Kathryn Lopez

Haleigh is 12, victimized by her family, and wronged by the state agency that was supposed to be her safety net. In September she was brought into a hospital, brutally beaten by her stepfather. Hospital officials would determine that she had no hope and by January were in court battling for the right to end the fight for her. The court gave permission (the added tragedy: the party in court that wanted her alive was her abuser, who faced homicide charges if she wound up dead) but Haleigh wasn't ready to go. Before the hospital could do the court-sanctioned deed, she was making a comeback. She's in rehab today.

It's no wonder Haleigh was almost cut off though. Even the words we casually use give away our culture-of-death tendencies. As Bobby Schindler puts it, "The term 'vegetative state' makes me furious. People don't describe them as disabled anymore, but as vegetables." No carrot ever had the superpowers to get us arguing, caring, angry, entertained, or inspired. Reeve, Schiavo, Poutres all have -- and all after folks were ready to give up on them (and in Terri's case, did). It's springtime. Let's question the instinct that would keep our most vulnerable from a new season of life.


Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.