the challenge for bioethicists is to first accept that a challenge exists and then to identify the specific, relevant issues they might wish to engage. A variation on "Would you want to live that way" is usually offered when the fact is made clear that Terri isn't dying, that this isn't a "right to die issue but a "right to life" issue: "That's not living." Well, by every medical measure. Bioethicists who assume the facts are clear and the frame for their application self-evident dismiss the concerns of those who coherently argue from a different ethical framework. There is little moral difference between withholding or withdrawing medical treatment. But the case of Terri Schiavo has raised ethical issues that could have repercussions beyond the fate of one woman. Create your free account, create Your Free Account, why? Reportage in major newspapers has been exhaustive but generally even handed, attempting to present the arguments of all in a case where language and definitions change from speaker to speaker.
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The chances of a successful surgery might be 50/50. But the autonomy principle doesn't get you the "right to die." At most, it justifies voluntarily refusing treatment when there is no obligation to provide. Confederate currency after the Civil War had no value at all because it couldnt get anything else. Would you want to live the life of an infant with cerebral palsy? That's a very core value because even things as basic as the right to not be sexually assaulted or raped come from this notion of freedom, from bodily intrusion. 16 February 2003: 505, 749.
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