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March 20, 2005
Democrats Block Voice Vote In House

House Democrats blocked attempts to hold an approval by acclamation of the compromise legislation that would allow the Schindlers to take the case of Terri Schiavo into federal court, forcing the bipartisan coalition of Congressment to round up at least 218 members for a session that would begin at one minute after midnight tomorrow morning:

House Republicans, seeing Congress as a last hope for brain-damaged Terri Schiavo, failed during an extraordinary Palm Sunday session to pass legislation aimed at prolonging the Florida woman's life.

Once Democrats refused to allow the measure to go ahead without objection, Republicans began scrambling to bring lawmakers, who had just started their Easter recess, back to Washington.

Majority Republicans called a recess after the four-minute session and said they planned to meet as early as one minute after midnight on Monday if they get at least 218 of the 435-member House to attend.

Will they get them there by that time? Bush had returned to Washington to sign off on the bill this evening, but he's traveling tomorrow. However, the trip is for political rallies on Social Security reform, and those could certaily be rescheduled if necessary. It will be more difficult to round up enough members for a quorum, and then to have enough votes to pass the bill.

It seems that some Democrats -- not all, as some had agreed to support this bill -- have come squarely down on the side of euthanasia. Because we need to be clear on this point: Terri wasn't dying until they pulled her feeding tube out. She spent the last five years in a hospice, not a hospital. Hospices take care of terminally-ill patients and do not provide extraordinary life support functions that hospitals do, especially in Terri's case. Terri could easily live another 20-30 years with her disability, even without therapy.

If the situation doesn't change, Terri will die of starvation and dehydration and nothing else. If someone killed their dog the same way, even if it was in pain, they'd be arrested for inhumane treatment. Something is terribly wrong with that dichotomy.

UPDATE: Andrew McCarthy writes on the issue in an NRO piece today:

If a person is brain dead meaning, in layman's terms (which are the only terms on which I understand the concept), for all intents and purposes dead but still respirating by artificial means there would seem to be little doubt that a judge is empowered to discontinue the artificial means. In such an instance, the judge (and whoever pulls the plug) is not intentionally causing death or pain. Instead, death has already occurred, and it is merely the artificially supported functions that are being terminated. But, as noted above, that is not the Terri Schiavo case. She is alive; someone has to do something affirmative and intentional to snuff out that life and cause her death. That affirmative act began Friday afternoon.

But by what right? Where does it say, under Florida law, that a judge has the power to authorize the commission of felony violations of the law? A judge manifestly had no power to tell Michael Schiavo and the hospice that they could feel free to shoot or hang or over-medicate Terri to death. Why in the world to we think he had the cognate power to permit a torture?

If a federal judge told the CIA: You should feel to starve and dehydrate Khalid Sheikh Mohammed until he tells you everything he knows about the 9/11 plot, would anyone contend that that was a lawful order? Would anyone claim that the judge had the authority to override U.S. anti-torture laws? Of course not the streets would be rife with angry protesters and the editorial pages with stinging condemnation. So why are we acting as if we must simply abide a similar order from a state judge in Florida that has no purpose other than to cause enduring pain and eventual death?

By all means, I'd love to see the same people who claim that the federal government has no right to intervene in this act explain their opposition to torture when interrogating Islamofascist terrorists (which I do oppose, just to make clear). Since all dehydration does is cause someone to fall gently asleep, might I presume we'll be adding that to the list of approved interrogation methods at Guantanamo Bay?

Hello? Hello?

UPDATE: The National Ledger weighs in on brain death, while Muzzy looks at the so-called Christian influence on the Schiavo case. It looks like many sects have abstained from comment.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 20, 2005 1:52 PM

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» Blocking Terri's life: The role-reversals are comp from The Anchoress
The democrats are blocking efforts to save Terri's life. Remember when Elian Gonzales was rescued and brought to America, where his mother wanted him to be raised? Remember how she wanted it so badly, that she died trying to make it happen? [Read More]

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» Democrats Move to Kill Terri Schiavo from Myopic Zeal
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» Err On The Side Of Life. from
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Tracked on March 21, 2005 12:33 PM

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