Does a person who has suffered brain damage and can no longer feed themselves deserve to live, or should they be starved to death?
This question is in the minds of every person who keeps up with the news in the USA. Some people think that when all the faculties of body movements close down there is no point in living. They may have a point if all there is to living is moving around and conversing with other people.
But what if a healthy person wants to lie in bed all the time and just contemplate their navel. If they are wealthy, they can have servants who feed them whilst they think about nothing. Now I know not many people would want to spend their life doing absolutely nothing, but it is a choice open to all.
When a person becomes non compos mentis they have to rely on their nearest and dearest to keep them alive. What most people do not realize is, that in some cases, people with minimal brain function can live more meaningful life than then many people who’s brain function normally, but are living with mental torment and misery.
Does Terri’s Schiavo’s life have meaning? Even now in her helpless state, she is making her parents’ existence more meaningful — they now have a purpose for living — to fight for the right to live for their daughter and many others like her. Who knows? She may enjoy a spiritual blessing unimaginable to “normal people.”
Just because brain damaged people cannot function as “normal” people do, does not give anybody the right to starve them to death. If that is done knowingly, then all involved could be deemed to be committing murder. If a person’s actions brings about the death of another, then the law should protect the innocent victim from other peoples ignorance of what life means.
An active living mind, no matter how incapacitated the body, can still enjoy the bliss of living life on earth. Any person who has sat in pure silence for long periods of time will verify the bliss of non-movement in divine emptiness, free of all worry and anxiety.
If we accept the demands to starve a person to death because they seem vegetated, then many monks who go months in silent solitude, could be in danger of becoming skeletons, if food is withheld from them by people who think they are not serving a useful purpose.
Terri Schiavo on Wikipedia – Extensive details.
Supreme Court rejects Schiavo parents’ appeal (March 24, 2005), CNN.com
Top US court spurns Schiavo plea (March 24, 2005), BBC.com
Timeline: Terri Schiavo case, BBC.com