Terri Schiavo was supposedly dehydrated to death because she supposedly told Michael Schiavo that she would not want to be maintained in an incapacitated condition. The evidence of her “choice” was extremely weak but deemed sufficient enough for courts to justify their death orders.

But this was really a veneer. The real reason Terri died, in my view, was that her life was deemed not worthy to be lived.

Now in Houston, we have a case of a woman whose husband needs a feeding tube and ventilator support. She wants the care for him, but the hospitals are saying no, that his treatment is “futile,” and therefore, they can cut him off from sustenance unilaterally based on their values. So much for “choice.”

Welcome to the world of “futile care theory.” I have been pounding the drum against this form of oppression for years. Expect this to be the next big public fight in bioethics. And expect the same papers that editorialized in favor of Michael Schiavo’s right to decide his wife’s fate to editorialize that in futile care situations, doctors know best.

You see, it isn’t about choice. It is about certain categories of people no longer being welcomed in life.

Articles by Wesley J. Smith

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