LANCASTER, ON., April 24, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In a moving talk Saturday at a conference organized by Alliance for Life Ontario, Bobby Schindler, brother of the late Terri Schiavo, fingered the mainstream media as having a frightening influence upon the value of life in today’s culture.
Schindler said, “What happened to Terri is an attitude of non-person, this whole attitude of quality of life which has taken hold of our country. It is really frightening, and I think it is going to get much worse before it gets better. Leading the charge is a very strong, influential, slanted media.”
The still grieving brother, who says that he will accept speaking engagements anywhere to warn about the travesty that happened to his sister, emphasized that her death “was about a very strong and aggressive euthanasia movement that has taken hold of our country. Our family was blindsided. We had no idea what we were up against.”
Bobby told his listeners they must not naively believe that Terri’s case is unusual. “Although Terri’s case made international headlines, this type of thing is happening each day, quietly across the country.” “The underlying issue here is money,” said Schindler. “As Ken Connor (the lawyer for Jeb Bush) said: We are living in a culture where the sanctity of life ethic is being eroded and we begin to look at the net worth of an individual based on cost-benefit ratio.”
Although he never spoke with bitterness, throughout his talk Bobby had little positive to say about the popular media’s handling of his sister’s illness and their role in propagating this quality of life mentality.
“It is fascinating to see the ways they can report a story to over-simplify it. The media misreported and didn’t report an enormous amount of facts in the case.”
He stated it was rarely reported, for example, that there were 25 national disability groups standing with the Schiavo family trying to stop the killing of Terri, for the media did not want to recognize her as a disabled person.
Instead, he said, they consistently applied the label of Persistent Vegetative State to her condition which he considers absolutely false. “We never for a moment believed that Terri was in a PVS condition.”
“PVS is something that needs to be abolished… It is a completely subjective diagnosis, based entirely upon the interpretation of the doctor.” To drive this point home, Schindler referred to a recent British study which concluded that PVS is misdiagnosed 43 % of the time.
The media also repeatedly referred to Terri as being on artificial life support. “This confused the public” said Bobby. “They never said that she was receiving food and water. In the eyes of the law in our country, food and water are now considered medical treatment, extraordinary care. Feeding tubes are now seen as other than basic care.”
Schindler also slammed media polls before and during Terri’s slow, forced death by starvation and dehydration. “There were polls released about my sister that were slanted and so general that if they had asked me I probably would have voted in favour of killing my sister too. It was ridiculous the way some of these polls were worded.”
It was the total misrepresentation of the autopsy report that caused Bobby and his family the most grief. “It [the media] constantly reported that the autopsy report confirmed that Terri was in a PVS condition.” Yet the report states very clearly that PVS cannot be diagnosed from a post-mortem state.
“The media used the autopsy report to do nothing but justify and rationalize Michael killing my sister. In fact it got so bad that the media was actually asking my family to apologize to Michael Schiavo for what we put him through” he stated.
Fr. Frank Pavone, head of priests for life stated after Terri’s death that “Terri did not die from an atrophy of the brain, she died from an atrophy of compassion.”
“We in America have gotten things completely backwards,” said Bobby, “where the media now reports what Michael did as the compassionate thing to do. We are even giving awards to Judge Greer and Michael Schiavo for their courage and compassion.”
“Yet we watched my sister die in a horrific and barbaric manner. This notion that her death was peaceful and painless is the most offensive and appalling thing that I’ve heard spoken from the other side’s mouth. But is it something that they have to say because they can never report the truth, just like they would never allow videos being shown of abortions taking place.”
Bobby also spoke of his disappointment with the local churches. “We got very little support from our Catholic Church in our diocese. There were very few Catholic bishops that spoke out about my sister’s case, which is allowing this movement to move forward. The church needs to speak out about what is happening in America.”
He did, however, speak very highly of Pope John Paul II and his excellent statement at the end of 2004 on end of life and palliative care.
Bobby ended his moving presentation with a challenge to the pro-life community to build a coalition with the disabled community. “The pro-life community has been fighting so hard against abortion that this euthanasia movement has been flying under the radar and changing laws, and they are in place now and now we have to go back and try and change them back to what they once were.”
The Schindler family has started a foundation to fight to prevent these atrocities from happening to other vulnerable Americans. (See www.terrisfight.org website)