Why, you ask. Why the outrage? Isn't Terri Schiavo in a vegetative state? Why shouldn't her husband be allowed to remove her from life support and let her die in peace?
Well, first, she's not a vegetable, and she's not on life support. She's seriously brain damaged and disabled, but she is breathing for herself, and the only medical assistance she requires to stay alive is a feeding tube. She may not even require the feeding tube if her husband had allowed her to receive the therapy needed to teach her to swallow for herself... but he has not allowed her any rehabilitation or therapy since 1992.
Terri is aware of the people around her and able to interact with them - go see the videos of Terri, you will realize this is true. However, her husband has attempted to remove all stimulation from her environment. It sure seems like he doesn't want Terri to recover.
Let's talk about Michael Schiavo for a moment, shall we? There are numerous contradictions in his story - check here for examples. Terri's family says the circumstances surrounding her collapse are suspicious, and just reading Michael's story - or the various versions of it - I wonder about it too. Especially considering the bone scan that was taken one year after Terri's collapse that showed a history of trauma that has not yet been explained. There are dozens of documents you can review here and here - including the bone scan - that will make you reconsider what you think you know about this case.
In various interviews and depositions, Michael has said that he just wanted Terri to recover, but he has ignored the testimony of fourteen independent doctors who have said that Terri's condition may improve with therapy. She may be able to swallow for herself. She may even be able to speak again - she certainly tries to speak now.
Terri's parents and her brother love her and are willing to care for her for the rest of her life - all they want is for her husband to allow them to do so. But Michael Schiavo, who is living with another woman and has children with her, refuses to divorce Terri and go on with his life, and is adamant that her feeding tube be removed so she will die.
Why won't Michael just go away and let Terri's family care for her?
Because he says she wouldn't want to live like this. But she had no living will, and he has no proof that this was her wish - she never expressed it to her own family or anyone except Michael himself (and allegedly some members of his family).
Why should we care?
Because life is precious, and the Schindler family wants nothing more than to let Terri live, receive therapy, and enjoy the life that she has. Because there is injustice being done through the court system. Making judgments on another individual's "quality of life" is a slippery slope. And because if it can happen to Terri, it can happen to others who have no voice. We who have a voice must stand up for them.
What can we do?
Educate yourself about Terri's history and her current condition.
Donate to the Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation.
Go here to see the action plan.
Bloggers, get out there and publicize Terri's plight.
Join Terri's Blogroll.
Floridians - and I know there are some who read this blog - you are near enough to make a big difference. Call and e-mail your legislators and your governor. Join the picketing. Use your contacts in the area to put pressure on those who can make something happen.
Don't sit idly by and let Terri die a painful, prolonged death.