Yesterday, federal district court judge James D. Whittemore, in denying the appeal of Terry Schiavo's parents that the state require that their daughter's food and water be resumed, said, "the plain language of the 14th Amendment contemplates that a person can be deprived of life so long as due process of law is provided."
That is certainly correct.
It is, however, a perverse society indeed that rules that every vicious murderer under the age of 18 merits constitutional protection and cannot be executed, but we must allow the killing of a disabled woman whose husband claims she was appalled by the conditions of characters in bad TV movies a couple of decades ago.
We set off down this path, of course, when it was decided that the Constitution required state governments to allow doctors to kill children in the womb.
We have been led all the way to this current Mount of Olives by the nation's courts. The truly great shame, however, is that our legislators and executives have concurred in this judicial usurpation of their powers.
They are every bit as responsible as the courts. Therefore we, who elected them, are fully responsible for the present awful situation.
Florida governor Jeb Bush has tried to work with the courts to resolve the problem, but the Florida judges continue to insist that the state's courts' previous decisions in this matter have been unerring. A governor, however, has broad powers, and state statutes allow for the removal of a person who is under the care of another who has neglected them. The deliberate denial of food and water is worse than neglect. The only people who would be angry if Gov. Bush intervened to save Terri Schiavo's life are his most implacable enemies.
If Jeb Bush does not intervene, George Bush should do so.
If neither of those men musters up the courage to save Terri Schiavo, then truly we, the citizens of this nation who elected the governors, legislators, judges, and presidents who brought us to this pass, are ultimately responsible.
On this day of all days, Terri Schiavo's plight should be an arrow to the conscience of every American.