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The public understanding of Terri Schiavo's death was refracted through the polarized politics of the abortion wars. By the time the Florida legislature intervened in her case in 2004 and the United States Congress followed suit in 2005, the debate surrounding her had become hardened into the familiar antagonisms of our times-religion vs. secularism, pro-life vs. prochoice, liberals vs. conservatives. On the left, the claim was that Terri had chosen to end her life rather than endure the endless limbo of her persistent vegetative state but that outsiders were attempting to force their own conception of a "life worth living" on her; on the right, the claim was that Terri's medical condition was uncertain, that she might benefit from some further therapy, and that her "right to life" was being scorned by those pressing for removal of her feeding tube.
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