A regrettable limit on life
Moral descent. Pushing the culture toward outcomes previously considered immoral is routine in bioethics. The Rev. Richard Neuhaus, editor-in-chief of the nation's best religious journal (First Things), wrote, "Thousands of ethicists and bioethicists, as they are called, professionally guide the unthinkable on its passage through the debatable on its way to becoming the justifiable, until it is finally established as the unexceptional."
The Schiavo case is a breakthrough for persuading the public to lower the bar on moral constraints. Once we had a bright line between pulling the plug on patients kept alive by life-support systems and killing people like Terri Schiavo who are not on life support but merely being fed through a tube. Requiring clear evidence of consent is no longer required. In the Schiavo case, we have vaguely remembered consent from a party with a vested interest (the husband) some eight years after the patient was stricken. And though the medical and media people seem to agree that Schiavo is in a persistent vegetative state, there is some doubt that this is so. She has never been given a PET scan, one of the most sophisticated tests used to diagnose PVS, apparently because her husband refused to allow it. The killing of Schiavo is a scandal successfully redefined as unexceptional and therefore moral.