Living in Dunedin, I'm not all that geographically distant from what can be conceived of as the "heart" of the Terry Schiavo case. I hear about the case daily from various local, state, and national media outlets, I still get updates from Catholic networks like Priests for Life
amongst various others.
It's late, and I should more likely than not be sleeping or outlining a Western Civ. midterm instead of pondering pithy issues like this one, but alas I have given up on either of those things for the moment, so that I might instead ruminate specifically on the Schiavo case and more generally on the 'Right to Die.' I figured a different perspective might be nice, as the only perspective I seem to get is from Catholic and Orthodox Christians and then the 'Right to Die' lobby thrown in for good measure. Therefore, I did what any 21st
century American would do: I consulted Google
. I had hoped to find at least one or two links to websites, letters, forum posts, or other such media authored by thoughtful Pagans who had taken an interest in the case and were inclined to discuss the 'Right to Die' from the perspective of their religious and/or spiritual beliefs, but I was instead greeted with vitriol from (mostly) Catholic sources discussing how it was the fault of "secular paganism" that Terry Schiavo's life is no longer be treated with respect, reverence, or dignity.
Needless to say, I am slightly dismayed at Google's results (though perhaps I shouldn't be). I've found a great many LiveJournal users, and most certainly those occupying places on my 'friends' list, to be thoughtful and intelligent individuals, and so I figured I would pose the question(s) here.
In the case of Terry Schiavo specifically, it appears the jury is still out as to whether or not she truly is in a Persistent Vegetative State. According to some sources, Terri Schiavo only had a CT scan done after the injury, but with the innovations in scanning technology (notably improved MRI and PET scans) it may be possible to determine whether Terri Schiavo really is in a PVS or not. However, the trial judge has been loathe to allow the comatose woman to undergo either an MRI or PET recently. The Catholic Medical Association's take on the Schiavo Case
along with a WorldNet Daily
article which briefly discusses the issue of MRI and PET scans.
In Schiavo's case specifically, it isn't very clear-cut. She left no instructions regarding what should become of medical treatment should she ever become comatose, and both her family and former husband have different ideas about what she wanted. There really are no easy answers. Schiavo is a Catholic, and the Roman Catholic Church's teaching on any form of euthanasia is, quite bluntly, "no."
In general, mulling over the issue of the 'Right to Die' is rather difficult in me. The priest in me wants to say absolutely not while the rational part of me wants to mull it over and try putting myself in Schiavo's position.
What do you believe about the 'Right to Die', and do your religious/spiritual beliefs inform that opinion?