Remembering Terri Schiavo, Involuntarily Euthanized 16 Years Ago

Brenna Lewis - 31 Mar 2021


Though our top priority, Students for Life of America is not only working to stop abortion in this country. We defend all innocent life from unnatural, systematic termination. Euthanasia is an increasingly urgent problem in the United States – now so more than ever.

Euthanasia is defined as the intentional ending of a person’s life, through direct action (called active euthanasia) or by omission (called passive euthanasia) usually motivated by a mercy for those in great pain or suffering from a terminal illness (though that doesn’t make it right). 

Terri Schiavo’s Story

In 1990, at the age of 26, Terri Schindler Schiavo suffered a mysterious cardio-respiratory arrest. To this day, doctors have still not discovered a cause for this respiratory attack. She was diagnosed with hypoxic encephalopathy – neurological injury caused by lack of oxygen to the brain and she was placed on a ventilator.

Terri was soon able to breathe on her own and maintain vital function. She remained in a severely compromised neurological state (a persistent vegetative state) and was provided a PEG tube to ensure the safe delivery of nourishment and hydration. Terri was kept alive by assisted feeding of food and water – the same things which keep us all alive.

In March of 2005, Terri’s family fought a court order her husband had filed to pull her feeding and hydration tubes and kill her. For thirteen days, her family with the pro-life community battled the courts in vain. On March 31, 2005, Terri Schindler Schiavo died of marked dehydration following more than thirteen days without nutrition or hydration under the order of Circuit Court Judge George W. Greer of the Pinellas-Pasco’s Sixth Judicial Court. Terri was 41.

Both euthanasia and abortion are based on a view of people that lacks dignity.  Pro-lifers view all life as precious, whether it is that of the elderly, the mentally ill, or the preborn. Pro-lifers recognize that life is an inalienable right regardless of state recognition. Those who call themselves “pro-choice” view life as not inherently valuable, but as a value given to a human being from a human source such as the government (quality of life, etc.).

Read more about Euthanasia & End of Life Issues here. 

The Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network

Following Terri’s unjust death, her family started an organization called The Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network. This organization exists “to serve medically vulnerable persons at risk of being marginalized rather than supported in love […] Since its founding in 2005, the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network has advocated and assisted more than 3,000 medically vulnerable patients and families.”

Additionally, Terri’s brother, Bobby Schindler, travels the country to give witness to the importance of upholding human dignity through service to the medically vulnerable through public speaking (in addition to serving as president of the organization).

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