Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and Christian Ethicists Weigh in on Schiavo Case

March 23, 2005

Source: Chicago Tribune

On March 23, 2005 the Chicago Tribune reported, "as the quest to sustain the life of a brain-damaged Florida woman commands the attention of the American public, people of all faiths are pondering if ancient tenets can resolve the moral quandaries posed by modern medicine. Withchemotherapy, respirators, feeding tubes and other artificial means possibly adding years to a human life, believers across the spectrum are challenged by the questions raised in the Terri Schiavo case. But for Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Christian bioethicists, the debate hinges on criteria different from the legal technicalities and Roman Catholic theology argued in her situation. Jewish scholars generally disregard brain activity as a legitimate sign of life. Christian ethicists point to the biblical principle that humans are made in God's image. Some Hindus make a distinction between death by fasting and death by suicide. In Islamic law, it is cruel to interrupt the process of dying once it has begun... Doctors say, short of a miracle, there is little chance that Schiavo, 41, will emerge from the persistent vegetative state in which she has been trapped for the last 15 years. Unable to eat or drink, her sustenance has flowed from a feeding tube. Last week, after a a judge's ruling, the tube was removed."