Is Schiavo Case Hindering “Culture of Life”?
Dan Drezner points to a number of stories indicating that one outgrowth of the Terri Schiavo case has been an increase in the number of people signing living wills indicating that they do not wish to be kept alive in circumstances like Schiavo’s.
[C]ould it be possible that making a federal case out of Terry Schiavo actually shrinks the culture of life? . . . [I]f this case has prompted a marked increase in the number of people specifying when they do not want heroic measures used to extend their biological life, then by their actions the Bush administration and both houses of Congress will have retarded rather than extended the culture of life.
It could well be. Still, this strikes me as a good result. It makes a lot of sense for people to specify their intentions ahead of time. My parents both signed living wills some time ago. Being single and relatively young, I haven’t. That’s about to change.
About the only thing I can think of that would be worse than continued existence as nothing more than an object of pity is to be in the position of Michael Schiavo or the Schindlers. Sparing one’s loved ones the additional agony of having to decide whether or when to terminate the last glimmer of “life” is a profoundly decent thing to do.