I am an incurably ill American male forced to leave America to afford the medical care I needed. I live in Mexico. I now live in a country where “pulling the plug” for whatever reason is illegal!
I am not terminally ill. I have a lifelong disability that will never get better. I am much like Terri Schiavo, the woman who the State of Florida killed because she had a lifelong, incurable disability. Notice, like me, Terri Schiavo was not terminally ill but handicapped. There is a difference!
Every handicapped person in America has to ask, “Am I next?”
Am I the next disabled person about whom, at some point in the future, someone will make a claim that I said something about the issue of life-and-death and a judge will believe it without the benefit of due process? Will someone come along without a preponderance of evidence (And should not there be a preponderance of evidence and not the word of one individual?) and have some judge some court somewhere order my death by starvation–Or by whatever means that is convenient to the court?
I wonder what the criteria will be. Will the courts be the ones who now determine whether you serve some usefulness to society? Who will define usefulness?
Moreover, I wonder why someone was not asking these questions:
· Did Terri Schiavo tell anyone other than the man who stands to make a bundle of money from a malpractice suit that she did not want to be kept alive via a stomach tube? (He claims he has already spent the money on her care. I want to see that proof!)
· Why is the court taking only her adulterous husband’s word on this issue of life-and-death? Is that a preponderance of evidence?
· Can’t the court see that this man has some nefarious motives?
· Have the allegations of spousal abuse been investigated fully?
· Why didn’t her husband allow Terri, ever, to have physical therapy that might have improved her state?
· Is any one aware that others, in so-called vegetative states, have awakened years later?
· Can science dictate morality? Though science sometimes can tell us why something is, can it tell us what is right and what is wrong?
Something smelled fishy in this entire thing-and it still does.
What is next? Will disabled Americans whose families tire of them be able to find a judge who will order their deaths too? On the other hand, perhaps we will be told too much money has been spent on us in disability pension payments and now it is time to check out of living.
You have used up your quota! Now it is time to die.
I do not offer this as an exaggeration but an honest question. Just what is next? Every disabled person should be asking this question.
I wonder if the judge who ordered Terri Schiavo’s death forgot, or ever knew, the words of Hubert H. Humphrey:
“It was once said that the moral test of Government is how that Government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”
My God, in heaven, what has America become?
Thank God, in heaven, I live in Mexico!
Doug Bower is a freelance writer and book author. His most recent writing credits include The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Houston Chronicle, and The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Transitions Abroad. He lives with his wife in Guanajuato, Mexico.
His new book Mexican Living: Blogging it from a Third World Country can be seen at http://www.lulu.com/content/126241