For those who have been following the political circus surrounding Terri Schaivo and her right to die, Tom DeLay, House Majority Leader, has been one of the most vocal and critical Congressional Leaders making statements calling Terri's husband, Michael, a murderer and barbarian. Like so many prominent Republicans before him, Newt Gingrich and Phil Graham are two of my favorites, DeLay talks a lot about family values and is often critical of others, but his past actions reveal what a gigantic hypocrite he is for criticizing Michael Schaivo.
In 1988, DeLay's father was involved in a serious accident and the DeLay family, including Terri's Advocate Tom, made a decision not to continue medical care for their father because as one physician described it "Charles DeLay would have been a vegetable." Like Schaivo, this decision was not based on a living will, but on previously disclosed wishes of DeLay's father to his family. The irony is that if DeLay would have felt the same way in 1988 that he did today, he would have fought for legislation to allow his father's medical case to be heard in federal court, but I guess the situation with DeLay's father is totally different.
I commend the DeLay family for making a difficult decision, and in my opinion, the right decision given the circumstances, to discontinue care for their terminally injured father. To turn around 17 years later and call another person a murderer for making the same difficult decision is inconsistent, insensitive and hypocritical.
DeLay's spokesperson feels the two situations are completely different because Schaivo would continue to survive if nutrition were provided, and DeLay's father was being supported by a respirator. In either case, the decision is not what degree of care or support is needed to sustain life, but rather the core issue, whether or not to allow a terminally injured person to persist against their wishes, is quite the same. DeLay and his spokespersons can say whatever they like, but this furthers the case for those who have claimed that DeLay is attempting to divert attention away from his impending indictment for illegal campaign fundraising and spending in Texas.