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Can a husband murder his wife? That is exactly what Michael Schiavo is doing in ordering the feeding tube to be removed from his wife. His intention is to murder Terri Schiavo by starving her to death. He is doing this to get rid of her so he can marry his common-law wife with whom he has been living for the last 10 years. He can divorce Terri Schiavo, but he would rather have her dead so that he can inherit her estate.

Can a U.S. court permit a husband to murder his wife legally? As far as this writer knows, murder cannot be made legal in the United States, except in the case self-defense or abortion, in which pregnant women can legally kill their unborn children. It is the slippery slope of abortive murder that has made it possible for a judge to order the murder of a disabled human being.

Terri Schiavo is no burden on her husband. She is being cared for by her parents who love her. The word “love” has not been used by the court in this case. As far as the judge is concerned, love is not an issue or even a consideration. Terri’s parents accept her disabled state. She smiles at them. She hears them. But she cannot speak to them. And as long as they are able to maintain and support their daughter in her disabled state, why should the court deny them this expression of their love? Is not sacrifice an important manifestation of love?

Those in the medical profession who are so eager to pull the feeding tube from Terri’s body are violating their Hippocratic oath. Of course, the medical profession has long discarded that oath in which doctors pledge to do no harm to their patients.

These days, with so much public debate over assisted suicide, legalized abortion, partial-birth abortion and euthanasia, we see an ominous trend toward rejecting life and favoring death. True, in the end we all die, but how we die is the question. We can die heroically on the battlefield, or unheroically in a car accident. But the only civilized way to die is the natural way, through natural causes.

Modern science has enabled Terri Schiavo to continue living even though she has been severely disabled. Does she want to die? She cannot tell us. But every time she looks into the eyes of her parents and smiles at them, she is saying, I want to continue to live, if for no other reason than to experience your love. Love conquers all. It is the bridge between Terri and her parents who deeply care for her. If she did not have that continuous infusion of love, which reaches her through her eyes, then she would probably want to die.

Apparently, although she is disabled, Terri is not in pain. If she were in pain, her face would show it. Nor would her parents want her to live in a constant state of pain. It seems that Terri lives in a kind of painless euphoria that the love of her parents fuels and keeps alive. Without that love she would probably die for the lack of it.

Anyone who has loved knows that agape, or unselfish love, entails sacrifice. True love consists of a strong affirmation of another person without considering what we get in return. That is the story of requited as well as unrequited love. That is the story of falling in love with another person before we even know that the other person loves us.

Terri’s parents love her, even though they know that Terri is a burden. And Terri’s love for them is not disputed by anyone, including her husband or the doctors so eager to pull her feeding tube. As long as Terri can love, is that not a recognition that she is very much alive, much more alive than those who cannot love?

Love, with the help of medical science, keeps Terri alive. If judges and doctors think that love in not important, and if the people of this country agree with them, then we are no longer civilized or human.

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