We now enter a national debate, because of Terry Schiavo and those who have fought in her behalf. Do handicapped people like her have a constitutional right to live? If the federal government concurs with the state of Florida that those who have become severely handicapped merit no such right, then we will need to debate how to rid the blessed land of these inconvenient humans. The state of Florida sanctions the deliberate starvation of the cognitively disabled. Is that the most humane procedure to terminate the lives of those deemed to be living in a vegetative state? We will need to study the protocols already adopted in places such as the Netherlands, where the medical community and the parents determine which handicapped children live or die. When they agree there is no hope for recovery, they administer an intravenous compound which puts the living child into the permanent sleep known as death. The debate will require us to peer into the heart and soul of our society. We will need to decide the value of a life such as Terri’ s and we will need to determine if we show more compassion by killing the handicapped rather than caring for them.
Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness