Saturday, March 26, 2005

Electrifying Thoughts From A Disabled Voice

Excerpts from a must-read for everyone....liberals, conservatives, progressives, moderates...from The Moderate Voice, in Guest Voice by guest columnist William Strothers.

Warning...this thoughtful, brief essay is electrifying!
First thing: Terri Schiavo is not terminally ill. She is severely disabled with a brain injury. She is not hooked up to any life support systems. For 15 years she has relied on a feeding tube for food and water. Her organs function normally.

So why does anyone want to kill her? "Kill" is the correct word here. Removing her feeding tube will cause her death. She will die by starvation and dehydration. That is a form of execution that is not even imposed on convicted murderers; we electrocute them, or hang them or inject them with swiftly acting chemicals. We don't draw out the act so painfully as Terri is being killed.

For those of us in the organized disability rights movement, it looks like Terri Schiavo is being put to death for the crime of being disabled.

Disability makes many people uncomfortable. How many times have you said, or heard someone say, "I would never want to live like that." Or,"I would rather be dead than be like that." People have said that to me.

I am severely disabled and use a motorized wheelchair as a result of having polio 55 years ago. Terri Schiavo may be even more severely disabled than me, but we are the same in many of the ways we have been discounted and devalued. Doctors told my parents to put me into a "home" and forget about me. He will have no life, they said, move on with your own lives. Read the rest here.

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