Guest Author - Karen Ledbetter
I have watched with interest the case of Terri Shiavo, and have been puzzled
by the intervention of our lawmakers into making sure that Ms. Shiavo's
rights are not violated. My bewilderment is not so much that the lawmakers
are involved enough with extraordinary measures to ensure that Ms. Shiavo's
rights are attended to but the fact that the rights of an equally
defenseless citizen of Florida was not afforded the same or similar
In the tragic case of our son, Evan Scott, a nearly 4 year old Florida
child was recently ripped from his bonded family and shuttled thousands of
miles away, exiling him from all he had ever known, including the state that
was morally and legally responsible for protecting his rights as a Florida
citizen, without once insuring that his rights were protected.
The parallels in our son Evanšs case and the Shiavo case are worthy of
comparison. True the Shiavo case is a right to die (or live, depending on
which side your allegiance falls) and our son Evanšs case is a right to
happiness and security and liberty from abuse, but that is the only
difference. Both cases involve the rights of Guardians to make decisions of
their ward's behalf. The other parallels are just as similar:
Both cases involve the guardianship of an innocent person incapable of making
decisions for themselves.
Both cases have been litigated for years in the Florida court system while a
human being's life and future hang in the balance.
Both cases involve the interests of a legal guardian versus biological
Both cases speak to the right of a ward to ensure that the ward's
Constitutional rights are addressed and protected.
Parties in both cases asked for review and intervention by the governor to
prevent abuse and harm to an incapacitated person.
Terri Shiavo was afforded extraordinary measures and intervention to the
point of the President of the United States waking in the middle of the
night to sign a congressional bill to override the legal guardian's wishes
and rights in a private family matter that had already been determined in a
court of law.
In contrast, our governor chose to deny intervention and even a simple
review of the Evan Scott case petitioned for by the Guardians of Evan Scott
and through thousands of letters that poured into the governors office,
stating that he "can not intervene in a private family matter that has
already been determined in a court of law"
Has the inequity of the governor's and congress' actions and statements
regarding these two equally important Florida citizens been lost on anyone
How is the life of an innocent child any less valuable than that of Terri
Shiavo's? How is a child's right to liberty and constitutional protection
less worthy than a person who has been deemed to be in a persistent
If the governors intentions for Terri are pure in motive, then our son Evan
should have been afforded the same interest from our lawmakers. Could it be
possible that while our fair Governor was busy intervening on behalf of the
parents of Terri Shiavo and usurping the rights of her legal Guardian, any
intervention on behalf of the Guardians on Evan would have made his
argument for the parents of Terri less valid as his position on the two
cases would be in opposition to each other?
Did our governor refuse to help protect an innocent child in one case, and
trample a Guardians' right in another simply because his political interest
was at stake, not because of any sense of morality, humanity and good will
for either person whose life was being fought over? If so, that is as big a
sin as legal euthanasia, or exile and abuse of a child.
I have but several questions for our governor that I would like answered:
Did you refuse to intervene in our son Evanšs plight because it would be
contrary to your intervention in Shiavošs case, or because you would have
been trampling on a decision made by a circuit court judge that was not
elected, but that you personally appointed to the bench and who aspires to a
position on the Appellate court? Governor, are you REALLY concerned about
human rights, or is it all about politics?
Dawn M. Scott
Editor's Note: Evan lived with Dawn and Skip Scott for almost four years, after his birth mother asked them to adopt the baby. This adoption fell apart and Evan was recently removed from his pre-adoptive home and forced to return to live with his biological family. This letter was reprinted with Mrs. Scott's permission, is the sole opinion of Mrs. Scott, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of BellaOnline or its Adoption Editor.