Dear Mr. Mitchell:
Thank you for contacting me in opposition to Congressional intervention in the case of Terri Schiavo.
I appreciate your position that Terri Schiavo’s medical situation was a private matter between she and her immediate family and that Congress should not have intervened on her behalf. Truly, this was an extraordinary and sad situation for everyone involved. However, I supported the Congressional intervention because I believe that this case raised important questions as to the legal rights of incapacitated individuals and because I believe that our country should fight to protect those who cannot protect themselves.
It troubles me that our judicial system offers more avenues of legal recourse for the most heinous and depraved criminals but does not afford those same rights of due process to the weakest and most defenseless among us. Terri Schiavo was a living, breathing human being that committed no crime. While it is true that she suffered from a severe and tragic medical condition, that in and of itself did not warrant death by starvation.
Frankly, I believe that letting Terri Schiavo die sets a terrible precedent for our country. Ms. Schiavo left behind no written declarations for how she would have liked to have been cared for in the case that she was unable to care for herself. Yet based on the testimony of her husband, and against the wishes of her parents, she was denied the legal right to live. Are we to assume then that Ms. Schiavo, and every other individual in cases similar to her, would want to die? I, for one, do not believe that to be the case. Consequently, I feel the Congressional actions taken were appropriate.
I respect your position on this issue, and I hope you will respect mine. Again, thank you for contacting me.
Member of Congress