Am I wrong to think this way?


I hope this thread doesn’t cause arguments, but I think that it’s important to discuss this, because my husband and I have a difference of opinion on it.

When the Terri Schiavo case came up a few years ago, I remember thinking after she passed away–that I would like my kids to place their dad and me as their powers of attorney, in a living will–should something cause them to be in a similiar state, as Terri Schiavo. We are very pro life, and as we could see from that case–her ‘husband’ started shacking up with another woman, had kids with another woman, and kept going to court over and over and over to have poor Terri starved to death. Eventually, he ‘won.’

I expressed this to my kids, and because they are young, are not concerned with this…but some day, suppose their spouses turn on them like Terri’s husband did, and they are left at the mercy of some obscure judge? I just know that as their parents, we will always look out for their best interests. I know this sounds like…I am planting a seed to distrust one’s spouse, and I don’t mean to-but I just don’t want to see something bad happen to our kids, if faced with a similiar situation. My husband told me that we need to let our kids choose that choice when they cross that bridge (meaning, when they gear up to make up a living will some day) I don’t disagree…but as a mom, I’m torn with wanting to make their medical decisions, should they be in a state where they can’t make their own.

What do you think? …I just am seeking to understand, and somehow unite myself to my dh’s way of thinking on this.:o Thank you–

I don’t think the POA is the main issue. Having written instructions that adhere completely to church teaching and are explicit (for example the “loving will” available from American Life League) can make the difference.

Ambiguity can lead to indecision or wrong decisions.

I think that while your children are young, this is the time to instill in them the values that will inform all they do as adults. The correct values and beliefs will also instill in them the proper choice of spouses, the right decisions regarding advanced directives, and the right decisions in a situation should it arise.

Hi 1ke;

yes, my husband says what you post here…to just keep instilling the values of pro life, and Christian morals/teachings that we are trying to uphold and live out as a family. My husband said, that early on Terri’s husband showed signs of abuse, etc…so perhaps, leaving him would have saved her life–but we’ll never know that now. But, yes, your points are well taken…thank you.


  1. Is it acceptable to sign a “Living Will?”

Obviously, we cannot predict the future, or know in advance what form of sickness or disease we may be afflicted with in the years ahead. We do not know what treatments we will need or what will be available.
The making of a “Living Will” presupposes that we know what kind of medical treatments we will want to use or avoid in the future. It speaks about treatments before we even know the disease; it turns a future option into a present decision.
Not every medical treatment is always obligatory. But to figure out which treatments are obligatory, morally speaking, and which are only optional, one must know the medical facts of the case. These facts are then examined in the light of the moral principles involved. But to try to make that decision in advance is to act without all the necessary information. Moreover, to make that decision legally binding by means of a formal document is really putting the cart before the horse. It is not morally justified. Living Wills are both unnecessary and dangerous.
Living Wills are also unnecessary because they propose to give rights which patients and doctors already possess. People already have the right to make informed consent decisions telling their family and physicians how they want to be treated if and when they can no longer make decisions for themselves. Doctors are already free to withhold or withdraw useless procedures in terminal cases that provide no benefit to the patient. Some people fear that medical technology will be used to torture them in their final days. But it is more likely that the ‘medical heroics’ people fear are the very treatments that will make possible a more comfortable, less painful death.
Moreover, if the living will indicates one does not want “to be kept alive by medications” or “artificial means” what does that mean? An aspirin is “medication,” is it not? Drinking through a straw is “artificial.” People can construe meanings for these words which the signer of the document never intended.

  1. What are the alternatives to a “Living Will?”

A safer route is to appoint a health care proxy who can speak for you in those cases where you may not be able to speak for yourself. This should be a person who shares your moral convictions, and who will be able to apply them to specific medical situations that may arise for you in the future.
Some are worried that they will have all kinds of treatment they don’t want. But in the current climate, you are more at risk of the opposite, as more and more hospitals are refusing life-saving treatment to people who want it. Because of this, more and more people are signing documents, called the “Will to Live,” that expressly indicate their desire for life-saving treatment, should the need arise.

This link might be helpful as well:

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