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Schiavo Legacy: Disabled Right To Life?  
User currently offlinePintail From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 14 posts, RR: 0
Posted (9 years 6 months 4 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 1047 times:

As with most Americans, I have been watching the Schiavo tragedy with a different viewpoint.

I use a power wheelchair, and am really considered to be a "quad". What does this have to do with that case? Well, I consider her situation more of a disability rights issue. More specifically, the fact that she was totally disabled and extremely vulernable. Really, due to the lack of "quality" of her life, she was a non-person, and not really worthy of non-quality life. According to many Bio-Ethicists, anyway.

Is this society really going down the road to denying life to those who are not considered to have a "quality life" be well, not deserving of life?

This is where I'm going. I have limited mobility, but I am reasonably intelligent, well spoken, have a good employment situation, a wife, children, our own house, etc. Yet, I wonder if in this society many look at me and consider my "quality of life" to be diminished due to the wheelchair. Perhaps those with this opinion might consider my to be no better than that non-person in Florida.

(Wonder what that creepy right to die Felos would say about the value of my life?).

Apparently, many in the USA are of the belief that many of the disabled, many in a PVS for sure, would be better off dead. To take this a step further down the slippery slope leading to euthanasia, would Americans eventually feel that anyone using a wheelchair might be better off dead?

Who would make the value judgement as to the relative worth of my life. I wonder if I need to watch my back? Will our society go that far as to where it will affect me.

These are my opinions, and I'm sticking to them. However, I'd be happy to hear any and all reasonable comments on any side of the story you wish.

Regards,
Ralph

5 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineArmitageShanks From UK - England, joined Dec 2003, 3631 posts, RR: 15
Reply 1, posted (9 years 6 months 4 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 1036 times:

I think every person should be able to decide what is best for them. In your case, you are a happy person with what you have going on in your life. Good for you! Someone else might want to die if they were placed in your situation... It depends on the person.

If a person wants no interference with medical intervention, that's fine with me. Let them have what they want. The government shouldn't get involved.

If a cancer/disabled/whatever patient wants to end their life a few months before the cancer/sickness/disability makes their life miserable, let them do it. Who does it hurt? They get what they want and their family/friends have the knowledge their loved one didn't suffer and the pain they would go through watching them suffer.

I don't understand why so many people feel they have to control others lives to such a drastic extent. What do you care John Doe down the street doesn't want to be a vegetable?


User currently onlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21700 posts, RR: 55
Reply 2, posted (9 years 6 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 1025 times:

Quoting Pintail (Thread starter):
Really, due to the lack of "quality" of her life, she was a non-person, and not really worthy of non-quality life.

According to the doctors who looked at her, it wasn't so much her lack of quality of life as it was the fact that most of her brain had been destroyed, rendering her no more intelligent than your average starfish. All that she had were reflexes and instinct - the person who was Terri Schiavo was long gone.

Quoting Pintail (Thread starter):
This is where I'm going. I have limited mobility, but I am reasonably intelligent, well spoken, have a good employment situation, a wife, children, our own house, etc. Yet, I wonder if in this society many look at me and consider my "quality of life" to be diminished due to the wheelchair. Perhaps those with this opinion might consider my to be no better than that non-person in Florida.

Anyone who thinks that you are in any way remotely similar to Terri Schiavo is stupid. As you mentioned, you are intelligent, have a family, and are conscious and able to think critically about the world around you. You are able to think for yourself and have a personality. That sets you apart from Terri Schiavo right there. You are a regular person in every way, except that you have limited mobility. Terri had a human body, but her mind wasn't human anymore. There is a big difference.

Quoting Pintail (Thread starter):
Apparently, many in the USA are of the belief that many of the disabled, many in a PVS for sure, would be better off dead. To take this a step further down the slippery slope leading to euthanasia, would Americans eventually feel that anyone using a wheelchair might be better off dead?

I would disagree with the first part of your statement. I think that you'll find that many in the USA thought that if someone in a PVS wanted to die, they should be allowed to. This is not the same as thinking that people in a PVS would be better off dead. The wishes of the person are the major factor.

Quoting Pintail (Thread starter):
Who would make the value judgement as to the relative worth of my life. I wonder if I need to watch my back? Will our society go that far as to where it will affect me.

No and no to the second and third questions. With regard to the first, as far as I'm concerned, your life is just as valuable as anyone else's, and I should think that 99% of the country would agree with me. If you were horribly depressed because of your condition, and didn't want to live in the state that you're living in, then I think that you should be allowed to end your life peacefully. But that is obviously not the case. You continue to live your life as it was before, to the extent possible. You're happy, and so I see no reason that you would want to do something drastic. As ArmitageShanks said, more power to you. I'm sure that learning to live well with a disability isn't easy.

This isn't so much a "how much do we value the disabled?" issue as a "right to die" issue. The people who wanted to keep Terri Schiavo alive have tried to make it seem like a "how much do we value the disabled?" issue in order to gain support, but it really is all about whether people with a crippling disability (and I mean mentally crippling more than physically crippling) or a terminal illness should be allowed to end their lives on their own terms, rather than suffer until nature takes its course. "Right to die" doesn't mean that we should be able to kill people who we feel are useless to society. It means that those who want to end their lives to avoid inevitable terrible suffering should be allowed to. To put it most simply, if you don't want to die, then you won't.

Quoting Pintail (Thread starter):
Is this society really going down the road to denying life to those who are not considered to have a "quality life" be well, not deserving of life?

No civilized society should ever go down that road, and I have enough confidence in the human spirit to say that I don't think that it ever will go in that direction. Everyone, without exception, is deserving of life. But those who have no hope of a remotely normal life should be allowed to die with dignity, BUT ONLY IF THEY SHOULD CHOOSE TO DO SO.

Most of the country agrees on this point. What made the Schiavo case so big is that there wasn't much evidence as to what her wishes were, and since she was unable to communicate or even think, there was no way of finding out what they were. If her wishes had been known, the whole argument never would have happened.

Hope this helps. I don't think you've got anything at all to worry about.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineLekohawk From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 159 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (9 years 6 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 1022 times:

I gotta say, as one of those right-to-die fellows you speak of, that there is a difference between someone who is still mentally capable and someone who's mind (personality, intellect, memories) are and have been for quite some time gone.

Terri's wishes were to be allowed to die if ever something happened to her. Her parents forcing her to live this long is disgraceful. The news media and the conservatives making this into a national issue is simply revolting.



If only closed minds came with closed mouths.
User currently offlineLTBEWR From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13141 posts, RR: 15
Reply 4, posted (9 years 6 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 1016 times:

Like many, I wish that Terri's husband made different decisions including not remove here feeding tube and allowing the partents/brother of Terri in the room when she passed away. There are many questions as why he made his decision toward Terri, and what influenced him.
I am concerned with a federal or some state laws specifying a disabled's right to life or mandating artificial extension of it. A poorly written law could limit a well establshed living will decision, interfere with a consensus family decision with specific facts and info involved, be in conflict with or overrule various faith beliefs (Catholic, Chrisitan Science, Buddist, others) or non-faith, interfere with good medical judgement, invade medical privacy and lead to courts to make decisions that may not be in the best interest of the individual or their families. Such laws could complicate the responsibilities of hospitals, doctors and hospices. In addition, there is the threat of messing up the courts with many cases on these issues, causing more family disputes and the untold costs of such disputes.
If laws to better protect the medically disabled are created, they must be made with great care, with lots of input from many people and situations, of differening opinions, and not in haste to politically grandstand by either party.


User currently offlineAerorobnz From Rwanda, joined Feb 2001, 7271 posts, RR: 13
Reply 5, posted (9 years 6 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 1012 times:

Pintail, I can understand your sentiments, here's my take on it. Everyone has the right to choose the time and place and the method of their own death. I'm pro voluntary euthanasia, but I think that there's certainly a difference between someone that has a disability that restricts how they live aspects of their lives like yourself, and someone that is completely and utterly incapable of experiencing any form of independent and meaningful life outside of a hospital using machines to keep them alive.

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