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Schiavo Case: Living Wills, Autopsy Not the Answer

"In response to the Schiavo case, many think they should draw up a living will. This, however, is both unnecessary and dangerous. We cannot make treatment decisions today for circumstances of tomorrow that we cannot predict. Whether a medical treatment is morally required depends on those circumstances and therefore cannot be determined in advance. It is always morally required, moreover, to provide food and water to a patient, because food and water, even when provided artificially, do not constitute medical treatment but rather humane care. We are not morally permitted to request starvation and dehydration.

"In regard to the autopsy of Terri Schiavo, the results -- whatever they may show -- are irrelevant to the moral judgment that she was murdered. The level of brain damage that she had can never justify what was done to her. Life does not lose its value and dignity when it is damaged."

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Tel. 888-735-3448, (718) 980-4400 • Fax 718-980-6515