Saturday, December 23, 2006

UN Gets It Right

Long time readers will know that I'm not a huge fan of the UN, aside from some of their research. But every so often, the UN gets it right:

The newly approved United Nations "Convention on the Rights of Persons with
Disabilities"* which was adopted by the General Assembly Wednesday forbids nations which sign on to it from denying "food and fluids" to disabled persons.

Article 25 of the Convention, which deals with health, directs (in sub-section f) nations to "Prevent discriminatory denial of health care or health services or food and fluids on the basis of disability."

Commenting on the development, Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition told that "To cause death by dehydration by denying food and fluids to a person based on their disability or cognitive ability, such as Terri Schiavo, is to kill them by euthanasia."

In March 2005 Schivo died of dehydration and starvation after being intentionally denied food and fluids for 13 days. Autopsy results revealed she could have lived at least another ten years if she had continued to receive food and fluids. Schadenberg said the section was "the most important" of the Convention "because if it is recognized it will act by protecting people with disabilities, who are not otherwise dying, from being killed by dehydration....To kill a person by dehydration is the ultimate affront to the equality and dignity of the human person who is so devalued that they are even denied the most basic necessity, food and fluid....These deaths are often motivated by eugenic and economic considerations and they are sold to the
general public based on a philosophy of end-of-life choice."**

Schiavo was not all that near death, as I understand it. It shouldn't have taken thirteen days for her to die if she were. She was murdered in a very cruel manner. Even prisoners on death row are executed more humanely. Pets are euthanized more humanely than Schiavo was. And all the while hunger and thirst racked her body, her killers said how peaceful she looked and surrounded her with teddy bears as though that would make it all better. Better for whom?

While everyone dies and all heroic measures may not always be in order, food and especially water are so basic that to deny them to the suffering puts one on par with the very civilized monsters of Nazi Germany death camps.

Yes. The UN did something right.

*See the full UN Convention report online.

**From on December 15, 2006: "New UN Convention Forbids Withdrawal of Food or Fluids from Disabled like Terri Schiavo" by John Henry


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At 1/16/2007 12:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm trying to track down some info on Senate Bill 1 Section 220 since our family got an alert about it. I'm not sure I understand the fuss. From looking at the bill -- and it's not like I'm a lawyer -- it looks like any organization that disburses information to more than 500 people and spends more than $25,000/quarter on this activity must register as a lobbyist and file a statement of how much they actually spent. IWhat am I missing?

At 1/16/2007 10:52 PM, Blogger Anna Venger said...

I'm not sure this is where you meant to leave this comment?

I'm not a lawyer either and don't wish to misrepresent myself. As I understand it, the level of reporting that would be demanded of these groups would be such that it would tie them up in red tape and force them to hire 8 or more people to keep up with all the reporting, etc, in order not to be closed down. Some of the groups that were very concerned already operate on a shoestring budget and don't have many wealthy sponsors, just mostly regular folks. The big groups already employ lobbists and won't be affected much. Since I had seen reports from several different groups--one whose site I had never been to before because it's just so different from my usual reads-- I take it on good faith that there is indeed something they rightfully feel threatened by, hence the post, to help out little voices with shallow but sincere pockets.


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