By Dave Andrusko
Hard as it to believe, on Saturday it will be seven years since the court-order starvation and dehydration death of Terri Schindler Schiavo. National Right to Life President and Pro-Life Host Carol Tobias has used this week’s PLP to talk about the changes in the wider culture which made such an unjust death possible. Today she talks about the importance of remembering Terri and how her plight was so misreported.
As Mrs. Tobias tells us at www.prolifeperspective com
“The battle to save Terri’s life raged for years. Her parents, Bob and Mary, fought valiantly for their daughter’s life, using all of the resources at their disposal. They countered negative testimony from doctors with more accurate testimony from other doctors who saw that Terri was not in a ‘persistent vegetative state.’ Lawyers working on their behalf used every legal avenue they could to save Terri.”
Much of today’s edition of PLP is a recollection of the massive amount of misinformation which colored and distorted coverage of Terri’s plight. Even after her death from starvation and dehydration, the media still managed to get it wrong. Mrs. Tobias quotes from one account from The St. Petersburg Times online Bulletin and then explains how the account totally misrepresented the situation.
“Terri was not ‘forced’ to receive nourishment. No one knows what caused her oxygen to be cut off that caused her brain damage. And Terri was still very much alive. She was breathing and eating. And she was aware of those around her.”
Terri was very healthy for someone who had never received extensive rehabilitative therapy. She required only a feeding tube for nourishment. The feeding tube had been in place since her collapse in 1990. Since she had never received any real rehabilitation, no one could say if she would have been able to eat by mouth. No one had ever tried.
“And yet,” Mrs. Tobias says, “because she was disabled, there were demands for her death.”
Mrs. Tobias has spoken all week about the imperative to remain vigilant in our educational efforts. To raise awareness of Terri and others like her, the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network has declared March 31st as “Terri Schindler Schiavo Day.” Mrs. Tobias closes the week with this hugely important reminder:
“The parallels to abortion are why the National Right to Life Committee has worked since its inception to halt the advance of the culture of death in our country. The culture of death says that not only are unborn babies less than worthy of the right to life but also the elderly, the disabled and the terminally ill as well. Today, we are seeing more and more cases similar to Terri’s—she was neither the first nor will she be the last. But she made people aware that people with disabilities are candidates for death by dehydration and starvation. This does happen in our country.”
For more information and resource links about Terri’s day, visit the Network’s website at www.terrisfight.org. Remember the battle to protect patients like Terri isn’t confined to just one day – it’s an ongoing struggle that we face daily.
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