Thursday, March 17, 2005
From: Gary Bauer
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
A Florida judge has set 1:00 pm tomorrow as a “date and time certain” for the “execution” of Terri Schiavo. I won’t go into the details of this tragic case again, but I have a few observations. If you go to the website of a leading human rights group and search for “Abu Ghraib,” you’ll get about 200 documents. If you type in “Terri Schiavo,” nothing. How is it that the folks in an uproar about Abu Ghraib could be silent on the execution of a disabled woman accused of no crime? Why is it that convicted murderers, like Scott Peterson, get to die quickly and relatively pain-free by lethal injection, while Terri Schiavo is sentenced to die slowly and painfully by starvation and dehydration? Why does our culture seem more concerned about the rights of murderers and terrorists than this disabled woman?
Fortunately, the hypocrisy of these contradictions has not gone unnoticed. Congress is currently debating legislation that would provide incapacitated individuals with the same legal protections afforded convicted murderers, namely access to the federal courts for a fair and thorough hearing. If, as the Supreme Court has ruled, it is cruel and unusual punishment to execute convicted 17 year-old murderers, then surely the Constitution must prohibit the execution of an innocent woman by starvation and dehydration.
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