While I understand why some decide to have a feeding tube removed, I do not condone it. I recently did a paper on euthanasia, and I have seen the terrible consequences. The patients look like skeletons, plastered over with skin. Euthanasia, which comes from the Greek word for "easy death," can be anything but.
I worked for a while as a hospice chaplain, and I can assure you there are cases where removing a feeding tube is the most humane thing we can do.
At the natural end of life, the body no longer can process food and liquids. Forced feeding can cause pain because the body is unable to use the nutrients; they pass through virtually indentical to the way they went it.
Removing a feeding tube in such a case allows God's natural process to take place. A person will lose consciousness and die peacefully.
Please note that I am not talking about those who otherwise would live, but those who are dying and might gain a few extra days or weeks or even months of pain and suffering, such as advanced Alzheimer's patients or those in the final stages of cancer, ALS, etc. At the end of life, there is a natural decline in appetite as the body's organs begin to shut down. It is inhumane to force feed someone who is not lucid and cannot express their wish to be kept alive at this time. It is also expensive and divisive to the family.
Those who are dying should be allowed to die. It is the Christian thing to do.
There is, of course, a very big difference between the cases I am talking about, and the case of Terry Schiavo, or other cases where there is any quality of life whatsoever, or who otherwise would live for a prolonged period. I am speaking of those whose quality of life has already ended and who are being forced to suffer the indignity of artificially prolonged life, often contrary to their expressed wishes, to assuage the guilt of the family, or to allow the doctors to continue billing for their care.
After providing spiritual care to some 400 dying patients and their families, and having carefully examined Church teaching on the matter, I do feel that I am qualified to express an opinion on the issue, but please let me stress that there is a significant difference between ending life (euthanasia) and allowing life to end with dignity as God designed it.