The story of terri schiavo is both peculiar in its details and paradigmatic in its meaning. The legal twists, political turns, and central characters are so odd that one hesitates to draw any broader conclusions. But the Schiavo case is also a tragic example of the moral and legal confusions that govern how we care for those who cannot speak for themselves, especially those whose lives might seem less than fully human. And so we have a responsibility to confront what has happened and why--especially if we are to understand our moral obligation as caregivers for incapacitated persons, and our civic obligation to protect those who lack the capacity to express their will but are still human, still living, and still deserving of equal protection under the law.
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