In 2005, following an extended legal battle in the state of Florida, then Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, himself a surgeon specializing in heart transplants, and his fellow Republicans endeavored to extend the life of Terri Schiavo. The problem was that Ms. Schiavo was in a persistant vegetative state (PVS). Three years after that diagnosis, after repeated efforts with various treatments, Michael Schiavo asked the hospital to stop resuscitating his wife. Ms. Schiavo's parents objected and sued.
For details of Ms. Schiavo's medical condition, see the New England Journal of Medicine. The bottom line is that she was PVS. Her brain, following too long without oxygen, had atrophied. Her body functioned in that her heart was still beating and her lungs worked, but she could neither drink nor eat. In other words, the body was alive but the brain was dead. If you believe in a soul that is separate from corporal existence, that soul had already rejoined God.
But that did not stop Senator Frist from pushing for legislation, signed later by President Bush, that would move the Schiavo case from Florida state courts to federal courts. This despite having run the gamut of the Florida appellate system, Mr. Schiavo never losing the right to make end of life decisions for his PVS wife. Based on a memo from Florida Senator Mel Martinez, many speculated that this was not about real morality but about positioning the Republican Party for the 2008 election cycle.
Dr. Frist gave a speech against terminating the life of Ms. Schiavo on the floor of the Senate. He was accused of having done a long-distance diagnosis of her condition. USA Today discussed this along with other points.
Frist, R-Tenn., said in the full Senate that he supported what he called "an opportunity to save Mrs. Schiavo's life." A heart surgeon, Frist had viewed video ordered by a court and taken by a board-certified neurologist who had concluded she was not in a persistent vegetative state.So, while Dr. Frist did not conduct the diagnosis himself, he was supporting a long-distance diagnosis that reached the opposite conclusion of the the team of doctors caring for Ms. Schiavo. Still dubious, but not quite as horrible as the allegation that he was diagnosing long distance in a field in which he did not specialize.
Later, Sen. Frist opined on the case (still from the USA Today article).
Asked on NBC's Meet the Press if he had any regrets regarding the Schiavo case, Frist said: "Well, I'll tell you what I learned from it, which is obvious. The American people don't want you involved in these decisions."So, the government should not be second guessing doctors and state courts.
On Monday 23 January 2012, as part of the protest events around the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Family Research Council (FRC), mostly known for the anti-equality stand on homosexuals, is hosting ProLifeCon, a rally of pro-life activists. FRC boasts that one of those featured will be Collin Raye, a singer and the spokesman for the Terri Schaivo Life & Hope Network.
It is bizarre that the Terri Schaivo Life & Hope Network exists in complete denial of Ms. Schiavo's PVS condition. Now the FRC, who regularly lie about homosexuality in pursuit of continuing the denial of equality to the LGBTQ Community, welcome those who lie about a past medical condition to protest a Supreme Court decision that helps keep abortion rates low.
Protesting Roe v Wade is counterproductive to those who want fewer abortions, but it does raise a lot of money for the organizations coordinating the protests. The Washington Post ran an opinion piece on 17 January.
The annual carnival in Washington around the Jan. 22 anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision (Happy 39th, Roe!) has become more farcical with each repetition. As technology and state-policy changes make the landmark case less important, anniversary observances have devolved into fact-free spectacles that have less to do with abortion than with raising money for advocacy groups on both sides.I don't mind if religions choose to preach almost anything in their sanctuaries. They are welcome to call me a terrible person and damn me to hell if they so choose. I do object to their endeavor to inflict their belief system on the rest of us.
Let's face it, a zygote and an early embryo are each alive in the same sense that Ms. Schiavo was in her PVS. The flesh is alive, but no one is home. In the first two, the spirit has not yet been breathed into the body.
Then the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Genesis 2 : 7.In the latter case, the spirit had departed years before the body was allowed to stop. If someone objects to an abortion, they should not have an abortion. If someone does not want their spouses body to stop breathing despite being in a PVS, they should be allowed to pay for continued care. But the laws should not be suited to just that particular religious view of life.