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March 22, 2006

Bobby Schindler - Part II - Terri Schiavo and the Culture of Death Movement

Topics: Bobby Schindler, Remembering Terri

Bobby_schindler_march_for_life.jpgThis post is the second part of several containing the full-text of a speech given by Bobby Schindler to an audience in Phoenix, AZ. Of course, these details and much more can be read by simply ordering a copy A Life that Matters.

Bobby Schindler - Part II - Terri Schiavo's Life and Death

"Inasmuch as you have done it for the least of My brothers, you have done it unto Me."

The media decided what to report, what not to report, what to verify and what not to verify. I'm sure that during this five-year ordeal to save my sister not many of you knew that there were over a dozen local and national disability organizations that were supporting my sister's right to life. That is because it was rarely, if ever reported. On the other hand, I've lost count how many times the press reported the statements of Michael's attorney, George Felos, when he would complain that my family was backed by anti-abortionist, religious and right wing extremist - labeling my family as radicals.

The press refused to acknowledge the voice of the disability community because they did not want the public to recognize Terri as a woman with disabilities. However, advocates of the disabled knew the reality of what was happening to my sister, which was the purposeful killing of an innocent disabled woman whose only crime was unable to bring a spoon to her mouth.

And subsequent to the autopsy report the media's distortion of Terri's condition only got worse. It still astonishes me that this exhausting fifteen year battle was for one simple reason - we wanted to bring Terri home and care for her.

You can begin to appreciated why the battle was so extremely difficult after considering the apathy of the public to references by Michael Schiavo's attorney that my sister was a "houseplant" and recent admissions to a Florida newspaper that Terri's case is "one isolated case out of --- tens of thousands over the years." Or when the Attorney General of Florida - Charlie Crist, who is now going to run for governor of Florida, recently referred to Judge George Greer as a 'hero' for ordering the death of my sister, you might begin to realize why my family had to fight as hard as we did to care for a family member. What makes it even more deplorable is that Charlie Crist pretends to call himself "pro-life".

Maybe I shouldn't be surprised with what is taking place in our nation. The fact of the matter is my sister was starved to death despite a loving family willing to care for her, and a husband that had enormous conflicts of interest. We have clearly slid down a very slippery slope, having been sold a bill of goods to accept this "quality of life mentality", and are starving human beings to death. Something that is a felony if you do to your family pet is now happening everyday with little to no public protest or outrage. I am reminded of a Dutch journalist who recently said,

"It took just one generation to turn a war crime into an act of compassion."
Why has this happened? Ironically, I believe one of the reasons was because of the advancements in medical technology that keeps people alive longer than ever before. As a result, the insurance and health care industry became financially motivated to engineer a way to make it easier to kill people in situations like my sister's, not wanting to pay the money to keep people like her alive. With this mentality, it was their objective to somehow make it possible to kill these people that were essentially occupying valuable bed space. Therefore, the insurance and health care industry had to somehow skillfully orchestrate a change in attitude to make this way of killing not only legal, but acceptable by society. This has been happening for probably twenty years or so, and as a result of this well organized scheme, we are losing the war on euthanasia.

I believe a big reason this was able to happened, virtually unopposed, is that most of the attention has been given to abortion (which it should have been) by our friends in the pro-life movement.

Meanwhile the health care industry, working together with many pro-euthanasia groups, have been flying under the radar, endlessly working together to change state laws to make it a relatively straightforward process to kill persons with disabilities.
Groups working side by side with the insurance industry and health care community include euthanasia attorneys, activist judges, bioethicists, bioethicists at our college universities (which I will get to in a moment), state lawmakers, and, one of the most powerful influences, the mainstream media.

Essentially, their work has legally qualified people like my sister for death by dehydration if two requirements are met:

  • One is that the person has an irreversible condition, which in Florida and I believe now in most states, is referred to as being in a Persistent Vegetative State or PVS (more on this in a moment).

  • Second, the patient has expressed their intention or wishes - this can be in a written document or, in some states like Florida, a verbal end of life directive if it can be proven that the patient made such a wish.

In Terri's case, the second point was considered during the original death case in January 2000 in front of Judge George Greer of Pinellas County Florida. This judge found credible the hearsay testimony of Michael Schiavo, his brother and his sister-in-law, that Terri made this alleged death wish when she was in her early 20's. Incidentally, Schiavo's family surfaced just weeks before the trial began, and almost a decade after Terri collapsed. At the same time, the judge found my mother, father, sister, me, Terri's best friend growing up, and Terri's closest friend in Florida, all --- not credible.

The judge also ignored my testimony, and that of Terri's co-worker and closest friend, that Terri was considering a divorce (prior to her collapse) and that Michel was not only controlling, but emotional abusive.

Along with the hearsay testimony that Terri allegedly made a death wish in her early twenties, Michel brought in two doctors that testified that Terri was PVS, which believe it or not, is basically all it took for the judge to decide that Terri could die by dehydration and starvation.

You now have all that you need in most if not all states to remove a feeding tube.

The reason feeding tubes can now be removed is that most, if not all, states no longer consider the feeding tube "basic care" but designate it as "medical care".

And since feeding tubes are, at least legally, looked upon as medical treatment, they can be removed as a result of either the patient's written instructions or the ruling of a judge (e.g., my sister's case).

(Incidentally, the success or failure of the euthanasia movement is in large part based on the designation of feeding tubes as a medical treatment. According, state law makers should be trying to change the law)

Next Section: Part III - Legalized Killing: The PVS Diagnosis

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Visit: TerrisFight.org - consider supporting the Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation (click here)

Related: The Schindlers describe in much greater detail the events leading to Terri's death in A Life that Matters.

Posted by tim at March 22, 2006 11:44 AM

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