Michael Schiavo: Giving Euthanasia a Face in the 2006 Elections

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 31, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Michael Schiavo: Giving Euthanasia a Face in the 2006 Elections

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by Nat Henthoff
August 31, 2006

LifeNews.com Note: Nat Henthoff is a longtime columnist and political observer. This column originally appeared in the Jewish World Review.

Among the celebrities journeying to Connecticut to support Ned Lamont’s campaign to unseat Sen. Joseph Lieberman (now running as an independent, having lost the Democratic primary to Lamont) is Michael Schiavo, known around the world as the husband who finally succeeded in having the feeding tube removed from his late wife, Terri Schiavo.

Schiavo pointedly reminded Connecticut voters that Sen. Lieberman has supported the president and Congressional Republicans in passing emergency legislation involving federal courts in an attempt to save Terri Schiavo’s life while he, Michael Schiavo, was respecting her wishes — which she could no longer communicate — to die.

Connecticut voters were not informed that Democrats as well as Republicans were in favor of intervention by federal courts — including Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, who is deeply knowledgeable about disability rights.

Nor, of course, did Schiavo, while on the hustings, mention that when the feeding tube was removed, Terri Schiavo was not terminal, was breathing naturally on her own — and, according to several of the neurologists who had examined her (others disagreed), was not in a persistent vegetative state. And not only her parents and siblings witnessed that though she could not speak, Terri was responsive.

I covered the Terri Schiavo case for more than four years, going against nearly all of the other media in emphasizing and documenting that this was not a "right to die" case, but a disability-rights case. And that’s why many leading disability-rights organizations filed legal briefs — unreported by most of the press — on her behalf.

Terri Schiavo was indeed brain-damaged, but her husband had stopped all testing and rehabilitation for her in 1993 (Terri died in March 2005). For years, Michael Schiavo — while "devoted" to his wife’s wishes — was living with another woman, with whom he had two children. (He has since married her.)

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