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March 29, 2005

Let's Not Delude Ourselves About the Consequences of Killing Terri Schiavo

Topics: Testimonials

- By BlogsForTerri contributor Don Hawthorne, of Anchor Rising

This posting builds on four previous postings on Terri Schiavo (I, II, III, IV).

Thanks to Power Line for highlighting this article, entitled "Bigotry and the Murder of Terr Schiavo," by a Harvard alumnus who suffers from severe cerebral palsy:

The case of Terri Schiavo has been framed by the media as the battle between the "right to die" and pro-life groups, with the latter often referred to as "right-wing Christians." Little attention has been paid to the more than twenty major disability rights organizations firmly supporting Schiavo's right to nutrition and hydration. Terri Schindler-Schiavo, a severely disabled woman, is being starved and dehydrated to death in the name of supposed "dignity"...

...A close examination of the Schiavo case reveals not a case of difficult decisions but a basic test of this country's decency...

Our country has learned that we cannot judge people on the basis of minority status, but for some reason we have not erased our prejudice against disability...

Essentially, then, we have arrived at the point where we starve people to death because he or she cannot communicate their experiences to us. What is this but sheer egotism? Regardless of one's religious beliefs, this is obviously an attempt to play God.

Not Dead Yet, an organization of persons with disabilities who oppose assisted suicide and euthanasia, maintains that the starvation and dehydration of Terri Schiavo will put the lives of thousands of severely disabled children and adults at risk...Not Dead Yet exposes important biases in the "right to die" movement, including the fact that as early as 1988, Jack Kevorkian advertised his intention of performing medical experimentation ("hitherto conducted on rats") on living children with spina bifida, at the same time harvesting their organs for reuse.

Besides being disabled, Schiavo and I have something important in common, that is, someone attempted to terminate my life by removing my endotracheal tube during resuscitation in my first hour of life. This was a quality-of-life decision: I was simply taking too long to breathe on my own, and the person who pulled the tube believed I would be severely disabled if I lived, since lack of oxygen causes cerebral palsy. (I was saved by my family doctor inserting another tube as quickly as possible.) The point of this is not that I ended up at Harvard and Schiavo did not, as some people would undoubtedly conclude. The point is that society already believes to some degree that it is acceptable to murder disabled people.

As Schiavo starves to death, we are entering a world last encountered in Nazi Europe. Prior to the genocide of Jews, Gypsies, and Poles, the Nazis engaged in the mass murder of disabled children and adults, many of whom were taken from their families under the guise of receiving treatment for their disabling conditions. The Nazis believed that killing was the highest form of treatment for disability.

...This sick twisting of medical ethics led to a sense of fulfillment of duty experienced by Nazi doctors, leading them to a conviction that they were relieving suffering. Not Dead Yet has uncovered the same perverse sense of duty in members of the Hemlock Society, now called End-of-Life Choices. (In 1997, the executive director of the Hemlock Society suggested that judicial review be used regularly "when it is necessary to hasten the death of an individual whether it be a demented parent, a suffering, severely disabled spouse or a child." This illustrates that the "right to die" movement favors the imposition of death sentences on disabled people by means of the judicial branch.)

For an overview of what "end-of-life choices" mean for Schiavo, I refer you to the Exit Protocol prepared for her in 2003 by her health care providers (available online). In the midst of her starvation, Terri will most likely be treated for "pain or discomfort" and nausea which may arise as the result of the supposedly humane process of bringing about her death. (Remember that Schiavo is not terminally ill.) She may be given morphine for respiratory distress and may experience seizures. This protocol confirms what we have learned from famines and death camps: death by starvation is a horrible death.

This apparently is what it means to have "rights" as a disabled person in America today.

JunkYardBlog has a posting on the possible consequences of Terri's death:

Continue reading ...

cross posted at Hyscience

Posted by richard at March 29, 2005 3:24 PM

Articles Related to Testimonials:


Federal Complaint Filed with DOJ in Schiavo Case Alleging ADA Violations

© The Empire Journal

A New York State special education teacher has filed a detailed eight-page complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of Terri Schindler-Schiavo, alleging numerous violations of the Americans with Disabilities.

An immediate stay of execution has been requested until the matter can be investigated..


Posted by: Virginia at March 29, 2005 3:47 PM

Will that help? is there someone we can call?

Posted by: alwayschooselife at March 29, 2005 3:48 PM

RE: reporting the Terri Schiavo case...CCN printed this misleading story (see below). Please show you're better than them by published a more accurate version of the truth.

"PINELLAS PARK, Florida (CNN) -- Terri Schiavo's husband has asked that an autopsy be performed on his wife after she dies so that a full report can be done on the extent of her brain damage, an attorney for Michael Schiavo said Monday."

CLARIFICATION: An autopsy is done to prove the cause of death; if Terri dies the cause will likely be listed as 'death from the effects of starvation and dehydration'. If cerebral exam is desired to determine the state of Terri's brain, it must be performed by a board certified forensic neuropathologist and is really not part of an autopsy per se. The office of the Pinnellas medical examiner (Dr. Thogmartin) has agreed to performed the autopsy but his office declines comment as to whether or not Dr. Thogmartin has the qualifications necessary to due a cerebral examination.

Posted by: Anna_Nordin at March 29, 2005 3:49 PM


Contact the Disability Rights Section

U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Civil Rights Division
Disability Rights Section - NYAV
Washington, D.C. 20530

Section Fax Number

(202) 307-1198


John L. Wodatch
(202) 307-0663

Deputy Chiefs

L. Irene Bowen
(202) 307-2245

Allison J. Nichol
(202) 514-8301

Renee Wohlenhaus

Jeanine Worden
(202) 514-5527

Special Legal Counsel

Philip L. Breen
(202) 616-7526

Posted by: Dave_MN at March 29, 2005 3:58 PM

I've emailed him before and haven't received any response, but US AG Alberto Gonzalez would be the contact for this.


Posted by: Virginia at March 29, 2005 4:00 PM

Thanks, Dave MN, I didn't know about those!

Posted by: Virginia at March 29, 2005 4:01 PM

Dave MN, can you post those on some of the other blogs so that people will know?

Posted by: alwayschooselife at March 29, 2005 4:30 PM

Alwayschoose, please feel free to do this ... I am not a "member" of many other blogs. Please post both the link to the Empire Journal article AND the contact #s, so people have a clue what they are calling about.


Posted by: Dave_MN at March 29, 2005 4:38 PM

Hi i called several of those numbers DOJ
one women told me that the office that was handling Terri Case is the
department of health and human services

1800 368 1019
keep getting answering maching

Pray they are doing something and soon !

Posted by: keeka at March 29, 2005 4:42 PM

I got a live human at 800-368-1019, who told me to call the Atlanta number: (404) 562-7886.

Start your phones!

Posted by: Mary in LA at March 29, 2005 5:00 PM

I fear that nothing will help us now, until the lawmakers get a pair of "ca-honies" and stand up to the "All Powerful" judge BTK greer.

I think what amazes me the most about this whole situation is that one single judge, flipped the US Congress/Senate the bird, told them to get lost and has basically ordered the torture of a US Citizen.

Jeb could have brought in the National Guard.
George could have brought in the Marines.

I'm sorry they are "heartbroken" So am I. Because their inaction has failed; not only Terri, and her family, but everyone in this country who believes in our Constitution.

I will never say a word in support of bill clinton, but he had the balls to ignore the court rulings and he sent military force to storm the house where Elian Gonzales was in "hiding" thus forcing him back to his wonderful life in Cuba. (I did NOT support this, I'm just using it as precedent for the President to defy the judges' rulings) Bill Clinton had more guts than George, "I will eliminate Terrorism" Bush. It is a sad day, indeed, when the worst President in US History defies a court order to reunite a child with his parents, and the "Pro-Life" President ignores the plea of distraught parents and allows a self-appointed deity to declare her execution. All this while the entire country sits and watches.

Hey congress, what happened to your subpoenas? Were you sincere or not? Terri was still alive on the 28th, where the Heck were you? WORDS mean nothing, your actions speak louder.

George or Jeb should have charged her with a crime; she would have had rights, legal representation, and been fed right up until her death.

Sad, Sad, Sad, bush brothers.

Father, Forgive them, they don't know what they do.

Posted by: Tress at March 29, 2005 5:15 PM

This was something they should have been doing already, lets hope it is not to late! Terri has i think surprised MS for staying alive this long I think that should just go to show how much she wants to live! Hold On Terri! Hold On..

Posted by: delphinius at March 29, 2005 5:22 PM

just reached someone in atlanta office
she had no idea of this or why we were calling her i told her that they were refering us to this number from DOJ she said if anything was taking place it would be coming from the DOJ

sounds like no one really knows

she was going to give it to her supervisor and she if she could find out any more 5:25

Posted by: keeka at March 29, 2005 5:25 PM

Jackson: More Senators Back Bid to Save Terri

NewsMax.com Wires
Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Rev. Jesse Jackson said Tuesday afternoon that he has persuaded two Florida state senators to change their votes on a bill to save Terri Schiavo, leaving the measure just one vote shy of the majority necessary for passage.

"Two of them have committed to meeting with Gov. Jeb Bush. They say that they're flexible if they can find acceptable emergency language," Jackson told ABC Radio host Sean Hannity.

Targeting members of the state senate's black caucus in a bid to save Schiavo, Jackson explained: "While we didn't have the specific language today, if I could just get them to shift their will to do whatever [we can] within the law to help her live, that would be a victory."

"They've made that commitment," the civil rights leader added. "I hope it turns into something concrete, signed by morningtime."

Asked if he thought he'd convert the additional vote that would guarantee passage, Jackson said: "If we get two - with the help of Gov. Jeb Bush, we can get three. . . If I was able to persuade two - if he could persuade one, we can change that vote."

The top Democrat said he had contacted the governor's office and was awaiting a return call, saying, "I hope that he will call me and I hope to share with him my position."

Jackson said he would return to Florida tomorrow if he determines it is "the best, most effective way" to save Schiavo.

"I will fly to Tallahassee or Washington or anyplace," he said.

Posted by: Dave_MN at March 29, 2005 5:29 PM

That is really, really good news Dave MN and thank you for your permission. Everyone just keep calling and faxing. Terri is still alive. One thing we cannot forget is that this is all in gods time-it is Gods miracle to show the world(not that they will see) but nevertheless. Do not give up hope-do not say it is to late-until she draws her last breath it is not too late. I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that God can keep her alive for as long as he wants without damage to her body-he can supply her with what she needs to see her through this until the right people get it. Pray, pray, pray-Pray that Satan does not have a hold on this situation any longer, that he is blocked from the courtrooms and the legislative house. Everything good comes from God (and our phone calls of course.)

Posted by: alwayschooselife at March 29, 2005 5:57 PM

I'm wondering why, why, why things were allowed to be the way they were in this case. Of course I'm calling the DOJ, and I sent email. Greer was certainly in violation of Federal Law. Has this angle been tried before and what if anything happened?

Posted by: Raven Shadowwinds at March 29, 2005 11:00 PM

Raven Shadowwinds,

Every angle has been tried, I think. As for why it was (allowed???)to be this way, check out juleni's story on the church of scientology, and see if it fits. There should, perhaps, be a warning label on it, like "not for the faint of heart." But make up your own mind, and if it doesn't work for you, go back to contacting the authorities. God knows they won't notice one more or less call or e-mail.

Posted by: mary et. al. at March 29, 2005 11:24 PM

The Carter Center has been quiet. Why? They support "human rights". Jimmy Carter is a Christian! Where is his voice? Why is he silent?

I've tried to email them, but not even the courtesy of a response. "A voice crying in the wilderness" ???

Even Jesse Jackson has taken a proactive stand for life!

Please email them and have them weigh in as friend or foe.


Posted by: Robert W. Smith MD at March 30, 2005 8:05 PM

The Carter Center has been quiet. Why? They support "human rights". Jimmy Carter is a Christian! Where is his voice? Why is he silent?

I've tried to email them, but not even the courtesy of a response. "A voice crying in the wilderness" ???

Even Jesse Jackson has taken a proactive stand for life!

Please email them and have them weigh in as friend or foe.


Posted by: Robert W. Smith MD at March 30, 2005 8:06 PM

Saving Schiavo’s Soul

The ongoing debate over the fate of Terri Schiavo is a revealing example of the differences between a secular and a religious world view. Those who advocate that Terry be kept alive and those supporting her right to die have two very different conceptions of the soul. The difference is crucial because differences in their metaphysical views have significant ethical and political implications.

According to the secular philosophy, the soul is the essence of who an individual is – the essence of his character, and the motive force of his actions. It is a unique trait of human beings, who are able to guide their own actions and their course in life through the exercise of their conceptual consciousness. Because the mind is a consequence of the process of the brain, the soul is also made possible by the biological processes of the human body and cannot exist without it. Life, in the secular philosophy, is a process of acting on values of one’s choosing, and happiness is the consequence of their successful accomplishment. This goes on until one cannot or does not choose to engage in the process of value-pursuit and dies.

According to the religious philosophy, the soul is a spiritual entity, separable from the body, and exists in some non-material realm apart from the material world. According to this philosophy, the soul is an immortal entity temporarily attached to a physical body by the whim of an all-powerful being. Since the soul does not “belong” to the mortal being, it comes with certain conditions, usually whatever the local mystics deem to be proper. According to the religious philosophy, a moral life consists of dutifully following the commandments of a higher being in order to make one’s soul less susceptible to misery in a future state of existence, such as heaven, Valhalla, or an afterlife. Since the choice to live is not up to mortal humans to make, the choice to die cannot be either, since their soul and thus their life does not belong to them. Furthermore, the end of mental activity does not mean the death of the soul, which remains trapped in the body as long as it is biologically alive, just as an fetus possesses a soul prior to developing a conceptual consciousness.

The vast difference and the ethical implications of these world views should be clear. In the secular philosophy, man has a “self-made soul” that he shapes and that shapes his life. In the mystic philosophy, man is granted his soul by a god and must obey that deity or expose the soul to “eternal damnation” in the beyond. Religious groups oppose the right to die for the same reason that they oppose happiness as the ultimate moral end: it represents a threat to their conception of human nature.

Terri Schiavo is not an isolated case, as lawmakers claimed when they blatantly disregarded the Constitution and federalism in an attempt to preserve her body – it is an example of the same reasoning they use to oppose the right to die and abortion. It is a reasoning that denies the essential difference between human beings and carrots on a mental and physical level and claims instead that the difference exists in some unreachable, imperceptible, and unknowable realm. It is no wonder then, why they must resort to force to bully their beliefs on those who live their lives for a this-worldly purpose.

Posted by: GreedyCapitalist at March 31, 2005 12:23 AM