Wednesday, March 30, 2005


Here's what the CRUX of the controversy is REALLY about:

Contrary to what many would have you believe - (especially those who deride Schindler supporters as right-wing theocratic wackos) - the Schiavo controversy is NOT between right-to-die people and the right-to-life crowd.

This case is about whether the court correctly determined what Terri's wishes were.

Contrary to what paranoid Leftists and nervous centrists would have you believe, there is NO MOVEMENT among ANY RIGHT-TO-LIFERS to ban DNR's or Living WIlls; IN FACT, George W. Bush and Laura, and their parents have them and urge ALL AMERICANS to get them! Virtually the entire "religious right" - including the RC Church, evangelicals, orthodox Jews, and Jesse Jackson (Heh) - accepts that individuals have the right to refuse medical treatment when confronted with terminal illnesses.

The Schiavo controversy is based on the fact that: (a) she is NOT terminal; and (b) her wishes are patently obscure.

I have concluded that Greer erred in ruling that Terri would have wanted to be starved to death rather than live, and that therefore the feeding-tube should have stayed in. And it saddens me that the federal courts have - up to now - thumbed their noses at any and all attempts to re-open the case so that this critical determination could be properly re-examined, and justice be done. In the absence of proof positive, I think the court must NOT act, or condone any act which will cause Terri to die.

If that makes me a right-wing theocratic wacko, then so is Joe Lieberman and Jesse Jackson and Ralph Nader and Tom Harkin and Harry Reid


[Hawkins asks]: Did Terri Schiavo say she wanted to die if she were in this condition?

This is one of the primary points of contention in this case and with good reason.

Initially, as mentioned earlier, Michael did provide rehabilitation for his wife. Furthermore, in late 1992, Michael Schiavo said the following during testimony given in his medical malpractice suit:

"I believe in the vows I took with my wife, through sickness, in health, for richer or poor. I married my wife because I love her and I want to spend the rest of my life with her. I'm going to do that."

But, in 1993 (Note: this is after Michael Schiavo had already started dating other women and received over a million dollars from the settlement of the medical malpractice suit), his attitude changed rather dramatically.

Michael Schiavo admitted in a November of 1993 deposition that earlier in the year, he had requested that doctors not treat a urinary tract infection that was potentially fatal to Terri. The doctors were not able to comply with Michael's request because it would have been illegal.

According to the
The Times Leader, Michael Schiavo first claimed that Terri had told him she wouldn't want to live at this point, but most other sources that I've seen point to that information first being revealed in 1998.

In 1998, Michael said that while watching a movie, Terri had once opined that she wouldn't want to live if she were ever in a coma. Michael's older brother, Scott Schiavo, and Michael's sister-in-law, Joan Schiavo also claimed Terri had a similar conversation with them after a funeral.

On the other hand, one of Terri's friends, Diane Meyer, had a very different story to tell:
"Diane Meyer can recall only one time that her best friend, Terri Schiavo, really got angry with her. It was in 1981, and it haunts her still.
The recent high school graduates had just seen a television movie about Karen Ann Quinlan, who had been in a coma since collapsing six years earlier and was the subject of a bitter court battle over her parents' decision to take her off a respirator. Meyer says she told a cruel joke about Quinlan, and it set Terri off.
"She went down my throat about this joke, that it was inappropriate," Meyer says. She remembers Terri saying she wondered how the doctors and lawyers could possibly know what Quinlan was really feeling or what she would want. "Where there's life," Meyer recalls her saying, "there's hope."
Added to that is the testimony of Terri's court appointed guardian, Richard Pearse:

"Pearse said he was troubled by the fact that Michael waited until 1998 to petition to remove the feeding tube, even though he claims to have known her wishes all along, and that he waited until he won a malpractice suit based on a professed desire to take care of her into old age. As her husband, Michael would inherit what is left of her malpractice award, originally $700,000, which is held in a trust fund administered by the court. Accounting of the fund is sealed. But Michael's lawyer, George Felos, said most of it has been spent on legal fees associated with the custody dispute. Pearse also said he did not find Joan and Scott Schiavo's testimony credible."

Believe it or not, there's even more:

The Schindlers had contacted a woman Michael dated in 1991 who told them Michael had confessed to her he did not know what Terri would want. Although the woman refused to sign an affidavit, it bought the Schindlers some time. And with it, they found Trudy Capone. A former co-worker of Michael's, Capone signed an affidavit on May 9, 2001, stating "Michael confided in me all the time about Terri ... He said to me many times that he had no idea what her wishes were."
[HAWKINS CONCLUDES]: Despite the rather large amount of conflicting evidence, Judge Greer ruled in Michael Schiavo's favor on the issue.