The Schiavo case should not be viewed in isolation. It is part of a flow that began in modern times with abortion-on-demand and will continue, if not stopped, with euthanasia. Once a single category of life is devalued, all other categories quickly become vulnerable.
Girls who became pregnant by a drunken father and sought abortions were the symbolic beginning of a process that has resulted in abortion for any reason at any stage. Now we are targeting the infirm, and soon the elderly will be in our sights because of the pressure on Social Security and Medicare. The "reasoning" will be: rather than raise taxes, reduce benefits or raise the retirement age, let's eliminate those who are the biggest "drain" on retirement resources - that is, the elderly and infirm.
Having been conditioned to accept killing, even killing by the state according to an arbitrary standard of who is "fit" to live and who is not, it will be a short step to killing Grandma and Grandpa in their "assisted living" centers, which quickly will be transformed into centers for assisted dying.
Someone will produce a document or hearsay testimony that the elderly person would have "wanted to die" in such circumstances and never intended to be a "burden" to their children. The lawyer will be called, the will read and the inheritance distributed. It will be larger than what would have remained had it been spent on the recently departed.
These are the stakes, and how the Schiavo case is decided will determine what many of us will face in the future.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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