The Politics of Right to Die

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In the early hours of this morning, the case of Terri Schiavo took one of its strangest turns yet. Both Congress and the White House passed a bill which puts the fate of the brain damaged woman back in the courts and it raises the question of who holds the right to intervene.

It is an unprecedented move by national politicians to take up an issue that’s normally decided at a patient’s bedside. What began as a fight between Schiavo’s parents and her husband escalated after a Florida judge on Friday ruled that her feeding tube should be removed. That news sent lawmakers into special sessions and had President Bush rushing back to Washington.

Some on the conservative right say this is exactly why George Bush was re-elected. Critics regard it as exploitation. The politics of the intensely personal in the Terri Schiavo case.


Gail Chaddock, Congressional Correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor

George Annas, Chairman of the Health Law, Bioethics, and Human Rights Department at Boston University’s School of Public Health and author of “Rights of Patients;” Jayd Henricks, Director of Congressional Affairs for the Family Research Council