March 18, 2005

Terri Schiavo- A Political Pawn

I have been following the Terri Schiavo case off and on. You may recall that she is the woman who has been kept on life support for about 15 years now. She is in what they term a "persistent vegetative state" and there is much controversy surrounding her ability or inability to communicate with the world around her.

The primary participants in this battle have been between her husband and her parents who are engaged in an ongoing battle to determine whether she should be allowed to die or kept alive indefinitely on life support. Part of the problem is that the courts do not have a will that they can use to assess what her wishes would have been.

Among the many tragic and sad aspects about this is that this has turned into a national debate in which she is nothing more than a pawn that is being used by some for political gain.

Today I read some very disturbing news about an attempt to cirumcvent the law.

"It is a contempt of Congress to prevent or discourage someone from following the subpoena that's been issued," David Gibbs, the attorney for her parents, said. "What the U.S. Congress is saying is, `We want to see Terri Schiavo.'"

"The family is prayerfully excited about their daughter going before the United States Congress for the whole world to see how alive she is."

He said that despite her brain damage, she would be able to travel. A statement from the office of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., on Friday said the purpose of the hearing was to review health care policies and practices relevant to the care of non-ambulatory people.

Frist's statement noted that it is a federal crime to harm or obstruct a person called to testify before Congress."

This is an issue for the courts to decide, not for congresspeople. And they are clearly abusing the law here.

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