Saturday, March 26, 2005

Irony of the Schiavo Debate

The debate over Terri Schiavo's fate has illustrated the strange irony of the two primary perspectives. Those who support Michael Schiavo's decision to remove her feeding tube—I'll call them "A"'s— are generally the same people who are pro-abortion. Those who want her feeding tube replaced—"B"'s— are generally anti-abortion. That part is not very ironic, but the fact that A's are also usually anti-death penalty, and the B's usually pro-death penalty IS ironic.

So the A's support a mother's right to kill her unborn child. And they support the right of one individual to kill another through medical decisions when the wishes of that second individual are not known. [As argued yesterday, I would support the withdrawl of a feeding tube if the wishes were known by more than one person and documented clearly.] However, the A's don't support the killing of convicted murderers.

B's, on the other hand, support the right of the unborn child to life, and they support the right of people in Terri Schiavo's condition to food and water through a feeding tube, at least if no clear record exists of that person's end-of-life wishes are known. B's also support the right of society to rid itself of dangerous criminals who have committed murder or other serious offenses as determined by law.

So the irony is that the A's are all for death as long as it's not a criminal, and the B's are all for life except for those same criminals. In fairness, however, the A's think that they are on the side of individual choice. They believe that the mother's right to choose is more important than the child's right to life, and certainly don't approve of what they see as government intrusion into what they prefer to be only the decision of the mother. And in the case of the criminal, they see the criminal's involuntary death as government intrusion. I have trouble squaring those convergent views.

The B's, on the other hand are willing to accept more government intrusion if it means that a life can be saved. Even if that is a preemptive life saved by the death of a murderer. Consider the recent rape and murder of nine-year-old Jessica Lunsford by a convicted sexual predator.

Is it possible that the A's value choice over life?

This post also appears on Blogger News Network.

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