How Far Do We Go?

Much has been made of a "slippery slope", allegedly leading to mandated euthanasia, in Schiavo case. But, just like there are two sides to every coin, there are many slopes on a mountainous problem, and it's one of the other slopes that worries me.

I touched on it in this post from last month - how about mandated eternal "life" for all and sundry? What if medical technology did advance to the point where the human body could be maintained in a functioning (even if non-conscious) state "forever? Is pulling the plug murder, manslaughter or suicide? Or none of the above?

I've thought about that alot this week. My mom has a living will that specifies "no heroic efforts" are to be made to save her life. But what, exactly, is a "heroic effort"? That's all the document says: and the law doesn't exactly help. Furthermore, mom doesn't want to get more specific, fearful that she'll omit something. I know exactly what she means - no resuscitation, no feeding tubes and no ventilators. But mom's point is well taken: what if they invent a device that's not named specifically in a living will? What exactly constitutes a resuscitation device?

You could fall into a dictionary very easily from this point.

That's what this debate should really about: when does life end? I'm sorry it's degenerated into such an overly politicized, farcical "Attack of the Fetus People". There are legitimate, fundamental questions here that we need to think about as a society.

And how we answer these questions will determine our cultural survival.

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