News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
FRIDAY, MARCH 25, 2005


Schiavo case exemplifies reason to have living will

If we had our way in the Terri Schiavo case, we'd resolve the life-or-death struggle by having her husband agree to turn over legal guardianship to her parents.

Then everybody, including the president of the United States, Congress and the governor of Florida, could get back to their constitutional duties.

But Michael Schiavo shows no signs of giving up his fight to take life support away from the comatose woman who suffered brain damage 15 years ago when her heart stopped.

And the champions of keeping government out of private lives won't give up their unprecedented attempt to hijack the nation's judicial system to support an ideology.

Bob and Mary Schindler want their 41-year-old daughter's feeding tube re-inserted to keep her alive. Most parents who cling to a faint hope that their child might regain consciousness would do the same thing.

Thus, Terri Schiavo appears to be the victim of a spouse who claims his wife's wishes were to be allowed to die with dignity in the event she ever became terminally ill.

The family tensions become more apparent each day Terri Schiavo remains off her feeding tube. Her husband controls when the Schindlers see their daughter instead of allowing them to be with her during what are likely her final days.

The situation is sad. This is a time when the family needs the comfort of one another. Instead they battle in legal and political courts for control.

For the millions of Americans who follow this case, the real lesson is to have a living will that spells out how family and medical authorities are to support them in their final days.

There is not much anyone outside the courts can do for Terri Schiavo now, but each of us can take steps to avoid putting our families and ourselves through this pain.

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