Thursday, February 19, 2009

A New Kind of Asshat

Samson Effect dropping in with my first post here on Not Fit to Print. Since I've been tabbed by AN as a contributor, it's probably high time I started contributing.

Anyways, I like to think of myself as a tolerant person. I've few qualms with respect to personal faith, or political ideology, and if people are sensible and reasonable, I often afford the same. That being said, there are some issues or events that get to me, and fewer still that provoke a visceral reaction. A news item coming from Italy a couple weeks back was one such thing that made me feel a touch queasy, and so without further ado, your Asshat of the Day:

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

So how did Mr. Berlusconi earn this title? The summary version of it is that Italy is going through its very own Terry Schiavo case, and may be facing a constitutional crisis as a result thanks to Berlusconi. A 38-year-old Italian woman was the victim of a car accident in 1992, and suffered brain damage to the point of putting her in a persistent vegetative state, which she has been in since. After a decade-long legal battle, doctors had begun reducing nutrition to prepare removal of feeding tubes, after seventeen years in a coma, which according to the father, would be in accordance with the woman's wishes, and according to my opinions, is the right thing to do after 17 years and no change in condition.

Berlusconi, however, does not seem inclined to agree with me, and that is certainly his right. However, he issued an emergency decree that effectively reverses the court ruling, which states that food and water cannot be suspended for patients depending on them. So, what was Mr. Berlusconi's justifications for blocking the feeding tube removal, after consulting with the Vatican head of state?

Physically, she was “in the condition to have babies.”

I am not making this up. I wish I was. This justification to me is even more abhorrent than any of the ones used by the Schindlers in the Schiavo case, and I thought there was some offensive ones in there, from claiming it would violate her wishes as a Roman Catholic (which, I suppose, is fair), to challenging the PVS diagnosis (which, while also fair, I think is pretty silly after seeing the CT scan from 2002), to claiming abuse on the part of the husband (which is unfounded and completely off-side). Relevant document here; see page 3 for the abuse allegation.

This justification for barring euthanasia is worse than all of those because it, to me, reduces a woman to the functionality of her uterus, based on a religious doctrine that is not necessarily hers, which makes it a double-slap to me; not only have you apparently based the worth of a woman on her uterus, you've now imposed your religion on her, and everyone who simply want to see her rest in peace after 17 years of PVS. I think it's about time to let go; why Berlusconi's thinking about babies in this case is utterly beyond me, and if after 17 years and massive brain trauma, there's been no improvement in condition, it's very unlikely that there ever will be, and as of 9 February, she has passed away. May she rest in peace.

And so, ladies and gentlemen, Silvio Berlusconi. Your Asshat of the Day, and what an asshat it is.

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