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April 11, 2006

Brother of Terri Schiavo Speaks on Rights of Disabled

Topics: Bobby Schindler, Euthanasia

Just a week over a year after his sister's court-ordered death, Bobby Schindler, the brother of Terri Schiavo, spoke to the students of Franciscan University of Steubenville. He came to rally support for the rights of those deemed to be in a "persistent vegetative state," a phrase Schindler finds offensive.

At a press conference on Thursday, April 6, at the University, Schindler talked about the Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation and fielded questions from reporters. "The way we treat people like my sister really reflects us as a society," Schindler said. He also spoke of a "very aggressive" euthanasia movement that focuses on quality of life using "dehumanizing" language.

Schindler fears that brain-injured people who have no one to speak for them will be killed after being handed over to the state. "What I saw that they did to my sister was absolutely horrific," Schindler said. "Our family feels that we need to speak out for those who can't speak for themselves."

As he addressed a packed Finnegan Fieldhouse on Thursday night, Schindler referenced the pre-Holocaust propaganda in Hitler's Germany that spoke of "life unworthy of life," a phrase eerily similar to the current "quality-of-life" debate. He pointed out that support for the Schindler family came not only from religious conservatives, but from disabled persons' groups as well.

Before more than 700 students, faculty, and visitors, Schindler issued a call to pro-life advocates to be a voice for the disabled community. "All life is sacred, and we can't treat people differently simply because they look differently or because they can't do everything we are able to do."

"When we talk about pro-life issues, we have to start including the euthanasia issue," Schindler continued. "We have to pay attention to what's happening with the disabled community and what's happening to the elderly, and how quickly we are writing them off because their quality of life has reached a point where society doesn't want to take care of them anymore."

Terri Schiavo died on March 31, 2005, from starvation and dehydration nearly two weeks after her feeding tube was removed. Her case triggered a tumultuous legal battle that drew round-the-clock media attention, climaxing with a Congressional intervention and a number of controversial judicial rulings. Terri and her family's story ignited a nationwide debate over end-of-life issues and disability rights.

Bobby Schindler's visit to Franciscan University helped raise nearly $1,000 for the Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation.

Posted by tim at April 11, 2006 6:42 AM


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