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April 15, 2005

Another Terri Schiavo-Like Case - This One's in Chicago

Topics: News

Several people have emailed me the following story about Clara Martinez, a Chicago woman who is reportedly being starved to death.

Martinez suffered a debilitating stroke a year ago and her husband signed a "Do Not Resuscitate" order that led to the disconnection of her feeding tube. She is able to consume liquids through her mouth and, so far, has survived for thirty days without food.

Under "normal" circumstances her situation would have gone unnoticed had it not been for the intervention of a pastor of the Hispanic Evangelical Church. Her family also opposes the husband's decision.

I spoke to the article's author, Jorge Mederos. He said the family feels "powerless" and has called the media without response. "No one is paying attention," he said. "The family is planning a protest tomorrow or over the weekend."

Here is the first portion of the article.

In a house on Chicago's southeast side, a Mexican family is going through a heartbreak like the tragedy that befell the American Terri Schiavo's family and deeply affected both those who defend the right to life and partisans of euthanasia. But no voices had been raised so far in this case because very few knew about the situation concerning the 39-year-old Latin woman whose husband decided to disconnect the tube that had been feeding her during her three and a half years in a vegetative state.

As of the close of this edition, Clara Martinez, 39 years old and mother of two children aged five and seven years - had been almost 30 days without food and was still alive, taking only water. For the last year she has been cared for in her home, with special medical equipment installed in the living room, while the rest of the family try to go on with their lives.

This woman has remained in this condition since suffering a stroke. She was cared for in the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Medical Center, later at an intermediate care facility, then at the hospital again, and finally she was taken to her home. At that time the physicians had judged her condition to be irreversible.

Under these conditions her husband Salvador Martinez, 35 years old and also Mexican, resolved that his wife should not live artificially. He signed a "Do Not Resuscitate" order to keep her from being revived artificially and disconnected the feeding machine. Under these conditions the woman should have died by withdrawal of feeding and the case would have gone unnoticed, had it not been for the intervention of a pastor of the Hispanic Evangelical Church at 4340 W. 87th St.

[the pastor] said that when he was with the wife, "she moved, opened her eyes, and when we prayed and sang together by her bedside, she blinked as though she was listening." He said it was also significant that, in spite of her condition, the woman was still "able to take water."

More from Laraza

Update: I had a long conversation with Pastor Espinoza and am assembling my notes to give you an update. It is clear that this family needs prayer and support. They have been looking unsuccessfully for help.

It is also clear that for 29 days Clara has been slowly starving to death without any intervention until Pastor Espinoza stepped in and began contacting different media organizations. After being turned away by the Mainstream Press, Jorge Mederos of the La Raza, picked up the story.

Pastor Espinoza did verify that he believes Clara is responsive. He explained, "Last week when we were in her house we were singing and I talked to her and I said , 'Can you hear me. If you can, close your eyes.' And she did , she was responding." She also moves here head and hands in reponse to her mother.

Espinoza's motivation for fighting to keep Martinez alive is simple. "First of all," he said, "Life has been given by God and only He has the power to take it away. Second, I am a chaplain in a local hospital and see a lot of people in this condition. This could effect them." He described one woman he regularly saw who was in the same condition as Martinez yet is now talking, smiling, singing. "She had a stroke," he expalined, It took 2 years to recover."

more to follow ...

Update 2:

We've been in contact with Citizens United Resisting Euthanasia and they are moving rapidly to offer assistance to the family. Earl writes, "May God bless Pastor Espinoza for raising his voice in defense of Clara Martinez's God-given right to life. Our compliments to Mr. Mederos and La Raza for exposing this covert crime in the making, which is no longer hidden thanks to their professional reporting."

Posted by tim at April 15, 2005 5:03 PM

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I think blogs for terri and such sites need to realize that this is happening around the world everyday. There is nothing in the article that I saw (I am very tired) that spoke of her wishes.

I think there is a bandwagon mentality happening. As with Mae, her newphew misrepresented some facts. Yes, it is good that she is now doing well until the issues gets resolved at the state level. This is one case where there should have been intervention. If we start to involve ourselves in cases where there is only one family member in dissesion, the possibility exists that we could eventually void Living wills.

Terri's case is special because it was NOT ONLY starvation and dehydration BUT domestic abuse, TBI, disability and no living will. Also dash on the severe corruption that is occuring in Florida at the moment. Most women like Terri would have died on his first attempt of murder and do everyday.

I don't think it would hurt to make sure we know all the facts before we start interfering in legitimate family situations where there is no reason to interfer.

I live in Chicago BTW

Posted by: Julie at April 15, 2005 6:16 PM

I can't figure out what you're saying, Julie. Are you saying there have been specific facts misrepresented here? Maybe, but you don't cite any.

Are you saying that this is okay provided the situation isn't exactly like the one with Terri?

Actually, if this is as represented, it is _worse_, because there is evidence here that she can eat by mouth. She could take Ensure or something. That is _supposed_ to provide some sort of legal protection, if the person does not actually need "artificial means of life support." Some of us, in fact, have been hoping that if we can eat by mouth when we're old or if we have a stroke some day, that this will prevent us from being starved or dehydrated to death. Maybe not.

Also, if it is as represented, she's just starving at home without even the medications and such to ameliorate the pain of the process.

And there is family dissension here, the article indicates. If that makes a difference. It's not like it's okay to starve anybody to death who has had a stroke provided everyone _agrees_ to starve them to death.

And God knows, if she's lived 30 days without food, she's scarcely in a "dying process" otherwise.

Okay, so maybe the facts are wrong. But it's just a regular news article, not even from some special pro-life group or anything.

Posted by: Lydia at April 15, 2005 6:26 PM


You are in one respect. We can't keep dealing with each individual case. This country needs a new (old) climate.

But I don't think that killing someone should ever be a family affair, nor should it enjoy the cloak of privacy.

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 15, 2005 6:33 PM

Julie - this case has nothing to do with living wills. Your statement about Terri's case makes no sense. Starving someone to death is immoral only when there has been prior allegations of domestic abuse?

Posted by: tim at April 15, 2005 6:34 PM

Terri's situation was different because a lot of information (from statements by both sides, through the court documents and news articles) was readily available.
Also in Terri's case there was active and sustained legal action.
Neither two held for Mae's case and seemingly in this case.

My personal first thoughts here are if it's even legal to have someone die like this in your own home and second why there is no mention of the parents going to court.
Also, it seems somewhat unlikely that someone survives 30 days without any food or water of any kind.

I'd disagree though that a lack of verfied facts should necessarily result in a "wait and see" situation. I just think it should be a nuanced message of possible abuse by a guardian/spouse that needs to be looked into right away by someone with the power to stop it and not a "Man is murdering wife by starvation" blogfest.

Posted by: Vanessa at April 15, 2005 8:05 PM

I suggest the pastor and the mother contact Mr. Gibbs. He can direct them, even if it's just to a good attorney in the Chicago area. If money's a problem, then legal aid. A good attorney should then know what other agencies need to be involved. I think we (Terri's Watch) should be on stand by to help out in anyway we can on the advice of an attorney. Personally, I"m not shy to contact the husband either to find out his perspective and let him know many people are aware of and concerned about the situation. Anyone got his #? Sometimes just knowing the 'world' is watching chances a person's behavior.

Posted by: Anna_Nordin at April 15, 2005 9:21 PM

And yet another case how is it we have become so comfortable with just letting some one die...oh I know not newwww....but what is the cost and what is the cost to a country that embraces these injustices allows tryanny to rule over justice and allows innocent people to be subjected to the will of those that are tired of caring for them ...are too financially burdened or just don't have any form of compassion for the victims of these injustices...We must not allow the rights of those who are defenseless to go unheard. We must cry out for them let the country and the world see that in many cases the rights of the innocent are being exploited and abused...There will always be a doctor or scientist and there will always be too many lawyers to argue the most poignant and sypathetic arguments for the death march we must not be misiled..or mislead...Focus America it can be you next....Em Heartz4

Posted by: heartz4 at April 15, 2005 9:40 PM

You know, I've been thinking. When satan's consortium killed Jesus, the gates of heaven were opened. When the early martyrs were killed the Church grew by leaps and bounds. When Adam Walsh's son was killed he created America's Most Wanted. Where is our creativity?

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 15, 2005 10:26 PM

Julie is right, this is happening everyday. That seems to be the obstacle-doing two things at once seems to be difficult. At least it is for me. We seem to be unable to help the ones in the current situation while changing things for those who might be in this situation in the future. I know we have to fight for those who can't fight for themselves, but we have to be able to try and do this at the same time as protecting the future. I am not saying anything that everyone does not already know, but it seems that absolutely no one wants to focus on how to permanently fix this situation.(for example- Marys idea)It should not take a crisis to get us on the phones trying to change things. We need to start trying to prevent the crises from happening in the first place. Is is just too boring to talk about fixing the problem? If it is, then fine, lets go back to arguing the facts of the Mae case (some of which I guess are good debating points)but if we want to do something productive can we please find a way to make this this not an everyday happening in America? Please?

Posted by: alwayschooselife at April 16, 2005 3:33 AM

Vanessa--she's _having_ water. That's _why_ she's still alive after 30 days. You must not have noticed that in the story. That may also be why this is illegal in this specific case. If someone can be fed by mouth, then (hopefully) the legal situation is that mouth feeding becomes basic care and not "treatment" that the spouse can refuse on the person's behalf. Presumably she could receive something like Ensure by mouth as well. So maybe something can be done in this case.

Now, I do understand the rest of your concern to "do something" constructive that will help the future. Here's the problem: Court precedents at the national level--Cruzan, most notably--and at various state levels--e.g. Browning, in Florida--have set up a strong presumption that we have to be oh, so very careful not to give someone "artificial food and water" (ANH) if they "would" not have wanted it. There is now formally a _constitutional right_ (according to the Supreme Court) for a person to refuse ANH even when he's unconscious. The one loophole that decision allowed was that states could require "clear and convincing evidence" that this was the person's wish. Formally, this could allow states to require something very strong, e.g. written evidence of some sort of strongly-defined informed consent, before permitting someone to be starved or dehydrated to death. In practice, this is not what has happened. Instead, in some states (like Florida) the state Supreme Courts have watered down "clear and convincing evidence" so that it can include oral statements by the person. That's what led to Terri's case.

What I would recommend for the future would be strong laws in states that _don't_ have Florida-like state supreme court rulings that would require written evidence that the person wished this, and even that the person had information about probable pain from death by dehydration and starvation (informed consent), before withholding ANH. But the truth is that it is nearly futile to recommend this, because even good pro-life people will oppose it. I suspect there are some regulars on this site who would think such legislation too strong. This is because even good, pro-life people apparently think that it is a _greater_ wrong to give somebody ANH when he "wouldn't" want it (if he could communicate) than to _withhold_ ANH from somebody until he dies, perhaps even when he _would_ have wanted it. They don't perhaps even realize themselves that they feel this way, but there is just more of an emotional horror at so-called "force feeding" (even when the person himself isn't actively right now refusing food) than at starving people to death. So I would guess that no state legislature in the country would pass really protective legislation.

Furthermore, a guardian ad litem has very little power. He can make recommendations, and that's about it. So a guardian ad litem group could make pro-life recommendations in specific cases and just be ignored.

Meanwhile, the effect of all these court rulings has been the passage of legislation going the opposite direction (against nutrition and hydration) in state after state. And vast numbers of people have signed "living wills" that basically say, "No ANH" without really realizing what this could mean for themselves--a slow and unpleasant death, unless they receive sufficient drugs to make them unaware of what is happening.

So does this mean I have no constructive suggestions? Well, if people aren't willing to press their state legislatures to pass really protective legislation, it all comes down basically to individual cases. Make sure _your_ kids and spouses know that _you_ don't want to die of hunger and dehydration. Make sure _they_ know that this is wrong.

And in cases like this one of Clara or in Mae's we _can_ press because there appear to be actual legal problems there. In other words, we can try to hold the line. In Mae's case, there was the apparent violation of her living will. In this case, the woman apparently could take something more nourishing by mouth. So there's room to push. That's why this is worth doing--and it may save a few lives.

Posted by: Lydia at April 16, 2005 7:03 AM

If guardians have no power, and written directives have no power (if people choose to ignore them), and legislation has no power because courts interpret them any old which way, what is left?

For years women were being killed by their husbands because restraining orders were pieces of paper and the police can't do anything until after the fact. Then someone erected a shelter and that worked. They by-passed all the things that didn't work and did something that did work without any hope of gain or even thanks.

The govt in America has failed. The constitutional republic of America is dead. Even the churches have failed. I respectfully submit that the only thing left is the remnant of people who still believe in what was once the bedrock of this country, but no longer is. We, the remnant, must find a way to beat this huge, rotten system or go the way of the Jews in Nazi Germany. And the only things I have seen work in decades were the things that individuals took upon themselves and did in spite of the system, i.e. shelters, America's Most Wanted, Operation Rescue. In short, if we don't get this country back in the hands of the people we have no country.

If that isn't agreed and acted upon accordingly, then let's just all eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we may die. Correction, we will most likely die. I know abortion isn't the theme we are on here, but this issue is an extention of the abortion issue and we have been losing that battle for thirty years now. How many Americans are dead because of this? Doesn't any one else see that we can't keep on like this; that we must do something radically different. WE must, not the politicians or the jurists, because we have no reason whatsoever to believe that they will. Either the buck stops here or it won't stop at all, and we waste precious time and even more precious lives going back again and again to the same old worn out paths that have netted nothing in thirty years.

I say this at the risk of being blocked from Blogs, but that no longer bothers me because if Blogs doesn't blaze a new trail it's a waste of my time and there are other things I would rather waste my time on.

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 16, 2005 8:12 AM


thanks, I did miss the mention at the very start that she was still receiving (a bare minimum amount?) water and only caught the bit of the pastor saying she was able to take water orally in general.
I know this might sound insensitive, but does that make it worse or better in terms of actual legality for someone to come in and take charge?
It would seem to me you can't argue you're letting someone die because they wouldn't want to live like that when you're actively sustaining their body (if barely adequately).

The rest of your comment briefly scratched the surface of a personal pet peeve of mine, which is that legislation has passed, is pending or is under review as a result of Terri's case but noone seems to think it's worth mentioning.
I've only found a few vague references about most and it seems important to have a look over them to see if it's enough, actually will help and/or if it results in a better, less dubious system than before (the NJ proposal of having couples write up a living will before a marriage license will be granted comes to mind as one).

Posted by: Vanessa at April 16, 2005 8:31 AM


I don't think there was a clear official stand yet abortion-wise? Meaning that Blogs is anti-abortion obviously but I don't think they have a list of specific points to push for change in yet. (Or that's how I personally understood the last 'general announcement' a few days back)
Richard posted that one so maybe you could contact him somehow and point him to your comment for clarification?

I'd like to say more but it's hard when your and my opinion vary so much on the issue. I don't think you can count on a full reversal over a short period of time, but that doesn't mean it's not still a good goal to have since you believe in it. A lot of little steps make one big leap in the end.
I've read most of your comments and even though I don't agree, you always seem to think your points through really well and offer suggestions for things to look into or points where change could be vital.
Maybe you could email Beth and ask if it would be possible for you to write something up as a post instead of just in comments or have some way that you don't feel you're not being heard or wasting your time?

Posted by: Vanessa at April 16, 2005 8:54 AM

Here's what I understand about the case, Vanessa:

She is receiving only plain water, but can drink. This means that of course she is in less misery than Terri was, without any moistening of the mouth. And apparently she's getting enough water not to have died of dehydration in all this time. But that just makes the withholding of sustenance all the more _deliberate_, because there are liquid forms of nutrition out there for people in this kind of state, and the husband isn't giving them, _not_ because she can't take them (since she must be drinking pretty well), but clearly because he wants to let her die but just couldn't bring himself to let it be by dehydration. So it is better in one sense but my guess is that it is worse, legally, since food by mouth is not legally "treatment." It is also a little worse morally since it is clear that this is starving to death for the sake of making sure the person dies, not just to avoid something "artificial," which some people do have a hangup about.

I think the NJ legislation sounds like a dreadful idea but won't go into why at great length. The whole idea that pressuring people to sign more living wills is some sort of solution is, in my opinion, wrong. It will almost certainly result in more deaths by dehydration and starvation for people who, in most cases, didn't know the implications of what they were signing but thought they had a duty to their family to sign. It will just accelerate what I consider to be bad trends in this country toward signing off on things people shouldn't really be signing off on.

I mentioned the kind of legislation I'd like to see in my last post, but no one likes that idea, I'm afraid.

Mary--I need to stress the difference between _guardians_ and "guardians ad litem." A guardian ad litem doesn't have the same power as a "regular" guardian. A regular guardian is usually a member of the family. A guardian ad litem just represents the person in court and makes recommendations but doesn't (as far as I've been able to tell) have the power to require the medical facilities to do this or that.

If your idea is to give people a list of professional people whom they can really designate as having *legal power* to make their medical decisions, then these need to be people who are willing to be given what is called a "Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare," and that has to be done by each individual, one at a time, *when that individual is fully legally competent.* My guess is that most doctors will not want to be designated as a DPA for healthcare, unless they are a personal friend of the person in question. But if you can find good pro-life doctors that are willing so to be designated, more power to you. Myself, I'd rather give that power to a close family member whom I trust completely. But some people don't have such a person.

Posted by: Lydia at April 16, 2005 8:59 AM

I was getting pretty steamed myself, until Mary finally made sense, said it far better than I can. The only thing that bothers me is any suggestion of restraint. People exercised restraint and caution in Germany over the first cases of euthanasia and religious persecution. How different it might have been if people would have taken a few chances before it had become impossible to do so. My only other suggestion is to go back a week or two, remember the anger and the rage you felt. There is nothing in least wrong with feeling anger and rage. God, I'm certain, is feeling a great deal of both at the moment. My only other suggestion is to pray for guidance as to how we direct our anger and rage. I, at the moment, am not leaning toward caution or restraint of any sort.

Posted by: dea at April 16, 2005 9:05 AM

> Myself, I'd rather give that power to a close
> family member whom I trust completely. But some
> people don't have such a person.

Lydia, the point for me is that I never in my life want to designate ANYONE as a medical guardian over me. Even if my mind slips in my old age. I want society and the law to presume I want to eat and drink.

I once had a husband who turned evil, and even if I ever married again I would never want to sign that kind of power over to anyone. Because I just don't trust. People are flawed. The BEST of people are flawed. They can turn on a dime with the right motive, just like Michael Schiavo did (he had alot of dimes, didn't he). Terri once trusted him, but he found a motive to betray that trust. And all the judges all the way up to the Supreme Court betrayed their own humanity by making her die the way they did. Their motive was their own idolatry for a merciless procedure-bound view of "Law". So, no, really the decision of whether you eat or drink should never be left up to any human being, even a judge. The law (perhaps the consitution itself) should be corrected to specically spell out a presumption that every human being wants to eat and drink. In any form.

When I go, I want to die of legitimate natural causes. Lack of food and hydration should NEVER be regarded as a "natural cause" of death. There's time enough to not eat after I'm dead.

That was the first mistake in Florida, don'tcha know, the legislature getting bamboozled by the idea that tube feeding was somehow fundamentally different from feeding by mouth. George Felos is the one who pushed for the legislation in Florida in the late '90's to regard tube feeding as "artificial" and therefore, rejectable/removable. The guy has a taste for blood (just read his book excerpts), and he knew this was his obstacle. When he and Michael Schiavo found each other, it was a match made in heaven, er um, hell. A perfect storm.

Posted by: Suzanne. at April 16, 2005 9:45 AM


I stand corrected on the ad litem part. But you got the rest of the idea right. Would doctors and clergy agree to be guardians? Would someone put up the money, the time and the energy to buy/build, support, run women's shelters?


That's my point in nutshell. Except for one little problem. The laws in favor of life are on the books, FL notwithstanding. Mae isn't in FL, nor is Clara. Everybody has GOT to think about this aspect of it. Will one more law do what all the others couldn't? I say it won't and we don't have the luxury of time to wait and see if it will, if our so far worthless govt will change its ways, or if the good witch will come out of the north. This is up to US and no one else. One of the Schindler's attorneys complained about the Rule of Terri. Bottomline, the judge was using the law to defeat the law. And that's all that anyone needs to know about what is really going on here and what must be done to counter act it.

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 16, 2005 10:21 AM

Suzanne--I couldn't agree with you more. Unfortunately, the probabilities of a constitutional amendment are about on a par with a meteor strike. And since our legislatures all believe that "rule of law" means "rule of judges," we're more or less stuck. You might be interested in my post called "Aggressor Courts and the Separation of Powers" from several weeks ago. It gives some of the legal background.


Mary--of course you probably know that no facility could act as a "shelter" if some court had "found" that a diabled person "would want" to be dehydrated to death. The cops would just come and take the person away.

Here's what I think _could_ be done, and will become even more important in the years to come: I think some group should give out what you might call "pro-life seal of approval awards" to specific hospices, long-term care facilities, and nursing homes that do not dehydrate or starve people to death. The details--esp. the legal details--could be tricky. But if the facilities were motivated to receive the "seal of approval," I think it could be done. These places would only be helpful when the person was competent mentally to check himself into one or when the guardian wanted the person to be in one of them. So they probably wouldn't help a whole lot in the cases we all most have in mind--like Terri's case or even Mae's--where there were problems with what the guardian was trying to do.

However, we are heading in our country for situations where the guardian _is_ a good guy, or the patient has _requested_ food and water in a living will, and where even _then_ they will be refused by the ruling of a "hospital ethics committee." This started in our country in Houston and is now spreading all over the place. Now, "pro-life approved" facilities could act as transfer facilities when this happens, because the guardian in that case will be desperately looking for a place to transfer the loved one to continue to get food and water by tube and other care, if for some reason it can't be done at home.

Also, if an elderly person is still mentally competent but needs to go to a nursing home, a home with a "seal of approval" might be a place he could agree to be placed in without fear, or at least with less fear, of eventually being starved or dehydrated to death.

But to make this work, the facilities have to be motivated to seek this approval, because it would be totally voluntary. There would be no legal way to _compel_ places to submit to investigation and such. And I don't frankly know if it would be a profitable enough thing for the facilities to want to open themselves up to the investigation required to give them such an "approval" from a private organization.

But it's worth a thought.

Posted by: Lydia at April 16, 2005 11:10 AM


I'm thinking.

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 16, 2005 11:33 AM

You know, Lydia, it is possible that these people can sneak around, over or under any fence we erect. I think the first premise we must have is that the people we are trying to save want to be saved. Any one else is suicidal and you can't stop a determined suicide even in the best of scenarios. So let us start with that; people who really don't want this to happen to them and are willing to do all in their power to protect themselves against it. What tools can we create for them to use toward that end?

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 16, 2005 11:42 AM


You are working the shelter idea. Keep it up.

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 16, 2005 11:54 AM

Mary, Lydia, Suzanne, dea, Alwayschooselife, this is going in a good direction. I support the idea of shelters in the way Lydia is presenting it.

Lydia, I did catch your suggestion of the kind of legislation to work towards - the loophole of allowing states to require "clear and convincing evidence" - allowing for a strong statement of some sort - such as written evidence of some sort of strongly-defined informed consent before permitting someone to be starved and/or dehydrated to death. In those states where requirement of "clear and convincing evidence" has not yet been watered down and comprimised as in Florida, could a bill be sponsored of some sort to be put forward for defining clear and convincing evidence as some very *strong* evidence, before ever allowing removal of artificial-nutrition-hydration? Is that what you were saying? Lydia, don't give up on that!! It is never wrong to feed or hydrate a living being! It is worth a try!

As I see it, there are several very clear things here that can be done:

1. Work on the idea of shelters - as in homes with a "seal of approval".

2. Put forward legislation in states for "clear and convincing evidence" to be evidence of a very, very strong sort before proceeding.

(As in something the person put in writing while still lucid, conscious and knowledgeable, including having been informed about the probable pain they would endure during 'lack of hydration and nutrition' (being starved and dehydrated to death).

3. Be a shelter of sorts ourselves for the moment! Right here, at the various blogs which support life.

I.e. - help Clara Martinez.

She is one human being. She is valuable as just a human. As just a woman.

Of course, this is happening everywhere. But Clara is who has been brought to our attention right now. And as hispanic, her mother may fear even more that her situation might be ignored, just due to being in a minority. Which is all the more reason to aid her. The more vulnerable the person, the more they should receive aid.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. (Terri). Then another step (Mae), then another (Clara).

Before you know it you will be taking strides.

I think we must focus on all three things, at once.

Posted by: juleni at April 16, 2005 12:27 PM

Gotcha Julie, and I must re-read and ponder your comment to come back to it. In the meanatime don't forget the guardian shelter which is still valid even though it may need some tweeking.

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 16, 2005 12:42 PM

Yes, Mary -

A shelter in the form of a guardian shelter, if it can be worked out is very good, too.

Along with "seal of approval" for homes that can be counted on to allow life instead of promoting death.

I agree.

And Anna, - yes, we should be a watch, for those like Terri. Right now, for Clara, too!

Posted by: juleni at April 16, 2005 1:04 PM

Clear and convincing evidence is good, at least for those authorities who want to do the right thing\abide by the law. Juries are another good thing because this brings matters back into the hands of the people. Bear in mind that this creeping corruption has touched people in all walks, but was mainly directed at our authorities or shepherds, if you will.

The cards were stacked against Terri and it took many years to set that rotten system up and disaable the other authorities. But they haven't been able to buy or intimidate all of us and that is our hope. In terms of shelters via medical institutions, medical personel, bloggers, juries, and any other pro life org. that join the battle. Not to mention those who wake up to the danger they are in. For now it is our mandate from God to:
"Resuce those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter." Prov.24

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 16, 2005 1:04 PM

I'm sorry, Mary! I forgot about promoting juries for these cases, also!

So, the following:

1.Shelters. Guardians in the form of those who stand for life, and are willing to take on guardianship for those without such a trusted guardian available among their loved ones.
And a "pro life seal of approval" for nursing homes and long-term care facilities, willing to act as transfer facilities, voluntarily.
And we, the bloggers as a current 'shelter' of sorts - at least a life raft of a kind - for those brought to our attention, such as Clara, right now!

2. Put forward legislation in states where allowing "clear and convincing" evidence has not become watered-down, for it to be *strong* evidence, absolute (written)evidence (with informed consent if possible), before such a thing as removal of nutrition and hydration be allowed.

3. Put forward legislation for *juries* to be involved in a case with doubt and/or breaking of laws as with Terri and Mae, so that the people may be involved in deciding the case.

Am I listing the main suggestions so far?

Posted by: juleni at April 16, 2005 1:20 PM

Vanessa, you say to send these suggestions to Beth - but who is Beth?

I know of both Tim and Richard, as bloggers, here...

Posted by: juleni at April 16, 2005 1:22 PM

PLEASE PRAY RIGHT NOW FOR CLARA! In spirit with a prayer meeting going on RIGHT NOW IN CHICAGO (started at 3 pm Central time) for Clara, please join in prayer for her!




Posted by: juleni at April 16, 2005 1:27 PM

Juries should be on any and all of these cases; never again life or death decided by one person; one person decisions, never again (to paraphrase Paul VI).

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 16, 2005 2:02 PM

Juleni - I thought that was great. I posted it on all our local groups. And thanks to all others. Keep fighting and give those like me who aren't so bright as ya'll hints. We appreciate it.

Posted by: dea at April 16, 2005 2:11 PM

Thank you dea for posting it. Mary's and Lydia's ideas are so good.

I am back now. I took an hour to pray for Clara,while I did housework. I find it a good time to pray, while folding clothes. The folding even kind of helps me while praying.

Thanks, Mary, for updating about the juries. I will update it and post it to the next group of comments as well.

Posted by: juleni at April 16, 2005 2:27 PM

Juries --- I would think juries are a good idea, so that one person isn't deciding the life or death of another -- we now require juries for all criminal death penalty cases (ala Scott Peterson).... BUT as we saw in Terri's case, many people can be as wrong and stonewalling as one person -- all the way up to the Supreme Court.

Sure, all these piecemeal ideas are very good for turning the tide from a culture of death to a culture of life, solving the problems that brought about these troubles, like now the anonymous baby-drop offs to try to stem abortion, but we need to promote everywhere, legally, culturally, constitutionally, that everyone deserves to eat and drink. People should not even have the right to refuse food and drink. Suicide is not legal in most states, and in those few where it is, drying somebody up like a prune is not the method. In criminal executions, shrivelling people up like a raisin is not the method.

If somebody wants to die, I never understood their insistence in trying to get everyone in society to go along with their mental illness. It's like they can't die (or kill somebody) without forcing everybody to pat them on the back and nod in approval. Michael Schiavo didn't want to think of himself as the murderer he is, so he had the state of Florida do his dirty little deed for him. But involving other people in your crime was precisely part of the Nazi method too. They forced an awful lot of prisoners to participate in the dehumanization of other prisoners. Raping their souls, forcing them to share in the horrifying guilt, seemed to be as important to the Nazis as raping their bodies. This is pure Evil.

Actually, I think bloggers turning over all the rocks and exposing all the filth underpinning our society are among some of the BEST things we can do. Talk alot. Blog alot. Scream alot. Refuse to be ignored. Change minds and hearts everywhere, and "law" will follow.

Everyone was horrified at all the scandal the Catholi Church was recently exposed to, but exposure was EXACTLY the thing it needed to clean it out. We have a bigger job with all of society and its filty "culture of death". Everything that's been hidden will be exposed. We need to bleach everything in the light of day.

Posted by: Suzanne. at April 16, 2005 2:33 PM

Good we now have a secretary in our excellent Juleni. I am praying for Clara now, will pray Chaplet for her and Mae and also make them my Mass intention. I'm also getting my housework done with liberal blogs breaks.

Has any one else any ideas on how to build protection for the vulnerable, which is probably all of us.

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 16, 2005 2:35 PM

Take notes Juleni. "Campaign to end all notions that lives are up for litigation and food and water are optional at any time.

Anybody have any more?

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 16, 2005 2:39 PM

Alright, if that's all the ideas we have that is fine. You don't need much to start; things come in their own time.

But now WE must START. Some of us have already started the search for people to comprise guardian groups. And that leaves everything else which hasn't been addressed at all.

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 16, 2005 3:27 PM


Must post this here in reply to your comment above. It was such a good comment, and you are saying that lives should not be litigated. I agree with you; so does Mary et.al. So does Clara's mother's pastor from what I read of the original article about Clara.

I understood better what you were saying above, once I had gone to your blogsite to see how you were thinking it possible to promote (in our poor mixed up country) that everyone deserves to eat and drink (like that should even be a question in the first place!) and that people should not even have the right to refuse food and drink. But yes, I remember Argentina now, thanks to your blog and your blogsite! Argentina's example (as posted earlier by Anna Nordin a few days ago) is a shining light!

How could we begin to go about promoting this idea everywhere, legally, culturally, constitutionally (in addition to blogging, which I think you are right is a big part of it)?

I am trying to put together action item ideas to send to life groups, to Father Pavone who helped Terri's family, to Citizens United Resisting Euthanasia, Right to Life, etc. concerning the cases of withdrawing food and liquids here in our country.

I want your thought concerning it not even being a question of if it is allowable to withhold food and water to be at the forefront of what I send out.

Posted by: juleni at April 16, 2005 6:52 PM


I thought Beth was the one running the site, but I could be way off on that.
She was the one screening and moderating the comments several weeks back and most people at the time seemed to be referring to her, so I may have gotten a wrong sense of authority from that.

Posted by: Vanessa at April 16, 2005 7:47 PM


I guess I am confused what Blogs for Terri has become to be honest. Starving someone to death against their wishes is wrong yes. What if this is truly what they want and a family member doesn't like it?. Are we going to interfer?. Where are the lines drawn?

Posted by: Julie at April 16, 2005 11:36 PM


I am a jew and many of my people suffered mainly because of the Catholic churchs restraint. Sorry if this offends some but this is the truth. They knew what Hitler planned and did. They never stopped it. This is why the recently deceased Pope has had to apologize so much to the jewish people. I see the relatives of the deceased from those concentration camps on tv, in our temples, etc. Most jews know what a horrific ordeal Terri suffered.

Restraint is necessary because there will be cases where the patient/person did sincerely want to die in such a manner. If we interfer in such a process where there are legitmate want to die cases, then we weaken the movement. There has to be a boundary where we save the helpless who do not want to suffer such a faith against interfering in a squable between family members against the persons wishes.

Posted by: Julie at April 16, 2005 11:57 PM

I hate to interrupt the string, but from the discussions that have occurred here in the last few weeks, I am considering putting a "Pro-Life Blogs" section in my blogroll ... I'd want to be able to list at least 10 verifiable blogs, then I would create this on my blog. Up to 20 blogs would be listed for spatial concerns.

I have commented here quite a bit. The reason I have avoided doing this (the Pro-life blogroll)just yet is that I wanted to first establish my blog on the web. It seems I have done that to my satisfaction at this point. Things are beginning to seem even more urgent, and I doubt it can wait much longer.

Please respond to rightwingrocker@verizon.net if you would like to be included. Thanks.


Posted by: RightWingRocker at April 17, 2005 2:43 AM

and Julie ...

I am proud to say that thanks to the efforts of Pope John Paul II, the kind of "restraint" you refer to with regard to the Catholic Church is not likely to re-occur.


Posted by: RightWingRocker at April 17, 2005 2:46 AM

RightWingRocker - please check out http://www.prolifeblogs.com - I'd be happy to work together with you on such a list.

Posted by: tim at April 17, 2005 3:27 AM

Julie - excellent question.

What if Terri Schiavo had a living will which said that she DID want to be starved to death if she was ever incapacitated? What if Michael Schiavo was always a loving and committed husband and there was no question about his character? How would the ethical arguments change?

What if prior to developing alzheimer's disease someone's living will said "in the case of disease or disability, I don't ever want assistance eating or breathing" ? Should the family feed him/her when the disease progresses?

I believe both the scenarios I've presented are cases of passive euthanasia in which a common treatment (is feeding a treatment?) is withheld for the purpose of ending life. Ethically there is no difference between this and active euthanasia in which a doctor simply ends life.

Does the morality of either situation change if the person asks to be euthanized? I do not believe it does. There is a lot more that can be written on this subject but I hope this gives you an idea of where BlogsforTerri is coming from.

I can't define all of the lines but will say that society should error on the side of life when in doubt.

The case of Clara is clearly involuntary euthanasia - she never asked to be starved to death.

Posted by: tim at April 17, 2005 3:48 AM

I think the whole question is moot, moot, moot. It would begger the word "masochism" to request death by starvation/dehydration. Shall we take a poll then? An honest poll with all the facts of starvation/dehydration and just one question--is this the method you want to end your life?

But this brings up another aspect of this. The choice to die is only a choice for those who have chosen to reject the cross that was given them. For Christians that is not a choice. Christians submit themselves to the Father in all things as Jesus did. That's what makes them Christians--following Christ.

If God does not force his will on us then we should not force our will on others either. Period, no arguement. But the problem is here, the problem we are fighting, is the imposition of some people's will on another person. ms wanted Terri to die this way. Beth Gaddy wanted Grandmama to die this way. Clara's husband wants her to die this way. Terri didn't ask for this, nor did Mae, nor did Clara. Nor would anyone outside the deepest bowels of an insane asylum, I am willing to bet.

The only thing left is whether or not we should step into cases of family killing family. Unless, of course, there is that very strange person who really, really wants to go this way and has made their wishes very public. Short of that, we are dealing with family killing family and the decision is do we or do we not have a mandate to step in. The only difference between being killed by a stranger or a family member is the added betrayal which is worse than being killed.

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 17, 2005 11:08 AM

I think the whole question is moot, moot, moot. It would begger the word "masochism" to request death by starvation/dehydration. Shall we take a poll then? An honest poll with all the facts of starvation/dehydration and just one question--is this the method you want to end your life?

But this brings up another aspect of this. The choice to die is only a choice for those who have chosen to reject the cross that was given them. For Christians that is not a choice. Christians submit themselves to the Father in all things as Jesus did. That's what makes them Christians--following Christ.

If God does not force his will on us then we should not force our will on others either. Period, no arguement. But the problem is here, the problem we are fighting, is the imposition of some people's will on another person. ms wanted Terri to die this way. Beth Gaddy wanted Grandmama to die this way. Clara's husband wants her to die this way. Terri didn't ask for this, nor did Mae, nor did Clara. Nor would anyone outside the deepest bowels of an insane asylum, I am willing to bet.

The only thing left is whether or not we should step into cases of family killing family. Unless, of course, there is that very strange person who really, really wants to go this way and has made their wishes very public. Short of that, we are dealing with family killing family and the decision is do we or do we not have a mandate to step in. The only difference between being killed by a stranger or a family member is the added betrayal which is worse than being killed.

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 17, 2005 11:08 AM