"WE LOVE OUR TUBES!" (and no, not the box in your living room!)
Schiavo Case: Disability Rights Issue! Let People With Disabilities be Heard!
"WE LOVE OUR TUBES!"
Disabled Activists are Demonstrating in Florida.
March 25, 2005 -- Disability activists are returning to Florida to tell the simple truths about tubes: feeding tubes, breathing tubes, peeing tubes and other tubes we need and love. Disabled people in wheelchairs will demonstrate and explain the realities of everyday life with tubes, confronting society's obvious horror and revulsion with our dignity and disability pride.
Terri's feeding tube is the central issue. This is the reason she is being killed. Disability activists must express our ridicule for the pathetic response of the nondisabled majority to these simple pieces of latex rubber. This case hinges on the fact that Terri uses a feeding tube, which to disabled people is no big deal -- it's just another piece of adaptive equipment.
"Right now the case is settled, people are thrown back on their own beliefs, while "experts" continue to present the story as a misbegotten political intervention in a private matter," said John Kelly of Boston Not Dead Yet, "a tragic medical case in which doctors are united in their certain diagnosis that nothing is going on inside her head , and a tragic family matter in which her "husband" really does want the best for her, which is death. And people agree -- and this is absolutely crucial -- because THEY THEMSELVES would rather be dead than like Terri Schiavo.
"We have been trained, over and over again, that if we only concealed our differences, tucked that legbag tube -- for draining urine -- under the pants leg, never talked about incontinence, that we could be (at least partially) accepted," Kelly continued. "But the shame that we are meant to bear keeps us down more effectively than anything that anyone could do to us."
"It's time for the press to talk to the real experts on the Schiavo case - the disability rights movement", declared Diane Coleman, president and founder of Not Dead Yet, leading the disability community's opposition to non-voluntary euthanasia for a decade.
"That's why 26 national disability rights organizations, including groups like Not Dead Yet, independent living centers, DQIA, and others have adopted a position in support of Terri Schiavo's right to continue to receive food and water," affirmed Stephen Drake, research analyst for NDY. "People on the right are killing us slowly with cuts to the budget and Medicaid while the people on the left kill us quickly and call it 'compassion' -- either way we end up dead -- AND WE OBJECT."
Not Dead Yet is a national disability rights organization that leads the disability community's efforts to oppose legalization of assisted suicide, euthanasia and other forms of medical killing.
Oh, and I found this one at Not Dead Yet also:
Disabled Queers In Action (DQIA)
MARCH 23, 2005 4:30 a. m. -- In a 2-1 decision, the court ruled early this morning that Terri has no right to eat, thus no right to live. Although our justice system presumes innocence until proven guilty, Terri has been tried and convicted without any charges against her -- for the capital offense of being disabled. Society and the courts have deemed her "better off dead than disabled". America was built upon presumed checks and balances, yet for people with disabilities like Terri, those balances failed again and again.
Today is one of the darkest hours in disability history for three reasons:
(1) This is a civil rights issue.
Let's answer the following logic puzzles to determine various civil rights.
a. If "B" is an African American, should she be denied food and water because of her race? Yes or No. NO of course not.
b. If "I" is a woman, should she be denied food and water due to her sex? Yes or No. Absolutely NOT.
c. If "A" is an alleged criminal, should he be denied food and water because of his legal status? Yes or No. NO- that is cruel and unusual punishment-he is not yet proven guilty.
d. If "S" is a mother with 2 children, should she be denied food and water because of her being a mother? Yes or No? That is absurd.
e. If "E" is 18 years old and just coming out as gay, should he be denied food and water because of his sexual orientation? Yes or No? Even the most radical antigay person would say no.
f. If "D" is disabled, and thus can not speak, should she be denied food and water? Yes or No? According to the court's illogical rulings, the answer is YES.
Solely based on her perceived disability, she was denied the rights afforded to other classes of people. The court deems her 'non-human' and thus will not feel pain to not eat or drink. Does anyone know with 100% clarity that Terri will not feel anything or even wants to die? Oddly enough for 15 years without any life supports, she continues to live. She deserves food, water, and civil rights.
Research shows that non-disabled people and medical professional devalue the quality of life of disabled people, yet the court took only the word of non-disability experts-those who historically have devalued people like Terri. Those 'experts' the court deemed more reliable are exactly those that research demonstrates devaluing people with disabilities.
(2) There was 'reasonable doubt' on Terri's wishes and conflicting testimony from her husband.
In 1993, he won $750,000 to care for Terri by promising to bring her home and care for her. "She's my life and I wouldn't trade her for the world. I believe in my marriage vows." Yet after he received the money, he started living openly with a fiancee and has fathered two children by her.
After this malpractice award, he refused to allow even the most basic rehabilitation and then requested court authorization to starve her to death.
At the 2000 trial, Schiavo suddenly remembered that Terri would not want "to live like that."
The court-appointed guardian ad litem found that Schiavo had a conflict of interest, since he would inherit the money intended for her care. Upon Schiavo's request, the judge dismissed the guardian and never appointed another! Terri Schiavo has had no representation ever since.
Over $500,000 of the money intended for Terri's care has been spent on lawyer fees trying to have her killed. $400,000 has gone to the traveling "better dead than disabled" lawyer.
(3) She has never been judged by a jury of her peers -- which would be people with disabilities.
The courts in essence used Jim Crow methods -- non-disabled people to judge, assess, and condemn her.
Not Dead Yet's briefs with more than 26 disability groups fell upon 'deaf' judicial ears.
Today is the 6th anniversary of my mother's death. She too was declared 'in a vegetative state" like Terri. Yet for the three months in the hospital with this diagnosis, the medical staff nagged us daily to 'pull the plug'. However my mom made clear her wishes and kicked out her abusive husband without any of our family there -- the nursing staff called us to inform us how my mom cussed him out and told him to never visit again. Then she went back to "sleep". When we saw her that day, she smiled, spoke about her kicking him out, then back to "sleep". She hung on, in various ways, until she decided to die -- after everyone in our family visited her and told her she was loved, and we respect her decisions, whatever they were.
No one knows exactly what Terri is thinking or feeling, but it's clear -- she has an amazing power to hang on to life without any 'life supports'. She is not terminally ill except for the court's ruling. Why can't we give her the benefit of the doubt, and follow the logic that she should not be killed for the crime of being disabled?