I want to clarify my posts on Terri somewhat.
Do I think it's wrong to starve her to death? Absolutely. And I have no doubt that's actually what's going on: she is being deliberately killed, and the instrument of her murder is the intentional withholding of food and water for no other purpose than to bring about her death.
It's wrong. Absolutely wrong.
Is it legal?
Yes. It's legal.
Unjust laws must be opposed; indeed we have both the right and the duty to oppose them.
Speech is the most important tool of opposition.
Civil disobedience is another well-worn tool, and Americans are rightly proud of its history in our country. That's why I admire the protesters who are deliberately getting themselves arrested for the crime of carrying cups of water across police lines; yes, even the ones who are getting their children involved (assuming the children understand what they are getting into). If it is good to bring children to any political protest at all---and I've seen them at many---it is certainly good to bring them to this one.
The most formal measure: lawsuits brought by individuals challenging the application of law in a particular case. That's what the courts are for. And that's why I don't fault the Schindler family for grasping at the wispiest of legal straws in their effort to save their daughter.
But even though unjust laws must be opposed, at the same time it's an understandable and defensible position for someone charged with carrying out the law to say "I wish I could do more, but I have to follow that law." So I can't fault Jeb Bush either here, at least not at this stage in the game. (Do I think he should order an autopsy if Terri dies? Heck yes.)
The rules of the game have already been laid down. The moral battle for Terri's life was lost when Florida included tube-delivered food and water in the list of "medical treatments" that a guardian may withdraw from a ward without prior authorization. I doubt that most of the legislators intended direct euthanasia when they wrote the law, but the law certainly wasn't written carefully enough to exclude it. Terri's might be the death that prompts legislators in Florida and other states to prevent future euthanizations-by-starvation by repealing that and similar provisions. Or not; even though I think it's obvious that a ventilator is a medical treatment and a feeding tube is basic nursing care, no more artificial than a baby's bottle, perhaps the general public will never be persuaded to see it like this. Perhaps the general public really does want to be given the choice to be euthanized, or rather, the possibility of being euthanized without being given a choice.
(I can still try to persuade them. Should a guardian be able to order that her diapers remain unchanged, so that she lies in her own menstrual blood, excrement and urine? Should he be able to order that no one turn her, so that her bedsores fester to the bone? Should he be able to order that no one clean her teeth, or brush her hair, or trim her fingernails? If not any of these things, then how, how, how can it be acceptable to order that no one feed her or give her water?)
The other part of the rules of the game, of course, is the guardianship. I'm glad that a presumptive guardian exists. I'm even glad that it's the husband, and not the parents; goodness, I hope no one, especially my "just shoot me in the head" dad, ever wrenches custody of me away from my spouse should I become disabled. But custody can be lost, of course. Even parents can quickly lose custody of their children, sometimes with little or no due process: all it takes is for a court to find it in the "best interests" of the children. A court. And that's the way the law is written. Huge power to decide custody battles rests in the hands of judges and judges alone, on a case-by-case basis.
And that's what happened here. And that's why Michael Schiavo is caring for Terri Schiavo: a judge had to believe it was in Terri's best interest, and that it continued to be in Terri's best interest. Ultimately, that it is more in her interest to be starved to death than to be fed and cared for.
What's the guardianship law in your state?
What's the living-will law in your state?
If there's a problem with either, now---when everyone has Terri on their minds---is the time to change it.