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April 02, 2005

Comments

As I commented over at Redstate, this is a selective reading of the facts, and a poorly arrived-at moral conclusion as a result. You pay lip service to the possibility that he functionally widowed when Terri lost higher-level brain function. Yet you spend the remainder of the post exploring only the possibility that he did not consider himself to be, from a moral standpoint, bereaved.

From the jarringly formatted piece on Ms. Centonze:

Terri's parents, Robert and Mary Schindler, agreed he was a devoted husband and encouraged him to date other women, according to court records and relatives.

"It was only a couple of weeks before Bob Schindler was saying Mike needed to get on with his life," said Schiavo's brother, Scott. "That was the farthest thing from Mike's mind."

But as months turned into years, Schiavo lost hope.

He decided to date about three years after Terri collapsed, Schiavo's lawyer said during the 2000 trial.

"It took Michael a long time to consider the prospect of getting on with his life - something he was actively encouraged to do by the Schindlers, long before enmity tore them apart," Jay Wolfson, a former guardian of Terri, wrote in a 2003 report to Gov. Jeb Bush.

"He was even encouraged by the Schindlers to date, and introduced his in-law family to women he was dating," Wolfson wrote.

Whether you believe these accounts or not, can you say they are not plausible? Does this not argue against your moral interpretation of his fitness as guardian?

It doesn't matter, Gromit. From the time the DeLay hit the fan, it's been the clarion call for the easily-led to begin bestowing all manner of scarlet letters on Mr. Schiavo: Murderer, liar, adulterer, perjurer. And it's only going to get worse. I won't be shocked to discover that the man now gets daily death threats.

oh, for God's sake. Let her go, Charles. Let her go.

Any notion that "Terry got the short end" assumes that one has knowledge as to what Mrs. Schiavo (I do not preseume to be on friendly terms with the deceased) would have wanted. In fact, the court found clear and convincing evidence that Mrs. Schiavo would not want to persist in a vegatative state. That finding was critical to the court order not to reinsert the feeding tube.

What is truly remarkable is how many people can come to a conclusion on an issue where they could not possbily have any direct knowledge.

By the way, the court documents also indicate that the Schindlers encouraged Michael Schiavo to date before the fall-out regarding the money received from the malpractice settlement. What sort of parent would encourage (or countenance) their son-in-law cheating on their daughter?

Judge not lest ye be judged.

Three years into his effective marriage with Ms. Centonze, Mr. Schiavo petitioned the court to starve Terri to death in 1998, based on hearsay evidence that Terri would have wanted it that way.

Wrong.

Michael Schiavo petitioned the court to determine what Terri Schiavo would have wanted; in other words, he left it up to the court. You should know this by now.

You are also playing fast and loose with the word "hearsay." If A tells me he wants a pony, and I tell you "A said he wants a pony," that isn't hearsay -- that's eyewitness testimony. If you go on and tell another party "A said he wants a pony," that is hearsay.

Michael could be all those things Bird and still doing right by what Terrri wanted.

It would seem to me that Micheal put a very high value on Terri's life, upwards of a million dollars. Doesn't quite fit your profile does it?

If A tells me he wants a pony, and I tell you "A said he wants a pony," that isn't hearsay -- that's eyewitness testimony. If you go on and tell another party "A said he wants a pony," that is hearsay.

And even that isn't necessarily excluded hearsay. My understanding is that such evidence can be presented and accepted in court only if the witness is testifying simply that X said it, and not to the truth or falsity of the statement.

I've been wondering what the new growth industry in America will be after the Internet boom. It's starting to look like filing slander and libel lawsuits for M. Schiavo might be it.

Charles: it's not right to say that " the courts consistently ruled that Mr. Schiavo had the authority--because of the marital relationship--to act on behalf of Terri." The Courts ruled that there was clear and convincing evidence that Terri Schiavo would not have wanted to be kept on a feeding tube in the circumstances she found herself in. (link, pdf; see pp. 8-9.) See also the Appeals Court's decision, which states:

"In this case, however, Michael Schiavo has not been allowed to make a decision to disconnect life-support. The Schindlers have not been allowed to make a decision to maintain life-support. Each party in this case, absent their disagreement, might have been a suitable surrogate decision-maker for Theresa. Because Michael Schiavo and the Schindlers could not agree on the proper decision and the inheritance issue created the appearance of conflict, Michael Schiavo, as the guardian of Theresa, invoked the trial court's jurisdiction to allow the trial court to serve as the surrogate decision-maker.

As the Trial Court notes on p. 8, all sorts of other issues, including "the quality of the marriage between Michael and Terri Schiavo", are irrelevant to the issue it has to decide, which is what Terri Schiavo would have wanted. (In this context, it's also worth noting that the Court did not rely on Michael Schiavo's word alone in determining what Terri Schiavo would have wanted.)

That being the case, I think it's wrong to say that this is about "Michael Schiavo choosing to end the life of his wife, Terri Schiavo." Michael Schiavo didn't make this decision; the Courts did. And they didn't make it based on what anyone other than Terri Schiavo wanted.

And I think you go beyond factual error and into what is, to me, morally dangerous territory when you suggest not just that Michael Schiavo made this decision, but that he did so because "a man cannot serve two wives because one of the spouses is going to get the short end. Tragically and wrongly, Terri got the short end, and the fatal end as well." As I read this, you're suggesting that Michael Schiavo made his decision at least in part because he was no longer sufficiently concerned with Terri Schiavo's interests to do right by her.

Now: I have absolutely no knowledge of Michael Schiavo's character beyond what I have gained from news reports, the legal record, and so on. I therefore have absolutely no basis on which to challenge the idea that, if Michael Schiavo had made the decision whether or not to remove the feeding tube, which he didn't, he would have made it in this way. But the thing is, neither do you have any evidence that this is what happened (unless you know the man personally.) And you are suggesting at best that he talked himself into the view that she would have wanted to have the feeding tube removed, and at worst that he decided to have it removed because he just wanted her out of the way. Even the most favorable construction of what you say is, in my view, a serious accusation, and I don't think it's responsible to make it without knowing a lot more about Michael Schiavo than any of us who are observing this via the media do.

Stop demonizing that poor man. What options do you have once your spouse is dead to the world, incapable of interacting with you or anyone else? For how many years could you be satisfied with no romantic relationship to anyone who was capable of uttering a word or even signaling anything to you? If Michael Schiavo hadn't already found another woman, you would probably be attacking him for killing his wife so that he could date other women. But he did not kill his wife, as the other posters have made clear, it was the courts who made a judgment of fact about Terri's wishes. And any speculation of yours about his motives is just that - speculation - and in this case it seems to be a particularly malicious sort of speculation.

Phil: It doesn't matter, Gromit. From the time the DeLay hit the fan, it's been the clarion call for the easily-led to begin bestowing all manner of scarlet letters on Mr. Schiavo: Murderer, liar, adulterer, perjurer. And it's only going to get worse. I won't be shocked to discover that the man now gets daily death threats.

Worse than that. From the St. Pete Times piece, my emphasis:

Schiavo's opponents have directed much vitriol toward Jodi Centonze, threatening her life and her two children. In dozens of letters mailed to the couple's Countryside home, some critics have called her a whore and her children bastards, relatives say.

Oh, and I recently learned that it is actually acceptable to call a child a "bastard" in polite society. The things you learn from the "Culture of Life".

Yes, and it's also cool to see how those who are concerned with the terrifying prospect of watering down our concept of marriage by allowing gay couples to marry have no problem applying it to people who are not, in fact, married at all, in a state that last time I checked did not recognize common law marriage. I shudder to think how many times I have been married and divorced without even knowing it.

Consequently, the decision on the fate of the life of a human being should have erred on the side of life.

how many thousands died in Iraq because W and his supporters suspected there might be banned weapons there? no proof, mind you, just speculation, rumor, conjecture, fear and loathing. W and his supporters erred on the side of Death - no, make that they chose the side of Death, willingly and proudly.

and now you and your political pals have the balls to accuse anyone of not respecting life.

bah

I should say that my last comment was not directed at Charles, but at commentators who clearly do oppose gay marriage. I was following up Gromit's point, and forgot that Charles had used similar language about 'as good as married' in this post.

Charles, you have neither facts, nor law, nor consistent philosophy on your side. Give it up.

So, Charles, this is your "postmortem" on the Theresa Schiavo case? One "dignified death" piece from Eleanor Clift (anent an awful and heartwrenching tragedy, but one way WAY removed from the Schiavo situation); a nod to Pope John Paul II, and the main course a big plate of rehash from one blogger and one WSJ pundit, all basically to push home the theme that, what? "Michael Schiavo is an adulterous sleaze"?, and therefore should have forfeited any and every say in his (legitimate) wife's care or guardianship?
Would your opinion of the fundamentals of the Terri Schiavo case been any different if Michael Schiavo had lived a solitary and celibate life for the ten years or so since he became convinced (via pretty strong medical evidence) that his wife Terri already was functionally "dead"? Would you still be spending your blogtime pontificating about "moral presumptions" if he had moved into a closet at the hospice for the last decade, rather than following his in-laws' advice and getting back into "life" outside?
Here's a nugget of thought to ponder, BD: How about the proposition that neither Michael Schiavo (or Theresa Schiavo, for that matter), nor Robert & Mary Schindler are any sort of "saints" or "villains", but rather mere mortal humans, trying to do their best in dealing with the terrible tragedy that befell them in 1990, and has dogged their lives ever since. No one deals well with these awful situations, rarely is there any truly "right" solution, families and loved ones are always left devastated by a death - and it is in the family that these terrible feelings should be worked out: NOT played out in public in a ghoulish circus of publicity.
I know Michael Schiavo makes an easy target for moralizing and opinionating - especially by those who have never met him, or know of him only through what they read on equally uniformed blogs; but really: is this truly the most thoughtful piece you could produce?
It hardly seems a radical notion to posit that issues of Life and Death are far more complicated in real life, than the Sunday-School comic-book simplicities which the "save-Terri" political jackals have tried to paint the issue as.

blar: Stop demonizing that poor man.

It's one of the ugliest aspects of the whole thing, to me. Michael Shiavo was accused of everything from spousal abuse to murder - I saw no one on the side of the "culture of life" who was willing to acknowledge that, though they disagreed that Terri Shiavo ought to be allowed to die, still Michael Shiavo could be acting from the best of motives.

I could see how it would be possible to make an ethical case for having Terri Schiavo live on - Felixrayman did, though I didn't agree with him, and a couple of other people raised good points. But for the most part, they were shouted down by people who were - to quote Anarch from another context -

But that, to me, is the point: there is no debate to be advanced. On the one side you have a bunch of yammering, howling fools -- some well-meaning, some almost predatory in their advances -- and on the other you have reason, science and evidence. The two do not meet in a "debate", which connotes a sense of reasoned argument; they meet in a knock-down mud-slinging brawl where one side has specifically abrogated their responsibilities to reason because almost by definition, reason is on the other side.

But why do those of us who aren't right-to-life absolutists side with Mrs. Schiavo's parents, who want to keep her alive, over her husband, who wants her dead? It's a fair question, and it raises another one: What kind of husband is Michael Schiavo?

When asked "why side with the parents," the answer is, "we don't like the husband." I don't think it's any more complicated than that.

If "why side with the parents" is a fair question, I have another fair question. Why ask "what kind of husband" he is, but not ask "what kind of parents" they are? Pretend this is the scenario: (1) Good and faithful husband says she wants to die, (2) parents with a history of child abuse say she wants to live. Do you side with the parents? Is your first question, "what kind of husband?"

And how is any of that relevant to determining what the patient wanted?

One more thought about Michael Schiavo: he received $300,000 in damages was for "loss of consortium" (i.e., loss of the ability to have sex with his wife). Then he turns around and has sex anyway, via adultery. And even if he couldn't keep his zipper up, was it really necessary to sire two chldren out of wedlock?

And now he's being downright spiteful toward the parents about cremation, burial, etc.

I have come to the conclusion that this man is a 100% sleazeball.

In keeping with the title of this post, the Pope has now died. Requiescat in pacem, Karol Wojtyla.

What Anarch said.

Yes, and it's also cool to see how those who are concerned with the terrifying prospect of watering down our concept of marriage by allowing gay couples to marry have no problem applying it to people who are not, in fact, married at all, . . . .

I almost brought this precise point up, hilzoy. I'm glad you did. Apparently the "sanctity of marriage" isn't so sanctified after all, if there's a subset of conservatives prepared to go around imposing it willy-nilly on people who clearly don't want it.

Mr. Shiavo didn't make the decision to let this woman move on, the courts of Florida did. Both conservative and liberal judges in multiple trials, appealed right up to the Florida Supreme court with judgement consistently upheld that this woman did not want to be kept alive in this undead state. The Federal Supreme Court's refusal to take the case is their approval of the actions of the Florida Courts.

The rule of law and the Constitution of the United States should not be selectively ignored.

Not to agree with CB, but I think it would have been wiser for Mr. Schiavo to have permanently resolved his relationsip with his wife before starting new relationships. I would think that after two or three years he could have decided to honor her wishes to be allowed to be freed from her broken body, or he could have decided not to. Perhaps for long years he held false hope due to awful advice from poor doctors - then the above is wrong. But CB's "two masters" argument speaks to me. I would not want to put myself in the position of feeling torn between my old love and my new family, at least if I believed that the former's family was loving and responsible.

"Requiescat in pace" I think. "R.i. pacem" would mean "may he rest into peace".

Not to agree with CB, but I think it would have been wiser for Mr. Schiavo to have permanently resolved his relationsip with his wife before starting new relationships.

It would have been still wiser for the Schindlers not to have explicitly encouraged Mr Schiavo to date other women, and to not have accepted Mr Schiavo's paramour into their home, had they chosen to take this tack.

Rilkefan, what do you mean by "resolve[d] his relationsip with his wife before starting new relationships"?

Divorce her? - I'm actually not sure one *can* get a divorce if one of the spouses is incapable of consenting or not consenting to it. And even if he could, that would simply have left her in her parents' custody - and the parents have stated, quite clearly, they had no intentions of honoring her wishes.

Or do you mean he should have asked that her feeding tube be removed before he went out on a date? - You're essentially saying he should have ensured she was dead, based not on her medical condition, but on his relationship status. That's awful.

He waited until he was absolutely, positively sure nothing could help her, and that took 7 years.

I'm not even sure I buy this "two masters" idea. There's no evidence to suggest his S.O. was pushing for marriage, much less that she was pushing him to "kill Terri!" They've been together long enough to have two children, and stayed together even through the ugliness of the last few years: that argues a lot of emotional stability and strength. Michael Schiavo strikes me as someone with a strong sense of personal responsibility. He had fallen in love again, but wasn't about to turn his back on his wife, because he had made a promise to her and intended to keep it.

"Requiescat in pace" I think. "R.i. pacem" would mean "may he rest into peace".

I stand corrected; "pace" is apparently the ablative, "pacem" the locative.

Anarch: "It would have been still wiser for the Schindlers not to have explicitly encouraged Mr Schiavo to date other women, and to not have accepted Mr Schiavo's paramour into their home, had they chosen to take this tack."

I wasn't there, but it seems fine to me for the Schindlers, under the false belief that there had been a permanent decision to support Mrs. Schiavo, to encourage their son-in-law to continue on with his life.


CaseyL: "Divorce her? - I'm actually not sure one *can* get a divorce if one of the spouses is incapable of consenting or not consenting to it."

Maybe it's state-dependent, but it's possible in some places. You can give up guardianship to someone, and that person can accept the divorce.

"And even if he could, that would simply have left her in her parents' custody - and the parents have stated, quite clearly, they had no intentions of honoring her wishes."

It took him seven years to decide to honor her wishes by that argument...

"Or do you mean he should have asked that her feeding tube be removed before he went out on a date? - You're essentially saying he should have ensured she was dead, based not on her medical condition, but on his relationship status. That's awful."

Her medical condition was fixed and (from my non-doctor perspective) quite clear from her initial heart attack. If I were struck down like that, it would be important to me that my wife would be able to continue on without being chained to me - I think that's an excellent reason for not wanting to linger. I don't want to be in that state for my own selfish reasons, but I also don't want to be a burden on my family.

Rilkefan: It took him seven years to decide to honor her wishes by that argument...

At what point should he have decided there was no hope of her ever recovering? If you feel that seven years was too long, what would be the right amount of time?

To put it bluntly, what a pile of shite.

Remark refers to the column, in case there is any confusion.

oh, for God's sake. Let her go, Charles. Let her go.

Oh, for God's sake, spare me, prak. I've haven't written even one half of a phrase on Schiavo until today.

Michael Schiavo petitioned the court to determine what Terri Schiavo would have wanted; in other words, he left it up to the court. You should know this by now.

If Michael had no desire to shorten Terri's life, he wouldn't have filed the petition in the first place. I can't find the actual May 11, 1998 petition, but the 11th Circuit in its Statement of Facts wrote this:

On May 11, 1998, Michael Schiavo petitioned the Circuit Court for Pinellas County, Florida, Sixth Judicial Circuit, Probate Division, for authority to discontinue Terri's "artificial life support," which consisted only of assisted feeding through a PEG (percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy) tube.
As Terri's guardian, it was always in Michael's hands to forego pulling the feeding tube.


As for several making the argument that Terri's parents were morally deficient when they encouraged Michael to date, I agree it wasn't moral to make such a suggestion. But that was made when relationship between Schindler-Schiavo was amicable and when their interests in Terri's welfare were consonant. It still takes nothing away from the fact that there is a conflict because it is well nigh impossible for Michael to act in both Jodi's and Terri's best interests. The honorable thing should have been to end the marriage with Terri, rather than stay married and shack up with Jodi. Either the marriage bonds are taken seriously or they're not.

Charles: I am not trying to argue that Micael Schiavo is a good guy. I do not think I'm in a position to judge one way or the other. I do dispute your claim about what the court ruled. It did not, in fact, give Michael Schiavo the right to decide whether or not to remove the feeding tube. For this reason, I also dispute your claim that what happened is a blot on the law.

Jes: "At what point should he have decided there was no hope of her ever recovering? If you feel that seven years was too long, what would be the right amount of time?"

As I said, it seems to me that her situation was more or less immediately discernable. However, I wasn't there, listening to what the doctors were saying. But I would think that when he decided he was ready to start dating he should have been able to realize his wife wasn't going to recover and should then have been able to resolve what his future course of action would be. That would at least have been a good time to discuss the possibilities with everyone concerned - what if she recovers? what if we come to accept that she is in a PermanentVS? how do we feel about the fact that she wouldn't want to be kept alive without hope? do we all agree on the facts? what if there is new info?

I'm not blaming him for changing his mind - that's why I used the word "wiser", which I pretend has a different meaning than "smarter".

Charles Bird: As for several making the argument that Terri's parents were morally deficient when they encouraged Michael to date, I agree it wasn't moral to make such a suggestion.

I certainly don't think they were morally deficient. In fact, it sounds like they were quite humane and moral to think of his emotional needs. I simply think that the above is a logical consequence of your position that should have been acknowledged from the start, and which would color the question of whether the Schindlers had Terri's best interests at heart any more than did Michael.

It still takes nothing away from the fact that there is a conflict because it is well nigh impossible for Michael to act in both Jodi's and Terri's best interests.

Your formulation is ridiculous, as if you can only ever act in one person's best interests. And even if I were to accept it, his new partner, and their children, have been receiving death threats. How does this lend credibility to your notion that he valued their interests over Terri's?

Rilkefan, we don't know that Michael Schiavo didn't have precisely those discussions.

There are, as has been noted, hundreds and possibly thousands of others in situations similar to this one: someone is in a PVS/terminal condition, who happens to be married to someone who is not.

Do you advocate all of those marriages be ended if the non-PVS/terminal spouse wants to 'go on with their life'? Regardless of whether or not they still feel responsible for the care and welfare of the PVS/terminal spouse? If so, what timeline do you propose; and how many medical opinions should be sought in the process?

If so, who do you advocate taking responsibility for the PVS/terminal (ex)-spouse? The parents - regardless of the kind of relationship they had with their child? Some other relative? A close friend? The State?

What if there's disagreement over who should have custody? How should that disagreement be resolved?

What if the PVS/terminal (ex)spouse is an indigent? Who pays for the care; who decides when there's no point in going on? Do you propose full federal or state funding for all PVS/terminal cases for the rest of their lives? Or do you propose a national version of Texas' "Futile Care Law," which allows hospitals to discontinue medical care if the case is hopeless and the patient can't pay for medical care, even against the wishes of the patient's parent/spouse/family?

Most of the people pounding the drum over Terri Schiavo haven't addressed any of these questions. They specifically haven't mentioned the Texas law.

Rilkefan: But I would think that when he decided he was ready to start dating he should have been able to realize his wife wasn't going to recover and should then have been able to resolve what his future course of action would be.

I honestly don't see that the two have, or should have, anything to do with each other. I'm really confused why people think they do. Two people can be legally married, with all the rights and benefits and responsibilities of marriage, and have a personal understanding that neither of them will be sexually faithful. That does not change the legality of their marriage, or remove any of their rights/benefits/responsibilities towards each other under law.

The difficulty here is simply that Terri Schiavo could not give consent to her husband forming a new relationship with another woman and having children with her. We could suppose that, had she looked ahead and imagined herself in a PVS, she would have told Michael Schiavo "And you're to stay completely celibate, no dating, no children with anyone else, until I breathe my last - because if you ever have sex with anyone else while I'm alive, even if I have no cerebral cortex and won't know a thing about it, I want a divorce." But in fact, this is no one's business except Michael Schiavo's: if he feels that Terri Shiavo wasn't that kind of person, he may be right or he may be wrong, but it's not an area where anyone else has a right to second-guess him.

Michael Schiavo had legal and moral responsibilities towards Terri Schiavo which he was clearly unwilling to walk away from, even when bribed with a million dollars.

Let's suppose that in 1997, instead of asking the courts to decide what Terri Schiavo would have wanted, he'd shrugged, told her parents that this was now their problem, and walked away from it - by getting a divorce, or just by relinquishing his right to have a say? What would have happened?

Most likely, given the reports of the Schiavo family's involvement in Terri Schiavo's day-to-day care, Terri Schiavo would have died some time ago from an infected bedsore. Christopher Reeve lasted nine years: had Michael Schiavo walked away from Terri Schiavo's care, would Terri Schiavo have lasted eight more years without a serious bedsore?

The one thing that may have been left as awareness in Terri Schiavo's brain was the pain reflex. Christopher Reeve couldn't feel a bedsore: it's just conceivable that what was left of Terri Schiavo's brain would have. It would have been more painful than dying of dehydration, but it would still have been death.

If Michael had no desire to shorten Terri's life, he wouldn't have filed the petition in the first place.

What if he didn't have the desire himself, but knew that is what she would have wanted?

Or do you live in a world where no man does something he doesn't want because his wife wants it that way?

"Most likely, given the reports of the Schiavo family's involvement in Terri Schiavo's day-to-day care, Terri Schiavo would have died some time ago from an infected bedsore."

From my perspective it's sad this wasn't the outcome.


If I knew I would end up in a PVS and someone would offer my wife $1M to keep me on a feeding tube, I'd probably say go for it if it feels ok. She can sell my organs to the highest bidder. Whatever is best for her is fine.

Jes? What about the Schindler's day to day care of their daughter? I'd heard that Michael got training to care for Terri (as a respiratory therapist, an addition to what he was already certified to do); and also that he sometimes badgered the people at the hospitals and hospice to do more than they were doing. 15 years of PVS with no bedsores, no pneumonia, no gangrene, and none of the other usual ailments does indicate and uncommon vigilance.

But I haven't heard much about how much the Schindlers knew, or did.

Rilkefan: From my perspective it's sad this wasn't the outcome.

Looked at without any regard at all for what any of the families involved would have wanted, it would certainly have been better if there hadn't been this whipped-to-a-frenzy mob about it: and Michael Schiavo and several other people wouldn't be receiving death threats from "pro-lifers": and other people at the hospice would have been allowed to die in peace rather than have their last days disturbed by the mob outside: so, yes, it would impersonally have been "better" if Terri Schiavo had been abandoned by her husband and left to die of an infected bedsore. But that is clearly not what Michael Schiavo wanted to do, and I can see why.

If I knew I would end up in a PVS and someone would offer my wife $1M to keep me on a feeding tube, I'd probably say go for it if it feels ok. She can sell my organs to the highest bidder. Whatever is best for her is fine.

She might feel badly about that, though. I'm just sayin'.

CaseyL: But I haven't heard much about how much the Schindlers knew, or did.

I haven't heard that either of her parents, or her brother and sister, were willing to give up their lives and look after her to the same degree as Michael Schiavo. Maybe if they'd had no choice - if in 1997, Michael Schiavo had said okay, you do everything I'm doing, I quit - they would have. But that degree of care is, frankly, really pretty unusual. No blame to the Schiavo's if they weren't capable of it: but it's clear to me that Michael Schiavo's care for Terri Schiavo was pretty damn extraordinary.

CaseyL - wait a minute, I see where you're coming from. No, I've heard nothing bad about the Schindler's care for their daughter, and I didn't mean to imply I had - but from reports about Terri Schiavo's care, it seems clear that Michael Schiavo was the one responsible for making sure that the 24-hour care she got was extraordinarily good. As Christopher Reeve proved, sadly, it isn't money exclusively that buys that: it's unremitting and knowledgable vigilance.

CaseyL, I tend to think that the pair bond should be recognized as primary, and in cases where one partner wants to form a new bond the courts should decide guardianship, with presumption going to the parents or adult children then other relatives.

Re the conversation I suggested should have taken place, I rather suspect one side or the other would have mentioned the discussion and its outcome during the various hearings.

Is Reeve really a useful data point here? He was engaged in a heroic struggle, both private and public, to combat his injury - and that put stress on him that a less strong-willed person would not have undergone.

I am appalled at the narrowness and presumption with which the author of this post views "marriage."

and that put stress on him that a less strong-willed person would not have undergone.

According to this website, one reason why he was battling pressure sores was because he spent so much time in his wheelchair. So in a sense Reeve died because he wanted to do "too much".

I used Reeve as a high-profile example of how easy it is for someone who can't move (Terri Schiavo wasn't paralyzed but had no control over her voluntary muscles) to develop bedsores, and how ultimately lethal they can be. In all other respects, his situation was utterly different from Terri Schiavo's.

I'm done trying to persuade anyone on the "other side" of this issue that this was a tragic, personal case that mirrors so many others in this country, and that the assumptions and conclusions that have been drawn by people who can't possibly know what happened are offensive.

One thing I will point out in response to Charles' denouncement of Michael Schaivo: on the two sides of this case, there has been one person who (1) stayed by the side of and provided excellent care to Terri Schaivo; (2) respected the other patients and families at the hospice*; (3) did not participate in making his loved one a spectacle; (4) spent all of the money he was supposedly so greedy for in service of her wishes and care; (5) has not put himself in any kind of spotlight; and (6) has not put up the list of his supporters for sale.

*this, to me, is one of the most telling things about the Schaivo family. They could easily have had all their "press conferences" at another location and could have insisted that their supporters join them there. Surely some church would have been glad to provide that venue. Instead, they made a circus out of a place where families are grieving.

There's nothing to say to Charles and Josh and those who see Michael Schaivo as a murderer, and those of us who support the conclusions of the legal system as accomplices.

One thing I will point out in response to Charles' denouncement of Michael Schaivo: on the two sides of this case, there has been one person who (1) stayed by the side of and provided excellent care to Terri Schaivo; (2) respected the other patients and families at the hospice*; (3) did not participate in making his loved one a spectacle; (4) spent all of the money he was supposedly so greedy for in service of her wishes and care; (5) has not put himself in any kind of spotlight; and (6) has not put up the list of his supporters for sale.

*this, to me, is one of the most telling things about the Schaivo family. They could easily have had all their "press conferences" at another location and could have insisted that their supporters join them there. Surely some church would have been glad to provide that venue. Instead, they made a circus out of a place where families are grieving.

Sorry about that double post! I thought I checked. Oops.

But I haven't heard much about how much the Schindlers knew, or did.

I don't want to do the inverse of what Bird's post did, which is attempt to drag the Schindler's name through the mud, but after the PVS was diagnosed, Terrie was taken home to be cared for and after 3 weeks, the Schindlers were 'overwhelmed' and she had to be returned to the hospice.

I'm also suggesting a 'just say no' policy on commenting on Terrie Schiavo. It may be tough when spurious facts are offered up, but I think it might be for the best.

In my opinion, Micheal Schiavo was widowed in 1990. A widowed spouse does not cease to love his or her late husband or wife, even if he or she remarries. My grandmother continued to visit my grandfather's grave even after she remarried. In a sense, I think Schiavo was doing the same thing: taking care of what was left of his wife, honoring her memory and carrying out her wishes even after he had fallen in love again. I've read that he was offered several large bribes (in the millions of dollars range) to get a divorce. If he was just out for money or didn't care about his wife any longer, why didn't he take one of those offers?

And speaking of the "culture of life" and its advocates, has anyone else seen this article on what Tom DeLay did when his father was in a PVS?

lj: I actually took just such an oath yesterday after she died, but I included an exception for factual errors, and another to the effect that some responses to this might get commented on -- e.g., further incitements to disobey the law are not covered by the oath. FWIW.

On "just say no", I at least learned something about what I think in the process of responding above. Since I'm getting married soon it was good to find out.

This is really a despicable post. The points have all been made and I won't repeat them all, but it's amazing that the cheap shots are still coming. One point that's worth noting again, though, is that if Michael Schiavo had a conflict of interest, so did everyone on the Schindler side, and so does every one of us who's married and who participates in end-of-life decision-making for a family member. We all have other claims on our emotions. But it turns out that in the real world, it's possible to love more than one person at a time. If I were ever in Terri Schiavo's position, I'd hope my wife would be willing to see to it that the right thing was done, but I would also hope that she'd do what she could for her own happiness, and if she found someone else to love, I'd wish her Godspeed.

hilzoy: I actually took just such an oath yesterday after she died, but I included an exception for factual errors,

Heh, you might as well said "except on days ending in Y", given how this debate has proceeded so far.

At what point does Charles' penchant for writing screeds like this turn him into a legal liability for ObWi? The crack ObWi legal eagle team may want to have a good think about this one.

At any rate, allow me to add another voice naming this post for the despicable, intellectually bankrupt calumny that it is. Others have already called out and destroyed most of the points on which Charles has distorted or omitted facts and tortured the bounds of logic in order to justify the position he already held, so it appears I'm late to the party.

The woman is dead. She is dead because conservative and liberal judges alike ruled, consistently over the course of over a decade and based on a broad range of evidence not limited to her husband's testimony, that she would have wanted it that way.

Your fetishizing of her plight and use of it as a political prop, as Bush and those in Congress did, is deserving of nothing less than naked contempt.

I think Michael Schiavo is probably going to be murdered within the year. I want you to know Charles that I think you will bear a measure of responsibility for that murder.

"I think Michael Schiavo is probably going to be murdered within the year. I want you to know Charles that I think you will bear a measure of responsibility for that murder."

Jeez, people, some balance, please.

Okay, Frank, enough of THAT. Charles has not called for any harm to the man, and his is hardly the most vitriolic treatment of Michael Schiavo I have seen today.

I want you to know Charles that I think you will bear a measure of responsibility for that murder.

Not cool, Frank. Not in the slightest bit cool.

I hope you're wrong, Frank. But if you're not, it'll be fruit loops like this guy, not Charles, who will have to take a long hard look at themselves in the mirror. I think Charles is dead wrong here, but he's a long way from inciting violence.

Maybe I should have said a very small measure, but the very least this post implies is carelessness about his wife's life. I don't see being a minor part of the hatefest against a private citizen who didn't do anything to deserve his 15minutes of infamy.

(I hope I'm wrong too.)

Oops, I don't see being a minor cog in that machine as ok.

I think, Frank, that there's a difference between expressing one's disapproval of another's choices, which is what Charles has done, and calling him a murderer, which is what the loon I linked to previously has done.

The worst Charles is guilty of here, (besides being wrong, IMHO) is not minding his own damned business. But we're all guilty of that at this point.

JKC- I'm not sure you looked at the implications of this:

"Mr. Schiavo petitioned the court to starve Terri to death in 1998, based on hearsay evidence that Terri would have wanted it that way. The age-old phrase "you cannot serve two masters" applies here, or in this case a man cannot serve two wives because one of the spouses is going to get the short end. Tragically and wrongly, Terri got the short end, and the fatal end as well."

I don't see how you can say Charles isn't claiming Mr Schiavo wanted to kill his wife for selfish gain.

I admit I think there is a diffence between letting someone go and killing them, perhaps Charles does not. Like many others I don't see any evidence Mr. Schiavo has any possible selfish motive here.

(I hope he sues everyone who has defamed him and wins a lot of money, but I don't see how he could have forseen the opportunity. I would prefer being poor and unknown to being rich and hated by a substantial minority of the population, particularly a minority that has committed terrorist acts against individuals they hated less.) Google: abortion clinic bombing

There's nothing to say to Charles and Josh and those who see Michael Schaivo as a murderer, and those of us who support the conclusions of the legal system as accomplices.

That's a smear, Opus. I've never used the word murder in regards to Michael Schiavo, and I've never said that the legal system was an accomplice to murder. You're better than making statements like that.

I want you to know Charles that I think you will bear a measure of responsibility for that murder.

That was low and despicable of you, Frank. If you think my pointing out that Michael Schiavo's issues of marriage to Terri and maintaining a family with Jodi is going to lead someone to murder, then there's nothing more to say to you.

Charles - that's my sentence construction at fault. You have not made that accusation.

No. Merely implied it in a way designed to carefully avoid saying it directly but unmistakable in meaning. SOP when he wants to smear someone but recognizes that coming right out and making the smear would get him jumped on even harder.

Charles- What part of "Mr. Schiavo petitioned the court to starve Terri to death in 1998" Didn't you understand when you wrote it?

No one begrudged Terry food. Some people thought she wouldn't want it shoved through a hole into her abdomen.

Frank, it's true that Charles in writing this has placed himself on the same side as the people sending death threats to Senator Frederica Wilson, the judges George Greer and James Whittemore, and of course, Michael Schiavo. You know; the "pro-life" crowd.

But let us be fair and assume that he meant well, even though he's on the wrong side and he's not bothered to do any real research to discover that things he is asserting are not true: given that he was unaware of so many facts about the Terri Schiavo case, it's reasonable enough to assume that he was also unaware that the side he's picked is the one sending death threats.

Might be a good time to take that oath, folks.

"Frank, it's true that Charles in writing this has placed himself on the same side as the people"

umm. Well, when Charles joined I welcomed him in part as a challenge to my own magnanimity and acceptance that disagreement need not have its source in either side's bad faith, ignorance, or base motives. And that his partisanship, tho perhaps placing him in some distant peripheral association with the odious, would force me to measure Charles by standards other than his associations.

I have a history that leads even myself to understand I could use some improvement in this regard.

Unlike Catsy... who wants to smear just blantly does it...


'SOP when he wants to smear someone but recognizes that coming right out and making the smear would get him jumped on even harder."


A question for Charles:

Will your opinion on this change if the autopsy reveals that Ms Schaivo's cerebral cortex was largely gone?

If someone tries to kill Michael Schiavo, I will not hold Charles in any way responsible for it. Likewise, if someone tries to kill Charles, I will not hold Frank responsible for it.

I am spooked by the way Terri Schiavo's tragedy has led people to make serious accusations about someone they don't know without anything like good evidence. For precisely this reason, I don't want to throw around claims about responsibility for murder either. There is too much of this stuff already without our adding to it.

Once again, this article is still a pile of shite.

Thank you, Opus, for clarifying.

What part of "Mr. Schiavo petitioned the court to starve Terri to death in 1998" Didn't you understand when you wrote it?

Excuse me, Frank, but if I thought that Michael Schiavo murdered his wife, I would have said so directly. As for you Catsy, I don't do implied. The problem is yours for trying to read what's not there.

Will your opinion on this change if the autopsy reveals that Ms Schaivo's cerebral cortex was largely gone?

I deliberately did not address Terri's condition for a reason, JKC. For me, the presumption that Michael is acting in his state-certified wife's best interest comes before any issues involving her medical condition.

Frank, it's true that Charles in writing this has placed himself on the same side as the people sending death threats to Senator Frederica Wilson, the judges George Greer and James Whittemore, and of course, Michael Schiavo. You know; the "pro-life" crowd.

No, it's not true, Jes. They may (or may not) have similar opinions as me about Michael Schiavo's moral fitness as guardian, but they're not on my side. In fact, I'm much more against those sending death threats than against Mr. Schiavo, whom I give credit to for working within the system and following the law to achieve his ends, unpleasant though those ends may be.

Charles: In fact, I'm much more against those sending death threats than against Mr. Schiavo, whom I give credit to for working within the system and following the law to achieve his ends, unpleasant though those ends may be.

I take your word for it, Charles, but after all, when you chose to put together a 1000+ word blogpost (however riddled with inaccuracies it was) you didn't choose to write about the people sending death threats to Michael Schiavo and the others involved: you chose to participate in the demonization of Michael Schiavo that has led to people sending him death threats.

For me, the presumption that Michael is acting in his state-certified wife's best interest comes before any issues involving her medical condition.

It seems kind of silly to me to think that they are easily separable, or that there is a better way to determine the first besides determining what Terri Schiavo's best interests are, and comparing Michael Schiavo's actions against that standard.

You may think that the Schindlers have only Terri's best interest in mind, but I know from personal experience how easily one can lose sight of what a loved one's best interests are. Around nine years ago, my father died of cancer. Hours before I saw him for the last time, he had sunk rather suddenly into a state of delirium. My desire for one final lucid moment with him was so strong that when the slender hope of artificial life support was offered, I was ready to take it, even though he had personally told me that he would not want it. Fortunately, my sisters and mother were there to overrule me, because I would have done a horrible thing to my father had it been up to me. I can only imagine what the situation would have been had he only told some of us, or had I had a position in the family where nobody would have dared to gainsay me.

So let's not automatically assume that Michael Schiavo is the only one with a possible conflict of interest here.

Stating that Terry Shiavo was "starved to death" is inflammatory and pejorative. It is no more accurate to say that Ms. Shiavo was "starved" than it is to say that Sun Hudson was "smothered" or Tom DeLay's father was "poisoned".

The honorable thing should have been to end the marriage with Terri, rather than stay married and shack up with Jodi. Either the marriage bonds are taken seriously or they're not.

I disagree. The honorable thing is what he did - try to do what he understood Terri wanted done. Suppose, Charles, it was the other way around and the parents wanted the feeding tube removed while Michael wanted it to remain, and that the only way he could fight for this was to remain married to Terri.

Would you be saying that he was behaving badly by having a relationship with Jodi Centonze? Or would you instead be praising him for not just getting a divorce and walking away to leave Terri to her fate at the hands of her parents?

And how, if divorce had been a possibility, is there any conflict of interest here. If he could divorce Terri and mary Jodi any time he wanted to where is the conflict?

This idea that he is somehow morally unfit makes no sense. Read Opus' April 2, 7:53 PM comment about his actions. The evidence simply does not support you.

Lots of people, clearly including you, don't like the outcome of this case. But it is worse than outrageous that they resort to groundless attacks on Michael Schiavo to argue their point.

To put it bluntly, what a pile of shite. sillycanuck

This point should be expanded upon. The post is intellectually dishonest, and reflects either sloth in trying to get it right or crass partisanship by peddling bogus talking points. Examples:

the courts consistently ruled that Mr. Schiavo had the authority--because of the marital relationship--to act on behalf of Terri

This is a blatantly false statement and an example of the right's talking point lies to distort this controversy. The decision was based on testimony of witnesses as to the wishes of T. Schiavo -- M. Schiavo's wish could not and did not compel the result. The court decisions expressly note that M. Schiavo's testimony alone regarding T. Schiavo's wishes was not sufficient.

the presumption that he would act in her very best interests does not and cannot hold

Except that there was no such presumption, and the court rulings explicitly acknowledge that he is subject to a conflict of interest and that his statements should be viewed in that light. Again, more right wing lying about the basic and indisuputable facts of this case.

In addition, there was also significant litigation on the corollary quetion of M. Shiavo's fitness to serve as guardian for T. Schiavo (even though that role had nothing to do with authorizing the withdrawal of the feeding tube, but it did affect many other aspects of T. Schiavo's day to day care). The courts and the guardian ad litems appointed by the courts for T. Schiavo all concluded on several different occasions, based on the evidence and after hearing the Schindler's endless calumny about M. Schiavo, that he was extremely dedicated to the best interests of T. Schiavo and no grounds existed for disqualifying him to act as guardian for her.

Mr. Schiavo petitioned the court to starve Terri to death in 1998, based on hearsay evidence that Terri would have wanted it that way. The age-old phrase "you cannot serve two masters" applies here, or in this case a man cannot serve two wives because one of the spouses is going to get the short end. Tragically and wrongly, , and the fatal end as well. [Emphasis added]

She died from dehydration, which is one of the most common methods for such patients to die. The doctors unifomrmly describe it as peaceful, and to insure a lack of sufffering, hospice administers drugs to prevent any sensation of suffering (which T. Schiavo had no abillity to sense anyway, but she nonetheless received this treatment). The right spins the "starve" meme to falsely portray what is happening.

The evidence was not "hearsay" -- you know not of what you speak. Again, this is the right's talking point that is false and serves to create a false sense of illegitimacy in the court process.

When the isue in a case is what someone said (for example, in a slander case as to what slander was spoken), the witnesses always testify to the out of court statement since the issue is what words were spoken. It is never hearsay, and such evidence is routinely accepted without diminishment as to its probity.

Finally, the logic of the post repeats the error that allegedly this occurred based on M. Schiavo's say-so, and T. Schiavo got the "short end." This is just made up nonsense.

The "err on the side of life" meme is more propoganda that ignores what actually happened in this case -- the courts enforced T. Schiavo's wish that she not be kept alive, which was "clear and convincing." The law already provides that the courts err on the side of life, and the decision was not the result of some opposite presumption.

Finally, it is ironic that you reference the final moments of the Pope, who was allowed to die by withholding further medical care that would have prolonged his life. The Terrry Randall's of the world would have instead rushed into his apartment, brushed aside the evil chamberlains who were allowing him to die without proper medical care, and rushed him to a hospital to plug him into machines so that his ruined body would remain "alive", since we must err on the side of life, after all.

Why is it that when rehashing insipid moralizing memes, authors such as Charles Bird fail to realize there are two common motivations for not wishing to have one's body kept alive after one's ability to be conscious and communicate has been destroyed? 1) To avoid the horror of the "locked-in" condition: able to suffer but unable to communicate. 2) To allow one's loved ones to grieve and to live again a full life with love. What a terribly cramped moral universe Charles Bird must inhabit not to grant to Terri Schiavo the generousity of spirit implied in motivation #2. Is it really the case that he would wish his loved ones never to grieve, never to love again? Can he really not grasp that, in addition to refusing continued intubation for her body, that in loving another person Michael Schiavo was precisely fulfilling Terri Schiavo's wishes?

For years I have considered Charles Bird to be among the biggest assholes in all of blogdom, and this post just makes me all the more confident that my assessment of him is accurate and just.

People: the posting rulesrequire civility, and forbid profanity. If any of you have criticisms of Charles' post, feel free to make them. Elaborately. In detail. With all the passion you can muster. Then we might all learn something. But don't just call him names.

Can we have some banning warnings or just plain bannings? Thanks.

rilkefan: I meant my last post to be an implicit banning warning. But on reflection, you're right: explicitness is in order. Sillycanuck and John Simonetti: obey the posting rules in future, or I will ban you.

We try hard to make this a site where people on both the left and right can argue fiercely but respectfully. To do that, we need to maintain civility. You can make your points by explaining what you think is wrong with what Charles said. There's no reason at all to attack him personally.

The honorable thing should have been to end the marriage with Terri, rather than stay married and shack up with Jodi. Either the marriage bonds are taken seriously or they're not.

Excuse me, but that's total bulls**t. From a moral point of view, Terry Schiavo has been dead for years, for all that her body retained the capacity to keep breathing on her own. A husband should not have to divorce his dead wife before he starts a new relationship, just because he and her parents disagree on what should happen to her body. If I am ever in a PVS, with my cerebral cortex gone, I certainly hope my wife can find someone new, without waiting as long as Michael Schiavo did. And if anyone has the nerve to call her an aldulterer because of that, or a murderer becase she respects my wishes that my body not be kept alive in that state, they had better hope there's no afterlife, because my ghost will be waiting to kick their ass when they come to the other side.

One other thing Charles, I can respect that you have a different point of view. That's the beauty of ObWi, we can come together and air our differences (somewhat) civilly. However, I'm completely non-impressed by your non-willingness to back up your arguments. Many of the posters above have corrected you on factual points and challenged you on moral perspectives, but you haven't really responded in depth to anyone except a couple of people who were pushing the line of civility. The way to have an enlightening discussion is to respond primarily to those people who are making clear and cogent points, and I don't see you doing much of that.

In case you do decide to intellectually engage with those of us who strongly, strongly disagree with your conclusions, would you please consider answering the following questions so we could see where we have common ground to build a discussion on?
1) What, if any, do you see as the moral value of maintaining the life in a body where the cerebral cortex is gone and no consciousness, memory, or thought will ever be possible?
2) Do you think that a person's wishes as to whether he/she should be kept on life support in this sort of condition should be honored? If not, why not?
3) If Michael Schiavo did indeed hear his wife express the wish not to be kept on life support under these sorts of conditions, do you feel that he had a moral obligation to act according to her wishes? If not, why not?
4) Can you understand the emotional reasons why a husband, considering his beloved wife to be functionally dead and himself morally free to move on, would nevertheless not wish to divorce his (to his mind) dead wife?
5) Can you understand the possibility that a person, if they were going to be in a PVS, would want their spouse to a) let them die and b) move on to a new relationship? (Hint - see the example of myself, above.) In such a circumstance, do you think the surviving spouse would be immoral for comforming to those wishes? (In other words, if I end up in a PVS, and my wife does exactly what I have said in the above paragraph that I want her to do, would you consder her to be acting immorally?) If so, why?

In return, for answering these questions, please feel free to post any questions about the viewpoint of myself or others that you find incomprehensible. That way, perhaps we can actually get somewhere besides posting diatribes at each other.

I would like to apologize for the opening line of my previous comment. While the sentiment is one I strongly believe in, it is not in line with the rest of my comment where I invite Charles to explicate on the moral values which lead him to his conclusion. When trying to encourage someone to engage in a dialogue, it is not good practice to start out by telling them their argument is bulls**t. My comment evolved as I was typing, and I neglected to go back and edit.

I tried and failed to come up with a reasonable comment on Charles's post, which, as the descendant of mostly honorable polygamists, I tend to find silly, and which, as a liberal, I tend to find offensive. I didn't post earlier because there was something in Charles's line of thinking that I thought important, but I couldn't put my finger on it. To take a stab at it, finally.

The reason this case should resonate is that it shows the problems that entail when one enshrines the one man one woman one will formula that is the conservative model of marriage. Who will speak best for the muted voice of Terri Shiavo, her father or her husband? Of course this is a false dilemma, as Hilzoy and Von's posts about the patient's right to refuse treatment and about the legal process to determine the patient's intentions point out, but Charles's post lands us back in the most interesting territory for conservative thinkers: what are the limitations of marriage as a determining institution? What values trump marriage as understood as coverture?

This is a conversation that conservatives should be having, even though their ways of thinking through this topic might appall liberals. My only real contribution to this conversation would be to urge conservatives to remember that even Edmund Burke thought that emotional affections were not easily dissolved, that one could, over the time, feel responsible towards many ideas and people simulteneously. I have every reason to believe that my great-great grandfather was a honorable polygamist, who looked after the welfare of all of his five wives. Maybe this sad case of Michael and Terri Schiavo can be a chance for right-thinking people to think more seriously through the idea and institution of marriage.

What I find weird about this post -- I was so struck by it that I was telling my girl friend about it and she is never interested in what I read on blogs -- is that the guy who wrote it seems to have the weirdest concept of marriage, love, responsibility and being an adult. He seems to think that the government's licensing creates some sort of special _moral_ bond. (A legal one of course.)

But this guy is acting like you can't still love an ex-lover and that that ex-lover might not feel totally comfortable giving you, as legal guardian no matter what the marital status, these ultimate rights.

The post struck me as just so stiff and out of touch with the way it really works in the world of adult love.

Charle's primary audience isn't ObiWi, it's redstate and tacitus. Both are winger sites, and wingers don't 'do' nuance, neither in politics nor relationships. Nuance and complexity are for cheese-eating surrender monkeys.

I can't imagine what it must be like to be married to one.

If a tree falls in the woods with noone around, does it make a noise?

If BD writes on a blog which noone read, would he still ruin it?

Folks, chill a bit. Please.

I apologize for my blunt assessment of Mr. Bird and his blogging abilities. In the future I will try to find a more subtle way to express myself.

Had I the skill to have done so, I would have written a comment similar to those written by David Sucher or CaseyL.

If a tree falls in the woods with noone around, does it make a noise?

If BD writes on a blog which noone read, would he still ruin it?

Caleb, please. The words "no one" always have a space. "Noone" is not just wrong, it's ugly.

PS: Also, posting rules.

Besides the sneering tone throughout, the post has the most basic flaw.

There is NO gap between what is right and what is legal, contrary to what the post argues. Autonomy is vested in each individual, not in her husband and most certainly not in her parents.

CB is factually wrong, as many have pointed out, as to the weight given by the court to MS's testimony.

CB is morally wrong to assert that the courts should err on the side of life. Courts should not err. Moreover, CB already has the presumption he's looking for, given that the court had to decide by the clear and convincing evidence standard that TS's desire was not to have the feeding tube.

For more on how social conservatives view MS, try The Right Coast and Volokh Conspiracy's support of that post. I'm so appalled that I won't provide the courtesy of a link.

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