Where's the Apology?

Now that Terri Schiavo's autopsy has been released and indicated severe, irreversible brain damage, some columnists and bloggers believe that Michael Schiavo has been vindicated and are asking for an apology by those who objected to withholding her food and hydration until she died. No apology is due because the autopsy doesn't have anything to do with the critical facts and, more importantly, the critical morality involved. Andrew McCarthy responds at National Review:

"So now, months later, long after it mattered, the autopsy is out and it indicates what we already knew: Terri was profoundly brain-damaged. She may or may not have been in a PVS ? to this day we don't know. Yet, the 'right-to-die' forces are waving the autopsy report triumphantly, saying: See, see, see ? she was PVS, just like we said! Well, leaving aside that the autopsy does not confirm the diagnosis, if scientific exactitude about the degree of brain injury is important now, when she's dead, why wasn?t it important then? Why was there only rebuke for those who insisted there was virtue in a society's being sure before life was snuffed out? The answer is simple: Because to the right-to-die people, the accuracy of the PVS diagnosis was never central; what mattered was giving effect to the purported 'choice.'

"Oh, and on that score, one other thing: When does the 'autopsy' on Terri's choice come out? It doesn't....

"So if an apology is called for, here's what it should be: I'm sorry that some who championed the outcome in the Schiavo case won?t just come out and say what they really think. Namely, that some lives are simply not worth living or defending. And the legal protections are just trifles."

To the extent that some people did make irresponsible charges about Michael Schiavo's actions and motives, they should apologize for thing that never should have been said in the first place. There were plenty of sound, responsible reasons to object to a husband taking his wife's life because she was handicapped and her wishes unclear. The autopsy doesn't change any of that. I paraphrase McCarthy: Where is the ethical autopsy?

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Melinda Penner

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