Thursday, June 16, 2005

Terri Schiavo's autopsy confirms extensive brain damage

But, was that a greenlight to kill her?

Folks, the results of Terri Schiavo's autopsy are out and they confirm the extent of Terri's brain damage following her still unexplained collapse in 1990. The autopsy's result is being bandied about as "proof" that her husband Michael was right in ordering her killing, and as "egg-on-the-face" of the different authorities in Congress and in the White House who added an extra layer of review in this life-and-death case.

The calculation that entered into Terri's process was brutal: her life, her very existence was ruled unproductive and a drain on valuable resources, and enough of a ethical fig leaf to cover the shame of her direct killing by refusing her food and water.

The Catholic Christian and humane moral stance remains unchanged: human life, even minimally functioning, is endowed with an intrinsic dignity and an inalienable right to life, that no "due process of law" can take away. Terri's life had value, at least to her parents and sibblings and that value should've been accorded a measure of respect by society and the courts.

Human life is too valuable to measure against its ability to produce a good or a service, or in terms of its lack of values to others, or of its need to consume resources better spent on others who have the advantage of a partial or full awareness. All laws, all procedures that violate human dignity at this most basic of levels are null and void by their very nature. They might be afforded the label of "legality" by those who hold the levers of power, but that only reflects an irresponsible use of power and not an objective sanction of the trampling of a basic human life.

Terri's autopsy's results change nothing of the original conditions that led to her fight for life. And the fight is not over. Remember Terri Schiavo.