The Testimony provided by members of the Schindler family included very personal statements about their desire and intention to ensure that Theresa remain alive. Throughout the course of the litigation, deposition and trial testimony by members of the Schindler family voiced the disturbing belief that they would keep Theresa alive at any and all costs. Nearly gruesome examples were given, eliciting agreement by family members that in the event Theresa should contract diabetes and subsequent gangrene in each of her limbs, they would agree to amputate each limb, and would then, were she to be diagnosed with heart disease, perform open heart surgery. There was additional, difficult testimony that appeared to establish that despite the sad and undesirable condition of Theresa, the parents still derived joy from having her alive, even if Theresa might not be at all aware of her environment given the persistent vegetative state. Within the testimony, as part of the hypotheticals presented, Schindler family members stated that even if Theresa had told them of her intention to have artificial nutrition withdrawn, they would not do it. Throughout this painful and difficult trial, the family acknowledged that Theresa was in a diagnosed persistent vegetative state.If no degree of physical or mental depersonalization, nor the express desires of the woman herself, could alter the Schindler family members’ resolve to keep the remains of Theresa Schiavo alive, then they were engaged in a transaction that had nothing to do with the person of Theresa Schiavo herself. One mindless denatured animate corpse is much like another. If the only point was that the Schindlers got to go on thinking that some animate corpse designated Theresa Schiavo was still alive, then any such corpse, or the idea of any such corpse, would do as well. The specific remains could be excused from further participation.
I don’t doubt that members of the Schindler family sincerely believe they loved her. But then, most domestic violence is committed by people who sincerely believe they love their victims. Most murderers who, in a fit of jealous or possessive rage, kill a departing spouse or SO (and sometimes their children as well), claim that they loved them. Perfectly warm, well-behaved, supportive families do the same. Who am I to say that any of them are right or wrong? I can’t see into their hearts. For all I know, what they feel is what they call love. The trick is what they do about it.