One year after the death of Terri Schiavo, extremists continue their attempts to use the tragic circumstances of her illness and death as a political wedge to divide us. The overwhelming majority of Americans, however, have seen these efforts for what they are and have rejected the intrusion of politics into a personal family matter.
One of the great achievements of the past 30 years of ethical and legal discussions about end-of-life decision-making has been the framework established in the case of Karen Ann Quinlan. This framework protects the rights of patients who cannot speak for themselves and have not left behind written instructions by ensuring that their wishes are conveyed by their closest family members, rather than politically motivated advocates or politicians.
The Center for American Progress believes that the hospital room must be free of political intrusion. Let the sad case of Terri Schiavo stand as a memorial to that principle and a reminder of its importance for a free people.
Also see: Advocates for patients’ rights warn against restrictive post-Schiavo legislation (PDF, Merger Watch)