Wednesday, February 23, 2005


Pain Filled Judicial Murder -The Loss of Personhood and The Lie of Death with Dignity for Those Unable to Protect Themselves

Terrence Jeffery notes:

Under the 14th Amendment, the Constitution requires the census to count "the whole number of persons in each State." Accordingly, the 2000 Census counted 88,828 "persons" living in nursing homes in Florida, 3,538 living in "hospitals/wards and hospices for the chronically ill" and 4,233 living in psychiatric hospitals or wards. Nationwide, it counted 1,720,500 persons living in nursing homes.

There was no degree of disability, incapacitation or illness that disqualified someone from being counted as a "person" under the Census Bureau's 14th Amendment mandate to count "the whole number of persons."

Under the 14th Amendment, Terri Schiavo and other disabled people are indisputably "persons."

Even judges who wrongly deny that unborn babies are persons cannot deny that the 41-year-old Shiavo is a person. Every member of the U.S. House of Representatives is elected from a district drawn a certain way because all disabled persons such as Schiavo were counted just like any other person under the plain meaning of 14th Amendment.

Yet as Wesley Smith notes:

Unfortunately, the academic philosophers who now dominate bioethics shifted the predominant ideology of the field sharply away from the Ramsey approach and toward the “quality of life” ethic. This measures the moral value of human lives subjectively based on levels of cognitive capacity. Thus, most bioethicists today distinguish between “persons” and so-called human “non-persons,” people denigrated on the basis of their low level of cognitive functioning.

These invidious distinctions matter very much in the medical setting. Being categorized as a non-person is dangerous to life and limb, since most bioethicists assert that only persons are entitled to human rights. In the full expression of personhood theory, non-persons are killable, subject to the harvesting of their body parts, and candidates for non-therapeutic medical experiments.

Jefferies makes an important point:

This presents what ought be an insurmountable constitutional obstacle for those who want state governments -- either through their courts or legislatures -- to legalize the killing of innocent persons like Schiavo, no matter by what means the intended killing is affected. The same 14th Amendment that considers Terri a "person" when it comes to taking a census and apportioning Congress also says, "No State shall ... deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

But when we allow someone who says they remember five years after the fact that the person mentioned once in passing they didn't want to be put on a ventillator and how that is grounds enought to kill them in a most painful manner, where is due process? Where is protection of their right to life and liberty?

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?