Merciless mercy killing

Thirteen years ago, at the age of 26, Terri Schiavo of Florida suffered heart failure that left her severely and tragically debilitated. Ever since, she has been kept alive through a feeding tube, which is now at the focal point of a nationwide controversy. Although there are a wide variety of ethical and political issues involved, the real dilemma stems from this woman’s right to life. While some would argue that someone on such intense life support should simply have their life ended, no one has the right to make such an irreversible decision.

Although Florida may be best known for the likes of Disney World and people who just can’t figure out how to vote, Governor Jeb Bush is now making headlines, having recently ordered Schiavo’s life to be spared. In what may finally come as the culmination of years of legal seesawing, the aforementioned case is once again headed to court, allowing the ultimate decision to be made over whether Schiavo should live or die.

On Wednesday, Oct. 15, Terri Schiavo√ØøΩs feeding tube was removed under the orders of her husband, legal guardian, and heir to around $750,000 upon her death, Michael Schiavo. However, one week later, Governor Jeb Bush intervened, under the duress of Schaivo’s parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, ordering that the tube be reinserted, basically reinstalling the patient’s lifeline.

The case of Terri Schiavo and her feeding tube have been bouncing around the Florida legal system for quite some time now, as she has been given the tube-removing death sentence on more than one occasion. However, it must be mentioned that Schiavo is by no means an unresponsive vegetable. By all accounts, she is responsive and alive; her faculties are in working order, save for the feeding tube. In addition, it must also be mentioned that her legal ‘husband’ has a child with another fiance, who he will marry upon Schiavo√ØøΩs death, thus adding to the dynamics of this case that has been riddled with controversy since its earliest days. Each time, however, just as in the most recent foray into mainstream media musings, ethical and moral issues come into play.

When it comes down to it, this case is not really about feeding tubes or governmental orders, but is really, yet again, about a human being’s right to life. In all reality, this is a case of euthanasia in its most ambiguous form, making it seemingly less concrete and even less intimidating than the concepts of abortion or the death penalty. When it comes to the latter two, it seems that most of us can clearly define our individual beliefs over the morality of the issue, but for some reason, in cases such as that of Terri Schiavo, this line of morality becomes almost nonexistent.

In all actuality, this shouldn’t be the case, no matter how you arrange your options; it all boils down to choosing whether or not a human lives. And that is really not our place.

Simply put, human life is sacred, and just as we don√ØøΩt choose to come into this world, it is not our place to choose how, when, or who leaves it. For example, if Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube is removed and she succumbs to death just a few weeks later, who’s to say that a miracle cure of sorts would not emerge in the near future with the ability to cure all of her problems. Although it seems highly unlikely, scientific breakthroughs occur on a daily basis, so by ending a life prematurely, we may be preventing someone’s life from being saved.

Although people across the world subscribe to a wide variety of beliefs and ideas of different deities, there is no denying the fact that some natural force brings us into the world and takes us out. Human-induced death by removing someone’s feeding tube is comparable to homicide.

For this reason, it is unethical for someone’s life to be ended, if there is even the slightest possibility that they can be spared or eventually be cured. Considering the fact that she has survived for 13 years after heart failure, I believe it’s safe to say that something is keeping her on this planet for some reason, and who are we to argue with that superior something? Plain and simple, humans have no right to play God.