(James already posted on this topic. My comment to his post has grown into a post in itself.)
It’s unfortunate that this issue has become politicized, as there seems to be no political or legal solution to the dilemma. It comes down to the opinions of a few judges in resolving an improbable dispute between family members. The judges might have decided differently, the interests of the contending family members might (in a different family) be reversed, etc. And it’s easy to foresee future problems as a result of Congressional involvement.
The dilemma is irresolvable as Ms. Schiavo’s wishes cannot be known. It would have been better if she had made a living will when she could, but since she didn’t, someone else gets to decide whether to believe her husband or her parents. I’m inclined to believe the parents — that is, I’m inclined to think that she should be allowed to live, absent proof that she wants to die.
The thing that I don’t understand is why this is being called a “right to die” case. That’s not what it is. Ms. Schiavo is helpless but very much alive. There is controversy about her thinking ability, but it’s not as though she were being kept alive via heroic measures. (This fact appears to be a problem for her husband.)
The question, rather, is whether she should be killed by starvation because or her debilitated condition, and without our knowing what she would have wanted. If she awakened one day and announced that she wished to die, and if she persisted with that wish over a reasonable period, then I would accept that she should be accommodated (though by a method more gentle than starvation, which strikes me as terribly cruel). I might also accept her premature death if she had made a living will that declared her wish to die if she became incapacitated — though I would be hesitant due to the possibility that she had changed her mind in the meantime. But to kill her without a strong indication of her wishes, and over her parents’ and siblings’ vehement objections, strikes me as presumptuous and reckless. I don’t think anyone has moral standing to do it.