Terri Schiavo Remembered

March 31, 2008

March 31st marks the third anniversary of the death of Terri Schindler Schiavo. I would feel remiss in not alerting our readers to the excellent Washington Times op-ed on her case by Nat Hentoff published today. As Mr. Hentoff points out:

The reason Congress asked the federal courts to review the Schiavo case was that the 41-year-old woman about to be dehydrated and starved to death was breathing normally on her own and was not terminal.

This was not a right-to-die case, as the author notes. Rather, it was about the right to continue living.

To those of us who favored Congressional action on her behalf, we believed that this disabled woman was not receiving the level of constitutional procedural protection that even common criminals receive. In fact, Professor Carter O. Snead (Notre Dame School of Law) has written an important paper (The (Surprising) Truth about Schiavo: A Defeat for the Cause of Autonomy) describing the ways the Florida courts misinterpreted state law in reaching their decisions to end Terris life. I discussed some of this in an article published on the Weekly Standards website one year ago.