I am hearing some back stage grumbling that I included Terri Schiavo in my Weekly Standard article about the Rom Houben situation when they had different neurological conditions. There is no question in my mind that Terri was not in a locked in state and that Houben is. But so what? I was not comparing or conflating their neurological conditions. I was focusing on ethics and the morality of taking food and fluids away from people because of quality of life judgmentalism.

I mean think about it: Had Houben’s family lived in the USA and elected dehydration (I don’t know the law about that matter in Belgium), before the PET Scans revealed he is fully aware,  there is no question that he would have been dehydrated. Indeed, if Houben had come before Judge Greer in a similar situation as Terri, I believe he would have issued the same order, and might have refused a request for a PET scan, just like he did in Terri’s case.

But even that wasn’t the point of my piece.  What I find interesting is how our society remains emotionally immersed in the Schiavo case, which I believe is based on the moral weightiness of removing food and fluids from people who are not otherwise dying.  That is why whenever these “awakening” cases come into the news, Terri Schiavo and what happened to her leaps immediately to mind.

In other words, the issue isn’t over.  And thank goodness for that!

Articles by Wesley J. Smith

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