[Marxism] Re: My two cents on the Schiavo case

Jim Farmelant farmelantj at juno.com
Mon Mar 28 08:51:22 MST 2005

On Mon, 28 Mar 2005 08:19:34 -0500 =?iso-8859-1?Q?Joaqu=EDn_Bustelo?=
<jbustelo at bellsouth.net> writes:
> Lueko: "As far as I know, Terri Schiavo does not suffer from a 
> terminal
> illness which would cause her more or less immediate death when 
> artificial
> life support is being removed. She is now being denied nourishment, 
> and she
> will die of dehydration, before she would die from starving."
> It is interesting to see how the media's propagandizing of the 
> papist
> framing of the issue finds an echo in the strangest places, among 
> them
> Lueko's post.

It should be noted that it's not just the papists who
have been involved in this.  Protestant evangelicals
have been prime movers in this too. Indeed, the
Terri Shiavo circus, is a prime example of the alliance
that has emerged between papists and evangelicals.
Not too many years ago, these two groups were bitter

> Being in a persistent vegetative state with no discernible brain 
> activity is
> suddenly *NOT* a terminal condition. Think about that. If having 
> completely
> and permanently lost ALL capacity for even instinctive action, 
> including
> being unable to eat or drink, isn't terminal, I don't know what is.

According to the medical evidence, her cerebral cortex has
over the past fifteen years rotted away, and been replaced
with fluid.  Its her brainstem that remains intact and which
provides her with all her basic reflexes.  There is no
evidence that she retains any capacity for consciousness
or will.  In other words, there is no good reason to
believe that she remains a person.

> And being injected with a brew of chemicals isn't "artificial life 
> support"?
> C'mon Lueko. 
> Lueko goes so far as to argue that the surgery to insert a tube 
> through
> which nutrition-laden fluids can be directly deposited is a decision 
> that is
> "not one of medical treatment." If surgery to put into the stomach a 
> tube
> for the delivery of laboratory-concocted mash, and the timed and 
> measured
> delivery of that mash according to doctor-determined schedules and 
> formulas,
> isn't medical treatment, then pray tell, what is medical treatment? 

Under Florida law, that certainly is considered to be medical treatment.


> What we do know is her husband's testimony that she told him in this 
> sort of
> situation she wouldn't have wanted to be kept alive. Others heard 
> those
> statements, too. Florida accepts such verbal statements as valid, 
> and I
> believe not unreasonably so. 
> Her spouse's testimony is essentially undisputed, and backed by 
> others. The
> priest-induced belief of her parents that she couldn't have said or 
> couldn't
> have meant that because it goes against some Papal Bull is simply 
> not
> evidence to the contrary. That is evidence about the parents' own 
> wishes or
> state of mind, not hers.
> But were her own statements ruled out, then the question becomes, 
> absent any
> indication of her own wishes, who speaks for her? Obviously a 
> guardian needs
> to do so. I believe it is entirely reasonable and the normal 
> practice pretty
> much everywhere, but more specifically also the law in Florida and, 
> that in
> a case like this, the spouse is that person.

> Thus the ENTIRE controversy is simply the result of the Catholic 
> Church
> acting through her parents trying to get the state to force Catholic
> doctrine to dictate what is done, rather than having that be 
> determined by
> the wishes of the individuals involved. It is an attack on personal 
> freedom
> and individual autonomy. And it is motivated by a desire to promote 
> a more
> generalized repudiation of personal freedom and individual autonomy. 
> They
> want to establish a "right to life" dictated by the state that would 
> deny
> women the right to decide whether and when to have children.

As I noted the evangelicals have been very much pushing this
too, not just the papists.  Furthermore, some disabily activists
have become very much involved in this issue, including
especially the group, "Not Dead Yet," which maintains that
the courts in Florida have been discriminating against
Terri as a disabled person.  If you were to check last week's
archives of Doug Henwood's discussion list, LBO-Talk,
you will find Marta Russell defending that position.  Although,
Marta denies that her group is involved in any sort of an
alliance with the religious right, in this as in most matters,
actions speak louder than words.  Also, if you were to follow
the discussion on that list, it becomes apparent, that Marta
Russell, who has quite deservedly earned considerable
respect on account of her writings and activism ended
up doing considerable damage to herself, in what was
a rather unedifying spectacle.

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