She is not dying. She has no terminal illness. She is not in a coma. She is not on life-support equipment. She is not alone, but rather has loving parents and siblings ready to care for her for the rest of her life. She has not requested death.
Yet a battle rages regarding whether Terri Schindler-Schiavo
should be starved. She has sustained brain injuries and cannot speak or eat
normally. Nevertheless, the only tube attached to her is a small, simple,
painless feeding tube that provides her nourishment directly to her digestive
Her legal guardian is her husband, who already has another
woman -- by whom he also has children. He wants Terri s feeding tube removed. Of
course, he could simply allow her to be cared for by her parents and siblings,
and get on with his life, but he refuses.
I have had two opportunities to visit Terri, most recently on
the first Sunday of February. I have been able to talk to her, to listen to her
struggle to speak, to watch her focus her eyes and smile and attempt to kiss her
parents. I have prayed with her, blessed her, and assured her that she has many
friends around the country and around the world, who love her and want her to
enjoy the same protections we all enjoy, even when we re wounded.
News articles have recently characterized Terri s situation by
saying that some want to "keep her alive against her husband s wishes." But
Terri is not dying. What does "keeping her alive" mean, if not the same thing as
keeping you and me alive -- that is, by giving us adequate food, shelter, and
Some say that Terri s family should "let her go." But this is
not a matter of "letting her go," because she isn t "going" anywhere. If,
however, she is deprived of nourishment, then she would slowly die in the same
way that any of us would slowly die if we were deprived of nourishment. It is
If the courts permit that to happen, then why should that
permission apply only in Terri s case? There would be no way to limit it to her
case alone. Countless others would follow, and their deaths would be described
as "letting them die" instead of "killing them." Where, indeed, does the state
get the authority to starve people? Court decisions permitting this lack all
authority, as Pope John Paul II teaches in "The Gospel of Life" (section 72).
These decisions cannot be obeyed, because they are not binding on the conscience
and are in fact acts of violence.
At the present time, there are two simple things you can do.
Educate your neighbors about this situation. Visit our website,
www.priestsforlife.org, and click on the "Terri
Schiavo" link. Second, contact anyone you know in Florida and ask them
to encourage their Governor and state legislators to continue doing everything
possible to save Terri s life.
For more information on this crucial case, visit
www.priestsforlife.org/terri. If you want educational cards on Terri s
situation, contact our orders department at email@example.com, or by
calling 888-PFL-3448, ext. 237, or by writing Orders Department, Priests for
Life, PO Box 141172, Staten Island, NY 10314.