Frankly, this horrifies me. I don't know if it's that I have more imagination than most people, or just a different outlook on the world, but I think that being condemned to remain conscious trapped in a body that cannot move or communicate would be ghastly beyond belief. I've long believed that if consciousness has departed never to return, the person is already dead even if their body is still maintaining homeostasis, and it's a foolish waste of valuable medical resources to keep it 'alive' -- but if these findings are born out, and it's found to be a common condition, I think it's even more important to terminate life support as soon as it's clear that the person isn't going to wake up. I cannot accept keeping a loved one in a state I wouldn't wish on the most foul murderer as a moral act. And I certainly hope that if I'm ever in such a state, someone will care enough about me to end my suffering -- and that they won't face criminal charges for it.
The one place I can agree with the "pro-life" lobby is that this finding does mean that removing the feeding tube from a vegetable* is not the right thing to do. If there's someone alive inside there, starving them to death is cruel. A large dose of IV potassium chloride is much more appropriate.
*(Is it politically correct to call a human in a persistent vegetative state a vegetable? Probably not, but do I care?)