Pavone: Politicians’ Stance on Schiavo Outrageous
The North Country Gazette
Serving New York State and Beyond
November 6, 2007
Two and half years ago, Terri Schindler Schiavo died as a result of the long,
painful and barbaric process of the court-ordered execution by starvation when
her estranged husband Michael Schiavo removed her feeding tube which provided
her nutrition and hydration.
Now, the Republican presidential candidates are expressing opposition to the
Congressional review in the Schiavo case, and former U.S. Senator Fred Thompson,
who is apparently courting Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, one of the biggest
obstructionists to justice in the Schiavo case, has taken his acting to new
levels, clearly showing he flipflops to endorse whatever position he thinks will
rank highest in the court of public opinion.
First Thompson claimed he didn’t remember anything about the Schiavo case,
now he’s trying to claim he can equate with it due to the death of his daughter
following a drug overdose. He’s trying to compare apples to oranges and his
dishonesty in the Schiavo case is exactly why the nation shouldn’t elect him as
Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, is speaking out
about the politicians’ stance in the Schiavo case on You Tube. “Some of our
politicians are saying that Congress should not have gotten involved…….shouldn’t
have been at the bedside of Terri Schiavo, interfering in the medical decisions
of her family, this is completely outrageous”, Pavone says. He says
politicians need to learn the facts of the Schiavo case before they make such
“These politicians don’t know the first thing about what happened to
Terri….It wasn’t a matter of medical decisions made in the privacy of the
family’s own home. This was killing somebody. This was killing the disabled.
Terri wasn’t dying, she didn’t need medical treatment. Terri was starved,
dehydrated to death. And politicians are saying this isn’t the business of the
“Politicians need to protect the disabled, they need to rethink the purpose
of government”, Fr. Pavone says.
Bobby Schindler, Terri’s brother, says he believes that Republican candidates
don’t understand his sister’s case and aren’t fully informed. “There obviously
exists a lot of confusion about my sister’s situation”.
The disabled Florida woman had committed no crime, she just received food and
water in an alternative manner than the norm. Judge George Greer, a probate
court judge, one of the lowest rungs on the judicial ladder, even refused to
allow that Terri be given food and water by natural means after the feeding tube
had been removed. Florida Statutes specifically prohibit anyone from denying an
individual food and water. Many called it court-sanctioned murder and it
has set a dangerous precedent for the rest of the country allowing family
members or guardians who believe an individual can no longer be productive in
society to simply get a court order to end their life.
In what was called the Palm Sunday Compromise, the U.S. House passed a bill
203-58 that transferred jurisdiction of the Schiavo case to a U.S. District
Court for a federal judge to review. A total of 47 Democrats joined 156
Republicans in voting for the bill. The Senate approved the bill by voice vote.
The bill sought to protect the constitutional rights of a disabled person and
was designed to allow a de novo review of the Schiavo case, to reinsert her
feeding tube until a new, impartial and thorough review of the case could be
heard, much like a habeas corpus proceeding in a criminal case. In signing the
bill, President Bush said it would “allow Federal courts to hear a claim by or
on behalf of Terri Schiavo for violation of her rights relating to the
withholding or withdrawal of food, fluids or medical treatment necessary to
sustain her life”.
“In cases like this one”, the President said, “where there are serious
questions and substantial doubts, our society, our laws and our courts should
have a presumption in favor of life”.
“When a person’s intentions regarding whether to receive lifesaving treatment
are unclear, the responsibility of a compassionate nation is to affirm that
person’s right to life,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman James
Sensenbrenner, R-Wis. “In our deeds and public actions, we must build a culture
of life that welcomes and defends all human life.”
Compassion has suddenly become a dirty word in our Republic as the media and
others are trying to make the Schiavo case a piranha in the 2008 presidential
campaign. The Republicans didn’t exploit Terri Schiavo. Michael Schiavo did
and the public and media as well as some politicos seem to forget that the
Senate vote to save the life of the brain damaged woman, or at least take a
fair, honest and impartial look at the medical and legal decisions made in the
case, was unanimous.
Democrats as well as Republicans in the Senate voted for the case to have a
de novo review in federal court.
Fr. Pavone became a familiar figure in the court-ordered dehydration of Terri
Schiavo. He was one of the few people who was on Terri’s visitors’ list and
therefore able to access her room. He appeared frequently in the media on the
family’s behalf during the ordeal. Following Terri’s passing, Fr. Pavone was
blunt in his description of her final hours as “an agony unlike anything I have
ever seen” and has since not backed down from his characterization of her death
Fr. Pavone had witnessed Terri’s final hours at her bedside and in a letter
to Michael Schiavo, following her passing, he reiterated his previous statement
that Michael Schiavo is a murderer and called on him to “embrace a life of
repentance” and to seek forgiveness.“Some have demanded that I apologize to you
for calling you a murderer” the priest wrote. “Not only will I not apologize, I
will repeat it again. Your decision to have Terri dehydrated to death was a
decision to kill her”.
In his open letter to Michael Schiavo on the first anniversary of Terri’s
death, Pavone said “A year ago this week, I stood by the bedside of the woman
you married and promised to love in good times and bad, in sickness and health.
She was enduring a very bad time, because she hadn’t been given food or drink in
nearly two weeks. And you were the one insisting that she continue to be
deprived of food and water, right up to her death. I watched her face for hours
on end, right up to moments before her last breath. Her death was not peaceful,
nor was it beautiful. If you saw her too, and noticed what her eyes were doing,
you know that to describe her last agony as peaceful is a lie. “This week, tens
of millions of Americans will remember those agonizing days last year, and will
scratch their heads trying to figure out why you didn’t simply let Terri’s mom,
dad, and siblings take care of her, as they were willing to do. They offered
you, again and again, the option to simply let them care for Terri, without
asking anything of you. But you refused and continued to insist that Terri’s
feeding be stopped. She had no terminal illness. She was simply a disabled woman
who needed extra care that you weren’t willing to give.
“I speak to you on behalf of the tens of millions of Americans who still
wonder why. I speak to you to express their anger, their dismay, their outraged
astonishment at your behavior in the midst of this tragedy. Most people will
wonder about these questions in silence, but as one of only a few people who
were eyewitnesses to Terri’s dehydration, I have to speak.
“I have spoken to you before, not in person, but through mass media. Before
Terri’s feeding tube was removed for the last time, I appealed to you with
respect, asking you not to continue on the road you were pursuing, urging you to
reconsider your decisions, in the light of the damage you were doing. I invited
you to talk. But you did not respond.
“Then, after Terri died, I called her death a killing, and I called you a
murderer because you knew — as we all did — that ceasing to feed Terri would
kill her. We watched, but you had the power to save her. Her life was in your
hands, but you threw it away, with the willing cooperation of attorneys and
judges who were as heartless as you were. Some have demanded that I apologize to
you for calling you a murderer. Not only will I not apologize, I will repeat it
again. Your decision to have Terri dehydrated to death was a decision to kill
her. It doesn’t matter if Judge Greer said it was legal. No judge, no court, no
power on earth can legitimize what you did. It makes no difference if what you
did was legal in the eyes of men; it was murder in the eyes of God and of
millions of your fellow Americans and countless more around the world. You are
the one who owes all of us an apology.
“Your actions offend us. Not only have you killed Terri and deeply wounded
her family, but you have disgraced our nation, betrayed the Gospel of Jesus
Christ, and undermined the principles that hold us together as a civilized
society. You have offended those who struggle on a daily basis to care for loved
ones who are dying, and who sometimes have to make the very legitimate decision
to discontinue futile treatment. You have offended them by trying to confuse
Terri’s circumstances with theirs. Terri’s case was not one of judging treatment
to be worthless — which is sometimes the case; rather, it was about judging a
life to be worthless, which is never the case.
“You have made your mark on history, but sadly, it is an ugly stain. In the
name of millions around the world, I call on you to embrace a life of
repentance, and to ask forgiveness from the Lord, who holds the lives of each of
us in His hands”.
Terri’s parents, Mary and Robert Schindler Sr., brother Bobby and sister
Suzanne battled Michael Schiavo in court for nearly 10 years, arguing that she
was not in a persistent vegetative state as Greer had decreed. Her family, who
knew her the best, said she would not want to die in such a manner.
Although Congress passed a bill that Palm Sunday two years ago and President
Bush quickly signed it into law that should have granted Terri’s family a de
novo review of their case in the federal courts, there was no de novo review.
The legislative intent of the bill was for the feeding tube to be reinserted
while the matter was reviewed in the federal courts. However, the courts refused
to grant an injunction to stop Greer’s death order and the family did not
receive the full review of the case in the court as Congress and the President
The parents repeatedly met with defeat in the courts in their efforts to save
their daughter’s life. Michael Schiavo said that she would not want to live by
artificial means. However, Terri’s demonstrated will to live strongly dispelled
that assertion and was grounds by itself for the reinsertion of the tube.
The tube’s removal resulted in a slow, agonizing death by dehydration over 13
days while the whole world watched, horrified that such a cruel and unusual
punishment could occur in our free Republic—sanctioned, endorsed and yes,
ordered by the courts—against a person who had done no wrong, who was a victim
of the system and maybe of her husband. Michael Schiavo destroyed every
semblance of not only Terri’s right to privacy but her family’s by taking the
matter into court initially in 1998.
Suzanne said her sister had “shown the world what perseverance and
determination are all about.”
The euthanasia cult needed a guinea pig to set the stage to rid society of
what they perceive are burdens to the system of Social Security, to Medicare and
Medicaid. Terri Schindler-Schiavo was a test case-a foundation for the culture
of death to rid society of escalating health care costs and the ever rising
related costs by eliminating society of the disabled, the elderly and those who
“strain” the system….those who become burdens on their families. Not all
families in today’s society are as loving and caring as the Schindlers.
“Terri unwittingly became a worldwide celebrity for right-to-life causes of
disabled persons. “She showed us how to live. She showed us the gift of life and
how we should share it,” said Monsignor Thaddeus Malanowski who gave Terri her
More Clippings from 2007