Because right-to-die issues are ordinarily not in the IWF’s purview, we’ve posted only twice on the Terri Schiavo case (read the posts here and here). In one of the posts, I remarked that the case looked to me “like a case of court-sanctioned spousal abuse” on the part of Terri’s husband, Michael Schiavo.
So B.F. e-mails:
“For an organization such as your that has repeatedly belittled issues of domestic violence, it is perhaps not a surprise to read such a quote. But your willingness to pay homage to the right-wing cause of the day has reached new lows with that quote. I can only hope if you or a family member are ever in similar situation you will be treated more decency and respect than you showed in their truly piggish remark. This was absolutely despicable of you to print that remark.”
And here’s an e-mail from L.M.:
“I am a 38-year-old family nurse-practitioner who has worked in a trauma ICU and participated many times in removing a feeding tube from patients in Terri’s position. Her husband is to be applauded for his selfless devotion. I disagree with your statement about his conflict of interest. You do not know him and cannot make such an irresponsible anti-male declaration. Please, try in the future to comment in a thoughtful manner that considers the facts and gaps in your knowledge. Otherwise you risk making women appear to be mindless.”
For the record, I oppose domestic violence, and so does the IWF. Moreover, the case of Terri Schiavo presents a genuine domestic-violence issue, because it takes a long time to kill a a healthy (if severely brain-damaged) human being by starvation and dehydration. Terri’s feeding tube was pulled six days ago, and she’s still alive.
And it happens to be Terri’s husband, Michael, who’s been been trying to get Terri dead for more than a decade. Michael on the one hand claims “selfless devotion” to his wife, and on the other has been living for years with another woman whom he calls his fiancee and has had two children with. You can’t have it both ways: claiming you need to get on with your life with a new wife, and at same time maintaining you’re thinking of nothing but the needs of your old wife, who happens to be inconveniently alive. Furthermore, all the evidence that Terri wanted to exercise her “right to die” comes from the self-serving mouths of Michael and his relatives. That’s a Hulk-size conflict of interest in my book.
As for my being in a similar situation to Terri’s–that is, helpless but not terminally ill–I trust that my husband will treat me better than Michael Schiavo seems to be treating his wife.
As a final note on Terri Schiavo and domestic violence, here’s a link to Peggy Noonan in today’s Wall Street Journal:
“There are passionate groups of women in America who decry spousal abuse, give beaten wives shelter, insist that a woman is not a husband’s chattel. This is good work. Why are they not taking part in the fight for Terri Schiavo? Again, what explains their lack of passion on this? If Mrs. Schiavo dies, it will be because her husband, and only her husband, insists she wanted to, or would want to, or said she wanted to in a hypothetical conversation long ago. A thin reed on which to base the killing of a human being.”
As for Susan Estrich’s j-e-had against Los Angeles Times opinion editor Michael Kinsley, her e-mail campaign effectively demanding gender quotas for women opinion writers in his newspaper, that’s an issue on which we’ve posted quite a bit, largely because the debate was sparked my my own Feb. 13 opinion article for the L.A. Times itself. (If you’ve been vacationing on the planet Sedna and don’t know what this is all about, click here for The Other Charlotte’s summary of the brouhaha, into which everyone from Maureen Dowd to Deborah “Why Can’t We All Be Nice?” Tannen has thrown her two cents.)
And here are two more cents from InkWell reader R.Z.:
“Since the start of the Estrich/Kinsley/Allen kerfuffle, I have been perplexed by the following question, which has been alluded to in this site: why are women such amazing developers of information and so poorly represented as first rate national media columnists?
“As a litigator who depends heavily on female investigators and a researcher of the authorized biography of Walter Lippmann, perhaps last century’s most eminent journalist, I offer the following:
“While Lippmann did compose his columns in the solitary third floor of a magnificent house near the National Cathedral, much basic journalism — going out to watch the U.S. army on manuevers before WWII and the annual pilgrimage to the capitals of Europe — preceded the good columns. It was not, as Michael Kinsley suggested, a long lunch with someone followed by a column, but rather year after year of devoping sources.
“Women could do this as well as, or better than, Lippmann. As one of your posts put it, women are much better able to let others do the talking. I suspect that the best columnists in years ahead will be women such as Claudia Rossett who have figured this out.
“Columnists of both sexes who depend solely on electronics and their own feelings will not be remembered. Will anyone read Maureen Dowd’s columns 40 years from now, as they read Martha Gellhorn’s?”
Good points all, R.Z.
And here’s a nice e-mail from N.H. that’s not about either Terri Schiavo or Susan Estrich
“I was watching one of you representatives on the Dennis Miller show last night, and I was relieved to knwo there was an organization that involved powerful women and not feminists.
“I am a minority women born and raised in a Muslim family who lives in Democrat Central New York. However, I wholeheartedly belive in 99 percent of this administration’s beliefs and support our President 100 percent of the way. I am so sick of all the reverse social re-engineering that women are trying to do this country. I am sick of seeing men being portrayed as buffoons and women as estro-centric Terminators that can do everything. I am so glad for your organization.”
And thank you for your support and letting us know how you feel, N.H.