Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Why the courts and the government don't need to help Terri now

This Morning's decision by the eleventh appellate court is devastating. I knew in the back of my mind that the Federal courts could decline to feed and hydrate Terri, but I hoped that the language of the law, the request for a "De Novo" trial, would motivate them to give her time. It seems to me that the courts may be reacting out of anger at congress' intervention, trying to protect the modern legal process: Specifically, not only ruling on cases, but deciding which cases to take and what evidence and arguments to hear, in order to shape the canon of US law.

Sadly, the extreme measures made in the House, and the rhetoric that follows, probably mean there will be no more intervention from them because of these embarrassing facts:

a) The voting public has seen the boneheaded memo that may have been sent out to Republican congressmen before the debate on the House floor.

b) President Bush, while still Governor of Texas, signed legislation that allows doctors to refuse to execute an advance directive in some cases. Texas Children's Hospital recently used this law to remove a ventillator from an infant against his mother's wishes.

d) The public, by and large, doesn't seem to find a lot of value in a life like Terri's. Once she's gone, this issue seems likely to become weighted on the side of ending treatment for others like her.

c) The next election is too far away for Terri's death to matter at the polls.

Despite the Schindler's vow to seek relief from the Supreme court, it looks to me like this is the place where the buck stops. I am not a lawyer, or a politician. I fervently pray that I am wrong.

No comments: