Like all interesting debates, the trade-offs between right to life and right to die cases are typically met in the apex of controversy. Terri Schiavo, having lived in a vegetative state for 15 years, now finds her life extended through extraordinary effort by the U.S. Congress, pending a federal investigation by the Judiciary.
Some activists purport that Mrs. Schiavo deserves to die in dignity (a proposition I do not contest), while others argue that she has a right to life no matter what its state (another proposition I do not contest). What's at the heart of this debate is the greater political struggle of euthanasia and whether or not life is worthy preserving; even when that life is not confined to our narrowly determined presuppositions. In the case of Terri Schiavo, no credible scholar or medical expert affords her life any meaning. Yet to her parents, siblings, and those at her hospice, that lump of mass that is her body represents the epitome of their life's struggle. In the view of some of her physicians, Terri not only has worth but is also making progress in speech therapy.
What is the value of a life? My opinion on the matter is that life is precious in all forms. I would not wish an end other than that prescribed by the Divine on an single individual. In our age of relativism, life should still be preserved because it is a gift--not a burden. The source of the gift can be debated, but one thing is certain--life ends and that makes it all the more special. The fact of life's cessation is found within the context of this struggle. For example, if Terri Schiavo is brain dead and departed life long ago, then her soul and eternity is already secured and established. On the other hand, if this is not the case, and Mrs. Schiavo is still alive, then it makes absolute sense to preserve her right to life. In such a grave matter as the question of life and death--a question we can not answer by way of reason and science alone; and even considering the ambiguity of Mrs. Schiavo's wishes, why not air on the side of life? It makes sense to approach the issue with caution. This was the Democrats critique of Iraq. "We should have been more careful before rushing to conclusions about WMD." Well, why not air on the side of caution in this case? The only answer is that it's not politically expedient to their fluctuating morality.
Those Democrats in Congress who would rather Terri Schiavo die, have no true justification for their blood-thirst. That is why their efforts failed. Terri's bill unanimously passed the Senate and overwhelmingly passed the House and the Dems still don't get it. Americans appreciate life. We appreciate and admire the tenacity Mrs. Schiavo has shown in her survival. In contrast, they see a worthless vegetable and would rather see her killed by a bitter husband and his legal team. In the end, Congressional Democrats fail to understand that you can not affirm the right of a husband to kill his wife and expect to curry public support.
I would submit that should keep in mind the following: the murder of an individual isn't a mistake we can easily correct or relativize.