Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Timothy Sandefur returns from his temporary exile to write a long and thoughtful post about the Schiavo situation. And congratulations to him for closing on a new home with his lovely Erin. Jason Kuznicki, meanwhile, has also written a good post on the subject. He concludes with this:

For the record, my wishes for the end of my own life are as follows: I trust my lifelong companion, my husband under the laws of Canada, Scott R. Starin, to make all medical decisions for me whatsoever. I do not trust anyone else with this capacity, no matter who they are.

I expect Scott’s decisions to be followed down to the very last detail when I am incapacitated. I do not want my body to be kept alive artificially in a persistent vegetative state when there is no hope of recovery, and I trust Scott to make the determination of when and how my life will end if ever this state should befall me.

Now, if only a marriage allowed us to make such decisions–but apparently it doesn’t anymore.

And, to juxtapose this controversy with the gay marriage issue, if only the law in the United States would recognize that Jason and Scott’s relationship deserves the legal protections that Michael and Terri’s marriage comes with in situations like this. Can you imagine what would be going on if this was a gay couple? The law currently recognizes a spouse as the primary decision maker in such circumstances, which is one of the big reasons why Michael Schiavo keeps winning in court (and ironically, the right wants judges to be activist enough to ignore that legal reality and just declare him not to be the decision maker despite the clear legal principle). But since gay couples can’t have “spouses” officially, it doesn’t apply there. Imagine if this happened in a gay couple, one of whom had made clear as Jason just did that his partner was the person to make the decision, but his parents objected to that? You’d have a real mess on your hands, even worse than this situation. But remember, you can’t allow gays to get married…because marriage is such a good thing. Or something.

Comments

  1. #1 GeneralZod
    March 25, 2005

    If it were a gay couple, I bet the Right would want to tube pulled, even before they learned he was in a persistent vegitative state. I bet most on the right would be HAPPY help get rid of one more homosexual. (They are, after all, “destroying” marriage).

  2. #2 Linus
    March 25, 2005

    What I find disgusting is how the religion is used arbitrarily to **justify** anything.

    Here is a link to a story where a woman was caught breastfeeding while driving and the husband claimed that he was the sole authority to punish her and not the courts, based on their religious beliefs :
    http://www.nbc5.com/news/2384586/detail.html??z=dp&dpswid=1260382&dppid=65192

    So why is Michael S not the arbitrator of Terri’s wishes for the same religion?

  3. #3 raj
    March 25, 2005

    So why is Michael S not the arbitrator of Terri’s wishes for the same religion?

    Because the decision as to her care is not, and never has been, Michael’s to make. The decision is, and always has been, Terry S’s to make. The issue is, and always has been what her wishes would be. Since she cannot and, since the incident that sent her into this condition, has not been able to speak for herself as to what her wishes would be, and, moreover, since there was a disagreement among close relatives as to what her wishes would be, a court was required to determine–to the extent that it could–what her wishes would likely have been. The FL courts did so. Through various hearings, and through various appeals.

    The idea that the spouse should be able to influence the direction of medical care for the other spouse, or a parent for a child, when the other spouse (or child) is incapacitated and unable to speak for himself, is based on the idea that the spouse (or parent) is more likely to know what the incapacitated person would want to have done to him under the circumstances. When a disagreement arises as between the spouse and other members of the family, as occurred in the Schiavo case, the court determines what the incapacitated person would likely want to have done. And the FL courts did so in this case.

    Quite seriously, what more needs to be said? Quite frankly, it’s quite clear that there was a falling out between Michael Schiavo and the parents for a reason that will probably never be made public. At that point, some religio-political operations saw an opportunity to make political hay and started to provide financial support to the parents. That’s the long and the short of it. I don’t know who’s paying the attorney who is nominally representing Michael as guardian–actually, that lawyer is representing Terry, who is his real client.

  4. #4 spyder
    March 25, 2005

    I always find it interesting, that in the same “literal” way that these fundamentalist folk can selectively choose one case to make their point, ignoring so many other that contradict that view, they, and their media brethren can choose to ignore the cases of the Pope and Prince Rainier of Monaco. The prince is being kept alive by technology, hoping that the slightest chance of possibility exists to keep him alive. The Pope is, well, who knows what at this point? For all the evidentiary information we have, he might even be dead, or at least under an ICU regimen, being maintained in a semi-vegetative state while various cardinals race around lobbying for political control of the process to select the next one. Do you suppose that keeping the Prince alive, or letting him die, are issues that the government of Monaco are considering at this moment? Do you suppose that Catholics in the US(five of the nine Supreme Court justices are RC’s) are praying, on this holiest of days in their faith, for a full healthy resurrection of the Pope, or for his mortal existence to transcend and ascend???

    I mention this only because neither of these two cases fit into the model exampled by raj. There are no courts of a higher authority than these two individuals. They must, in their own incapacitations rely on others who are decidedly subordinate to them. Herein lies the political agendas of those involved in the decision making, exposed in their most crass ways; there are no mediators or arbitrators to decide the case. Raw emotions meet raw political will. In both cases, others are governing at this moment, deciding the behavior of nations(in the sense the Vatican is a nation–as well as in the same sense the Vatican influences nations).

  5. #5 linus
    March 25, 2005

    Raj,
    My point was duplicity of the religious laws. Not who is the real guardian of TS’s wishes

  6. #6 Yaoi Huntress Earth
    March 26, 2005

    One thing that the far right is forgetting is the hellish state Terri is living in at the moment. For 15 years that poor woman has been constricted to a bed, not even able to talk, chew her own food, and move. Is it fair to let her live like that? What if it was someone they loved who had to go through this?

  7. #7 SharonB
    March 26, 2005

    I’d love to see a poll:
    Would YOU prefer to be kept alive in the same manner as Terry Schiavo, if you had the same diagnosis / prognosis?

    I am betting that 90%+ would not.

    The courts have repeatedly determined that her wish would not have been to be kept alive under the circumstances. These Religio-fascists care little what she wanted. They are most selfishly religious, and drunk on the lust for political power.

  8. #8 Yaoi Huntress Earth
    March 26, 2005

    I heard they already did one and 80% said they wouldn’t want to. The whole thing infuriates me.

  9. #9 Lynn
    March 26, 2005

    Whatever a person decides to do is totally up to them. Some people believe that where there is life there is hope, that is their right to believe that.

    Our job is to make our will very clear to our spouses and those close to us.

    Anyone can pickup a Living Will and/or see an attorney to draw up the papers.

    If a person wishes to remain on any and all forms of life support they can do so as long as they have the papers to back them up and family to see it is done.

    I for one would not like to be kept alive artificially. My family is well aware of that and so is my fiance Ed (who writes this blog.)

    So let’s not be too quick to judge others by what we might want for ourselves.

  10. #10 Yaoi Huntress Earth
    March 27, 2005

    That’s a good point, but I just wish the naysayers wouldn’t force it down the throats of everyone else.