"HOW SHALL WE THEN LIVE?" Francis Schaeffer

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

FROM the Harvard Crimson by student Joe Ford

"Misery can only be removed from the world by painless extermination of the miserable."

Nazi writer quoted by Robert J. Lifton in The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide

The case of Terri Schiavo has been framed by the media as the battle between the right to die and pro-life groups, with the latter often referred to as right-wing Christians. Little attention has been paid to the more than twenty major disability rights organizations firmly supporting Schiavo’s right to nutrition and hydration. Terri Schindler-Schiavo, a severely disabled woman, is being starved and dehydrated to death in the name of supposed dignity. Polls show that most Americans believe that her death is a private matter and that her removal from a feeding tube a low-tech, simple and inexpensive device used to feed many sick and disabled peopleis a reasonable solution to the conflict between her husband and her parents over her right to life.

The reason for this public support of removal from ordinary sustenance, I believe, is not that most people understand or care about Terri Schiavo. Like many others with disabilities, I believe that the American public, to one degree or another, holds that disabled people are better off dead. To put it in a simpler way, many Americans are bigots. A close examination of the facts of the Schiavo case reveals not a case of difficult decisions but a basic test of this country’s decency...............

Besides being disabled, Schiavo and I have something important in common, that is, someone attempted to terminate my life by removing my endotracheal tube during resuscitation in my first hour of life. This was a quality-of-life decision: I was simply taking too long to breathe on my own, and the person who pulled the tube believed I would be severely disabled if I lived, since lack of oxygen causes cerebral palsy. (I was saved by my family doctor inserting another tube as quickly as possible.) The point of this is not that I ended up at Harvard and Schiavo did not, as some people would undoubtedly conclude. The point is that society already believes to some degree that it is acceptable to murder disabled people.

JB here! A most powerful post by Joe Ford - a student at Harvard who has cerebral palsy ( he says he wears his Harvard shirt when flying so people won't assume he's retarded - as they tend to do). Luckily for Joe, he survived a "compassionate" doctor's attempt to kill him when he was a brand, spanking new baby boy. Blessing on the family doctor who quickly hooked him back up to the machinery that kept him alive.

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