Killing Her Softly

Definition of the day: misottawy: 1. The antipathy that Canadians, especially those furthest to the east and west, feel toward their federal government. Also called “Western/Eastern/Northern alienation.” 2. (By extension) Distrust of a government, particularly a government at a great geographical distance from its subjects. [Langmaker Neologisms]

Last week, the Florida State Supreme Court struck down Terri’s Law, the Bush-backed (no, not that Bush—the other one) bill to keep a brain-damaged woman alive despite her husband’s continuing legal efforts to starve her to death.

Although Terri left no living will, I think she’s a good example of why a living will is meaningless. Terri has left the building, and this is now a fight between what her parents want (the new, brain-damaged but not quite vegetative version of Terri) and what her husband wants (his wife dead). We can assume that the new Terri is incapable of a desire to die, since suicide is a pretty high-order concept. I don’t see any reason to treat her the way the former inhabitant of her body would have liked. We don’t generally kill people because other people want them dead, whether the other people are relatives or former residents. Suicide is illegal for the competent; why allow it to the incompetent?

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