Lawyers deal with this, on the legal level, every day. Legislators (when they are passing laws, not making asses of themselves) deal with it, too. But the meta-legal questions have to be asked and answered at some point, for the law to be consistent and just. That's the issue I don't want to see lost in the "let her die/keep her alive" tennis match this matter has become.
The sad truth is, Terry Schiavo is dead and gone, whether you hold to a spiritual, or a materialist, point of view. In one opinion, the Second District court of Florida found:
Although the physicians are not in complete agreement concerning the extent of Mrs. Schiavo's brain damage, they all agree that the brain scans show extensive permanent damage to her brain. The only debate between the doctors is whether she has a small amount of isolated living tissue in her cerebral cortex or whether she has no living tissue in her cerebral cortex.It is time to let her rest in peace. After a proper period of mourning, it is time for the rest of us to do all we can to prevent a circus like this from happening again. And the root of that, is in our ideas about life, and being human, and simply being.
But that comes later. Not so much later, though, that we forget how important the issue is.