Skip to comments.Pro-Life Perspective: Nat Hentoff’s Reflections on Terri Schiavo, part 1
Posted on 03/30/2013 6:40:32 PM PDT by Morgana
Nat Hentoff is no stranger to the pro-life movement and his defense of life in the face of overwhelming opposition is noteworthy. For many, many years, Nat was a columnist for the New York City paper, The Village Voice a paper so liberal that the New York Times almost appears mainstream in comparison. Nestled away in its pages, however, was columnist Nat Hentoff.
Nats advocacy for life knows no boundaries. Shortly after the death of Terri Schindler Schiavo, the pro-life quarterly journal, Human Life Review, ran a series of articles analyzing the impact of Terris tragic death. Among the authors was our friend, Nat Hentoff. Well spend the next few days reviewing Nats article as we prepare to observe the 8th anniversary of Terris court-ordered death by starvation and dehydrationMarch 31, which is the day this year that we observe Easter.
In his article, Nat notes that Terris fight to live was taken up by many in the disability rights community because of the fear that, at any time, the right to life could be taken away from those with disabilities. There is also the fear that the pursuit for perfection in areas like prenatal genetic testing could make people with disabilities second class citizens and jeopardize their right to life.
Mr. Hentoff quotes Andrea Imparato, head of the American Association of People with Disabilities, who spoke before a Senate subcommittee on the inherent dangers in prenatal genetic testing, saying:
When we start devaluing the lives of people with disabilities, we dont know where thats going to stop. You need to take into account the financial implications of all of this. We have an economy that is not doing as well as it once was an one way to save money is to make it easier for people with disabilities to die.
Mr. Hentoff then goes on to write:
Having reported on the Terri Schiavo case and having read all of the transcripts of court hearings, I am certain of one dimension of this case: Terri Schiavo was fatally denied due process because all the appellate courts, state and federal, relied wholly on the rigid misunderstanding of the central facts of the case by one Florida Circuit judge, George Greer.
Mr. Hentoff also quotes Nancy Valko, a nurse who specializes in the care of the terminally ill and medically dependent. Valko writes extensively on disability rights and gives workshops on medical ethics. In one of her articles she wrote about the so-called duty to die saying:
This theory that [some lives are no longer worth living] has now evolved into [so-called] futile care policies at hospitals in Houston, Des Moines, California and many other areas. Even Catholic hospitals are becoming involved Thus the right to die becomes the duty to die, with futile care policies offering death as the only choice. A poor prognosis, which can be erroneous and is seldom precise, will become a death sentence.
Wesley Smith, author and acclaimed bioethicist, says of so-called futile care that unless people object strongly to this duty to die and unless legislatures take active steps to intervene, this new and deadly game of doctor knows best will be coming soon to a hospital near you.
When we are healthy and capable it is hard to envision a moment when we might be unable to care for ourselves or be incapacitated in some degree. Mr. Hentoff writes that, in speaking with the disabled over the years, he has often been told, Its worth keeping in mind that you are only temporarily able. You could unexpectedly, suddenly become one of us.
Tomorrow we continue discussing Nat Hentoffs reflections on Terri Schiavos impact on how we view healthcare in America; and how you can best protect yourselves and your loved ones.
Terri Schiavo ping
her parents loved her and husband did not.
the reason she was in a coma was he beat her
and assailants should not make health decisions for their victims.