Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma, Tonga

Friday, March 18, 2005

Legislative powers are vested in the House and the Cynics

I have written before about Terry Schiavo, and have watched in horror as her tragedy has become weapon against individual liberty and autonomy. Lindsay Beyerstein of Majikthise posted a clear expostion of the lies promoted by her parents and their supporting "right to life" advocates. In this morning's Washington Post news, I found this unbelievable story:

Senate Republicans Invite Schiavo to Testify
Lawmakers's Moves Aimed at Keeping Brain-Damaged Fla. Woman Alive

By Jesse J. Holland
Associated Press
Friday, March 18, 2005; 10:41 AM

Senate Republicans embroiled in the life-or-death legal battle over the severely brain-damaged Terri Schiavo invited the Florida woman to testify to Congress in a procedural move intended to keep her on life support.

The New York Times [free access, but registration required] front page story, "Congress Moves to Halt Feeding Tube Removal in Florida," offers more details.

Unbelievable. Of course, the Senate Republicans know that Terry Schiavo cannot actually testify to Congress because she is, to use the vernacular, brain-dead. Their concern for Terry Schiavo is compassion-free,and cynically manipulative. House Majority Leader Bill Frist and the Senate issued a statement that Federal law protects witnesses called before Congress "from anyone who may obstruct or impede a witness's attendance or testimony."In other words,the subpoena process creates another legal obstacle to Michael Schiavo in his attempt to permit his wife to die. If Florida Circuit Court Judge George Greer's order, which grants to Michael Schiavo permission to remove Terry's feeding tube, is put into effect, Michael will be subject to federal prosecution.

Dr. Frist, one of the smoothest deceivers I have ever seen anywhere, completely distorted the issue from that which recognizes the right of an individual in a persistent vegetative state, a person without cognitive abilities, to die peacefully, without excessive governmental intrusion-- to something much broader.

Frist explained that he was trying to help Terry Schiavo's parents set a hearing on 29 March 2005.
"The Senate and House remain dedicated to saving Terry Schiavo's life," Mr. Frist said in the statement. He said they were requesting the Schiavos' presence at a hearing on March 28. "The purpose of the hearing is to review health care policies and practices relevant to the care of nonambulatory persons such as Mrs. Schiavo."

"Nonambulatory" persons is too broad a category to address Terry Schiavo's condition, and a designation particularly designed to arouse anxiety among the disability community. Many persons with disabilities advocate against procreative liberty and assisted suicide/right to die/end of life legislation because they fear a totalitarian society that would permit eugenic selection and euthanasia against persons with disabilities.

How nastily ironic that persons with disabilities, whose government has shown increasing callousness to specific "health care policies and practices" that would enhance their autonomy and longevity, are being used to suction away the rights of a disabled person. The Bush administration, and Republican party, want to retract the rights of persons with disabilities (as evidenced by the pressure the Republicans have applied against implementing and expanding protections under legislation such as the Americans with Disabiities Act).

How stunning that the language of liberty can be twisted so easily toward totalitarian ends to deny individual autonomy.

UPDATE: Majikthise is on top of this, as I suspected, and directs us to Norwood at BlogWood, who has more on this and links to additional information and commentary.