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Terri Schiavo
News and Comments


Posted March 24, 2005

The Other Terris by Richard Stith

Posted March 23, 2005
To the editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Dear Editor,
I'm a nurse. I don't have a living will. And I don't want to be starved and dehydrated to death if I become incapacitated.

So how do I refuse my "right to die?"

Terri Schiavo also didn't have a living will -- just like Nancy Cruzan, Steven Becker, Christine Busalacchi and many others-but that has never been considered an impediment to the slow death by dehydration I would like to avoid.

I would also like to avoid the quality of my life from being judged too low by the so-called experts who call lethal injection executions "cruel and barbaric" killings by the state but who also extol the allegedly painless, even euphoric process of starvation and dehydration that somehow doesn't really cause death in non-dying, disabled people. Even though starvation and dehydration apparently does cause death for abused animals and poverty-stricken citizens of third world countries.

And this is the real heart of the matter. Three decades ago, we were still disturbed by the termination of "useless eaters" in 1930s Germany. Now we are told that choosing such a death is a wonderful "right to die" that everyone should prefer to a dependent, unattractive, expensive life that will burden loved ones.

Sorry, but I'm a nurse who knows that "better dead than disabled" is a lethal form of discrimination that is unworthy of a civilized society.

Nancy Valko, RN
Missouri Nurses for Life

Posted February 25, 2005
Read University of Florida Student Petition to Judge Greer. - Broken Link

Posted February 23, 2005
Press release from 7/28/2003 by the Catholic Medical Association

Posted January 26, 2005

U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to hear challenge of Florida Court ruling in Terri Schiavo Case
by Helen Hull Hitchcock
January 24, 2005

The United States Supreme Court today refused without comment to hear the State of Florida's challenge of a decision by the Florida Supreme Court to declare unconstitutional a Florida state law that could save Terri Schindler Schiavo from death by starvation and dehydration.

Washington attorney Robert Destro, representing Florida, told justices to consider "the most vulnerable of our citizens who cannot speak for themselves." (The case is Jeb Bush v. Michael Schiavo, 04-757.)

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), who filed a brief on behalf of Ms. Schiavo's parents, Mary and Robert Schindler, expressed concern that the nation's highest court declined to consider Florida Governer Jeb Bush's petition to take the case.

The Supreme Court's refusal to hear the case leaves few options in the intense legal battle by the Schindlers to save the life of their daughter, who suffered serious brain damage in 1990, and whose husband, Michael Schiavo, wants to remove the feeding tube that supplies her with nutrition and hydration.

Governor Bush acting under "Terri's Law," ordered feeding and hydration tubes to be restored to Terri after a Florida trial court had ordered them removed. Michael Schiavo did not file any arguments with the court, but his attorney had accused Florida leaders of engaging in delaying tactics to prevent Terri Schiavo from carrying out her right to die.

On behalf of the Schindlers, the ACLJ urged the state's highest court in Bush v. Schiavo to reverse a lower court ruling that struck down "Terri's Law" as unconstitutional. In September 2004, the Florida Supreme Court upheld the lower court decision.

The ACLJ counsel, Jay Sekulow, said today, ""It is very disappointing that the Supreme Court has refused to enter into a critically important case involving the life and death struggle of Terri Schiavo" . Sekulow is Chief Counsel of the ACLJ, which represented the Schindlers at the Supreme Court in their efforts to defend the emergency Florida legislation that saved their daughter's life.

"With the Supreme Court refusing to take the case, there are now fewer options available to protecting the life of Terri Schiavo and that's a real tragedy. By declaring 'Terri's Law' unconstitutional, the Florida courts have handed down a death sentence for her. We believe the Florida Governor and legislature acted constitutionally and appropriately in passing 'Terri's Law' - life-saving legislation that is at the center of the legal dispute. While there are still legal options available in Florida, the Supreme Court's refusal to take the case makes it more difficult for those legal options to prevail."

In its brief, the ACLJ said the decision by the Florida Supreme Court is an "astonishing and unprecedented ruling" and encouraged the high court to send the case back to the Florida Supreme Court for further clarification prior to accepting the case.

The ACLJ brief argued that the Florida Supreme Court acted unconstitutionally when it determined that once any court has issued a decree regarding the care and treatment of an incompetent person, neither the legislature nor the executive branch can take independent steps on behalf of the incompetent person's welfare.

The ACLJ brief said that Terri Schiavo is not in a "persistent vegetative state", as alleged by Michael Schiavo, that her condition is not terminal and untreatable, and that she is aware of her surroundings and does not want to die - especially by starvation and dehydration.

The American Center for Law and Justice specializes in constitutional law and the protection of human life. It is based in Washington, D.C. and its website address is <> .

Sources: ACLJ Disappointed Supreme Court Refuses to Take Terri Schiavo Case broken link 6/27/2005

Fla. loses appeal in Terri Schiavo case - Broken link

October 22, 2003
Press Release - The National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC)

The Terri Schiavo Case

Boston, MA - The National Catholic Bioethics Center has been following closely the Florida case of Terri Schiavo. The United States Catholic Bishops, in a 2001 document entitled Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, had this to say in Directive 58 about the provision of Medically assisted nutrition and hydration: "There should be a presumption in favor of providing nutrition and hydration to all patients, including patients who require medically assisted nutrition and hydration, as long as this is of sufficient benefit to outweigh the burdens involved to the patient." The above directive provides sure guidance to those having to make ethical decisions in this case. Based on the facts that we have at this time from media sources, the NCBC holds that the benefits of providing medically assisted nutrition and hydration would clearly outweigh the burdens in the case of Terri Schiavo.

The mission of the National Catholic Bioethics Center, founded in 1972, is to safeguard the dignity of the human person through research, education, publishing, and consultation in the health and life sciences.

The National Catholic Bioethics Center 159 Washington St. Boston MA 02135 - broken link

October 21, 2003

READ IT! Governor Bush Orders nutrition and hydration restored. See Executive Order issued today.
"This is a response to a tragic situation." Bush said. "People are responding to cries for help and I think it's legitimate." - Broken link
A state Senate panel approved legislation today that would allow Gov. Jeb Bush to order a feeding tube be reinserted in a brain-damaged woman in defiance of a court order that allowed her husband to remove the tube.

Regarding Expansion of Call of Special Session

TALLAHASSEE- "Today I extended the call of this special session to include legislation that may help in the case of Terri Schiavo. The proposed bill would allow for a stay in cases of withholding nutrition and hydration from patients in situations similar to that of Ms. Schiavo. President King, Speaker Byrd, and others in the Legislature recognize the unique and tragic circumstances of Ms. Schiavo's case, and I am hopeful the Legislature will pass a bill immediately."
From Terri's Fight:

October 20, 2003
Strong Euthanasia Warning from Holland -- Florida's Terri Case Opens the Door for Euthanasia in the USA

"Patients are not sure if the doctor helps to kill or to cure. The Dutch Euthanasia Law is a very dangerous example to follow".

Letters to Jeb Bush from Women for Faith and Family
Letter to Governor Bush - October 15, 2003.

Letter to Governor Bush - July 21, 2003.

Posted October 8, 2003
Gov. Jeb Bush steps in for Schindler-Schiavo:
Go to for additional information on the case. Please continue to pray for Terri and her family.

Posted September 18, 2003
Terri Schiavo Update
The feeding tube that has kept Terri Schiavo alive for more than a decade must be removed Oct. 15.
Go to for additional information on the case. Please continue to pray for Terri and her family.

Posted September 11, 2003
Update on Terri Schavio
"A judge put off a ruling Thursday on whether to remove a brain-damaged woman's feeding tube after her parents argued that she first should be given the chance to learn to eat." - Broken link

Posted September 10, 2003
Please visit for the complete update on Terri Schiavo. Please pray for Terri and her family as tomorrow Judge Lazzara decides whether to accept jurisdiction of the Federal suit, Judge Greer of Pinellas County will schedule the removal of Terri's nutrition and hydration in this hearing. Demonstrators will be present.


Posted August 28, 2003
Florida Bishops urge Safer Course for Terri Schiavo
Florida Bishops issued a statement 8/27/2003 regarding Terri Schiavo's case.
Go to: - Broken link

Posted August 27, 2003
Governor Bush intervenes in Schiavo case -- but Judge denies request
Florida Governor Jeb Bush asked Circuit Judge George W. Greer to delay removing the feeding-tube for Terri Schiavo so that a court-appointed guardian can "independently investigate the circumstances of this case and provide the court with an unbiased view that considers the best interests of Mrs. Schiavo."

But Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge George Greer was unmoved by the governor's August 25 letter. "I read [the request from Bush] because it came from the governor and I respect his position'', Greer said. "Beyond that, it is going in the file'', he told the Tampa Tribune.

Governor Bush said that he would not normally write a judge concerning a pending legal proceeding, but he said his office received 27,000 e-mails "reflecting understandable concern for the well being" of Mrs. Schiavo . (Women for Faith & Family wrote to Governor Bush asking for his intervention on July 21, 2003).

Michael Schiavo, who has been in a battle with his wife's parents over his wish to remove his wife's feeding-tube, told the Tampa Tribune that "The governor has deliberately twisted the facts in this case in an apparent effort to kowtow to his 'right-to-life' political supporters. This has nothing to do with him. He should stay out of it".

Sources (links may not be active):

World Net Daily story - August 26 --

Tampa Tribune story August 27: Judge Denies Bush's Request To Rehash Terri Schiavo Case

Governor Bush's letter -- - Broken link

October 23, 2003
"Georgetown Priest-ethicist says there's "no obligation" to feed Terri"
I watched Nightline (ABC) last night (Wed. October 22) and was outraged when Fr. Kevin Wildes, a Jesuit priest at Georgetown University, called Terri's feeding tube "extraordinary means" and that there is "no obligation to keep her alive". He cited the doctors who said Terri couldn't recover as the main factor in such decisions. Koppel brought up the conflicts about the husband but Wildes basically said we should trust the spouse because the courts did. This priest even defended the doctor who was reluctant to reinsert Terri's tube as properly "exercising his professional judgment." Most outrageously, Fr. Wildes denied that there is any "crisp line between life and death" and that "upwards of 80-85%" of Americans now "don't simply die" but rather they die "because people make choices about stopping treatment" and that Terri is just "one of those cases." The Catholic Church has many documents countering Wildes, including the Pope's 1998 statement and the Charter for Health Care Workers which clearly states: "The administration of food and liquids, even artificially, is part of the normal treatment always due to the patient when this is not burdensome for him: their undue suspension could be real and properly so-called euthanasia."

Unfortunately, Catholic "spokespersons" like Frs. Wilde, O'Rourke and others are the ones the media usually seeks out to give the Catholic viewpoint, especially when they disagree with Church principles.

By the way, Terri's husband's lawyer Felos who has talked Terri being "kidnapped" to restart her feedings reminds me of the more literal kidnapping involved in the Steven Becker case here in St. Louis in 2000. When a local Catholic hospital recommended withdrawal of feedings from this young, brain-injured man, both prolife and disability people picketed the hospital and Archbishop (now Cardinal) Rigali intervened with a statement citing Church documents and principles against withdrawal in cases like Steven's. But then the hospital allowed the wife to move Steven to an undisclosed location in the middle of the night where his feedings were withdrawn. An emergency court injunction was obtained to continue his feedings but the wife and her lawyers were suddenly unavailable-until they announced Steven's death several days later. And there wasn't a peep of outrage from the media.

Nancy Valko, RN

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