I hate to keep euthanizing a dead horse, but there's one last issue concerning the Terri Schiavo case that I'd like to address before I yank the feeding tube on this whole subject.
Terri Schiavo was fortunate that her loving husband suddenly remembered a conversation they had years ago, in which she said, "If I ever have a heart attack and suffer severe brain damage, I'd like to be slowly starved to death. Pass the bacon, please." But what if Michael Schiavo was out of the room when she made such a request? Who would fight for Terri Schiavo's right to die then? Who would protect her from unscrupulous doctors who wrap themselves in the Hippocratic Oath, seeking only to prolong the life of the ill and infirm?
Compassionate caregivers must always err on the side of Death with Dignity when the patient's true wishes are uncertain, and they should be able to do so with a clear conscience. Once health care is nationalized and medical resources are strictly rationed, a progressive doctor-assisted suicide program such as Oregon's will become a vital tool for keeping hospital beds open for those who truly need it. Religious extremists who are still hung up on all that "sanctity of human life" crap will be encouraged to draft a "Living Will" - a notarized document specifying their sincere desire to inconvenience doctors, loved ones, and society itself by remaining alive for another 40 years. This "Living Will" could be printed on a wallet-sized card that one would present to their doctor or dentist, explicity stating "I'm a Quaker. Due to my antiquated religious beliefs, I politely request that I not be euthanized on this visit. Yes, I know I have hallitosis that can kill a bull moose at 50 yards, but I'd like to pointlessly linger on for a few more years anyway, if you don't mind."
Once we free caregivers from the constrictive binds of guesswork and legal roadblocks, we can look forward to a bright future where the euthanization of undesirables is as natural, beautiful, and merciful as terminating unwanted pregnancies.