Concerned Women for America pointed out, “this was after he had long since abandoned his marriage by living with another woman (siring two children by the other woman) and collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars from disability insurance, pocketing the money and letting Terri live without the medical attention he had promised to provide.”
Sixth Judicial Circuit Judge George Greer has continued to allow the husband to act as Terri’s guardian without, as Florida law requires, a guardianship plan. Judge Greer says he is now considering whether Michael Schiavo is a fit guardian for his wife. He also says he needs more time to determine whether Terri Schiavo needs more medical tests. His stay expires Friday.
In a new development, Florida’s Department of Children and Families has intervened in the case and is asking for a delay to investigate abuse allegations. And on Wednesday Gov. Jeb Bush told reporters that “I can assure you I will do whatever I can within the means, within the laws, of our state to protect this woman’s life.”
If all of these moves fail, however, the courts of state of Florida will order Terri Schiavo to be starved to death – a case of judicially sanctioned murder.
©2005 Mike Reagan. You must contact us if you would like to print this column in your publication or post on the internet. Mike’s column is distributed exclusively by: Cagle Cartoons, Inc. Cari Dawson Bartley Cari@cagle.com, (800) 696-7561