I have heard a few commentators say that at least the Terri Schaivo debacle has taught many Americans the importance of having a living will. It ought to have taught no such thing. This is not to say that having a living will is useless or ought to be rejected out of hand. It is to say that the lessons to be drawn from the Schiavo situation lead us in the other direction. Think of what is being done to Terri Schiavo in broad daylight, under the scrutiny of a multitude of cameras, against the pleas of her parents and family, with numerous protesters outside, and with no living will anywhere. If the all-important safeguards that everyone talks about were being honored in this case, Terri would still be receiving her food and water.
So now imagine the same scenario behind closed doors, and the only thing between the patient and starvation is that piece of paper called a living will. Think about what the death-mongers are willing to do in public, and then run a thought experiment about what they would probably be willing to attempt when the public’s attention is elsewhere.