Two Years Later, Terri Schiavo Case "Shoruded in Massive Ignorance"

Hilary White 

Document Publication:

Publication Date: April 02, 2007

April 2, 2007 ( - A year ago this weekend, March 31, marks the second anniversary of the death of Theresa Marie "Terri" Schiavo, who died after being denied nutrition and hydration for two weeks. The manner of death was certified as "undetermined". 

Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life and a friend of the Schindler family, said this weekend, "Terri's case remains shrouded in massive ignorance." 

Most mainstream media outlets claimed that Terri was "terminally ill" or "on life support" but she breathed without a respirator and doctors agreed that she was likely to live for many years. 

Pavone said, "She was brain-injured, and therefore some thought she was disposable. The cause of her death - dehydration - was deliberately introduced.  That's called killing. While there is such a thing as a useless treatment, there is no such thing as a useless life." 

In February 1990, Terri Schiavo collapsed under medical circumstances that were never fully explained. She was left disabled and dependent upon care and assisted nutrition and hydration. In 1998, her husband and legal guardian, Michael Schiavo, petitioned the Pinellas County Circuit Court to remove her feeding tube.  

Terri's parents fought the order, however, saying that she responded to them and was conscious. After seven years, 14 legal appeals; innumerable motions, petitions, investigations, and hearings; legislation passed and overturned and even appeals from the Vatican, Michael Schiavo won the final case and Terri died March 31, 2005, after surviving two weeks without fluids. 

Letters and appeals poured in from around the world to try to save her, and the Terri Schiavo case became synonymous with the struggle between the euthanasia movement and advocates of the sanctity of life.  

Cardinal Renato Martino, head of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, begged Florida officials to allow Terri to live. "She will die a horrible and cruel death," The Cardinal said, "She will not simply die; she will have death inflicted upon her over a number of terrible days even weeks . . . how is it that this woman, who has done nothing wrong, will suffer a fate which society would never tolerate in the case of a convicted murderer or anyone else convicted of the most horrendous crimes?" 

Shortly after Terri's death, Fr. Pavone, who was with her up to five minutes before, recalled, "Do you know that police officers were standing over that bed at every moment, every moment - armed police officers - making sure we didn't dip our hands in that water and put it on her tongue. Armed police officers enforcing the culture of death." 

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