Pro-Euthanasia Group Uses Terri Schiavo Case to Expand Membership

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 10, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Euthanasia Group Uses Terri Schiavo Case to Expand Membership

by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 10, 2003

Pinellas Park, FL ( — The pro-euthanasia group End-of-Life Choices, formerly the Hemlock Society, has started a $60,000 ad campaign in Florida, using the plight of Terri Schiavo as a way to make its case and expand its membership.

David Brand, chief-executive-officer of End-of-Life Choices, said his group started the campaign because it was concerned that state residents would no longer use living wills or advance directives as a result of the state legislature’s decision to pass Terri’s Law, allowing Governor Bush to ask doctors to reinsert Terri’s feeding tube.

The campaign includes newspaper ads in Tallahassee, Orlando, Tampa and Miami, and speeches throughout the state this week by officials of the pro-assisted suicide group.

"Today’s headlines are full of the pain of unspoken wishes," one newspaper ad reads. "Save your loved ones the anguish of making a difficult decision when you are unable to speak for yourself."

Pat Anderson, attorney for Terri’s parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, said she was disappointed the group chose to use Terri’s case as a springboard to advocating that disabled persons like Terri be killed.

"Floridians need to know that this is the Hemlock Society with a new name, and they are trying to hide their pro-euthanasia agenda," Anderson told the Associated Press. "They are using Terri Schiavo to promote euthanasia."

"Terri is a victim and they are victimizing her a second time," Anderson told WorldNetDaily.

"Terri should not have to pass a test to be able to live. Even if Terri never gets one bit better than she is today, her parents love her and want to care for her. The fact is they’re capable of loving their disabled daughter and, perhaps to these ghouls, that’s an incomprehensible concept."

Brand said his group changed its name to be more specific about its mission.

However, pro-life organizations say the organization spends its time promoting assisted suicide rather than pain relief for patients or helping them find hospice care to reduce the desire to end their life.

They say the real battle is the fight to obtain lifesaving medical treatment when it is denied — in cases like Terri’s, that of Jason Childress and others.

Nancy Valko, a representative of Nurses for Life, says the media needs to hold the organization more accountable.

"Where is the media curiosity about the funding behind Hemlock’s expensive campaigns, such as that in Maine when voters were considering an assisted suicide bill," Valko asked.

In Maine, the pro-assisted suicide group "Death with Dignity" waged an aggressive $2 million campaign in favor of a referendum legalizing the grisly practice. It received 95 percent of its funding from the National Hemlock Society and its allies, as well as from individual Hemlock Society members from around the country.

The real goal of End-of-Life Choices appears to be government funding of euthanasia, Valko explains.

Faye Girsh, executive director of the former Hemlock Society, said her groups supports Medicaid funding for assisted-suicides.

"It should be like any other medical procedure," she said.

Related web sites:
Terri Schiavo’s family –