Today is the fourth anniversary of the death of Terri Schiavo, the Florida woman who suffered starvation and dehydration at the hands of her physicians and her husband.
Married and in her twenties, Terri Schiavo suffered a sudden illness and was hospitalized, then put on a ventilator and a feeding tube. In a court battle with attempted congressional intervention, her family tried to prevent the removal of her feeding tube. However, her husband fought to remove it, and she eventually died.
The painful memory of that still lingers for her brother Bobby Schindler. "It certainly is a sad day. March 31 will mark the fourth year of Terri's death by dehydration, and there's really not a day that doesn't go by where our family doesn't think of Terri," he notes.
Many churches and individuals around the country are pausing today in prayer, but Schindler also urges people to remember the bigger battle.
"More importantly now is that there are other lives that are in jeopardy of being killed the way Terri's was," he adds. "Our family fights every day for other families faced with similar circumstances. This issue did not die with my sister."
Schindler fears tens of thousands of people worldwide may lose their lives in the same way. "Which was something that was absolutely barbaric, having to watch someone die by having their food and water taken away so that they could slowly dehydrate to death over a period of almost two weeks," he explains.
And Schindler is not the only person concerned about that. Ken Carpenter of Franklin Springs Family Media has produced a documentary called The Terry Schiavo Story.
"We got a limited view of the totality of the situation through the mainstream media," the filmmaker contends. "There are just many facts of the case that, I believe, Americans just were never aware of." (Hear audio report)
He believes most people only heard of the demonstrations and court battles but says there is more to the story. "In the film, David Gibbs, Terri's attorney, says it's his belief that if television cameras had been allowed in the room, Terri would still be alive today," Carpenter adds. "Terri was not terminally ill."
In the movie, Carpenter explains Schiavo was severely brain-damaged but experts said she could improve somewhat with appropriate therapy. "And she had family that was willing to take care of her," he points out.
He hopes the film will urge people to protect the disabled and vulnerable of society.
What you can do:
Honor Terri's memory. Learn more about how you can protect yourself and others from involuntary euthanasia.
- Contact Hawaii Right to Life at 585-8205 or firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange for a screening of The Terry Schiavo Story documentary.
- Hear Terri's brother, Bobby Schindler, speak at a FREE prolife conference in Hilo June 26 & 27. Contact Dave DeCleene, Hawaii Right to Life-Hilo for more information, 808-938-0616 or email@example.com
- Pause in prayer regarding this issue
- Share this information with others