Terri Schiavo’s Parents Say Killing Her Would Violate Her Catholic Beliefs

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 22, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Terri Schiavo’s Parents Say Killing Her Would Violate Her Catholic Beliefs

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
July 22, 2004

Clearwater, FL (LifeNews.com) — An attorney who represents Terri Schiavo’s parents is trying a new legal approach in the battle to save the disabled woman from being euthanized by her estranged husband. Bob and Mary Schindler say Terri would not want to die because it violates her Catholic religious beliefs.

Pat Anderson, the Schindler’s attorney, filed a motion in the Sixth Judicial Circuit on Tuesday citing recent comments by Pope John Paul II against the withdrawal of food and water for disabled patients in situations such as Terri’s.

"As a practicing Catholic … who was raised in the Church and who received 12 years of religious schooling and instruction, Terri does not want to commit a sin of the gravest proportion by foregoing treatment," the motion states.

In the motion, Anderson says the withdrawal of food and water would be an act of euthanasia and violate Terri’s religious beliefs.

In a speech in March, the Pope stated that "A man, even if seriously ill or disabled in the exercise of his highest functions, is and always will be a man, and he will never become a ‘vegetable’ or an ‘animal’."
The Pope went on to say "administration of food and water, even when provided by artificial means, always represents a natural means of preserving life, not a medical act."

"Death by starvation or dehydration is, in fact, the only possible outcome as a result of their withdrawal. In this sense, it ends up becoming, if done knowingly and willingly, true and proper euthanasia by omission," the Pope explained.

However, George Felos, the euthanasia advocate who is Michael Schiavo’s attorney, claims it is impossible to tell what Terri’s wishes would have been and disputed that the Catholic Church has an official position on removing food and water from patients.

"It would be pure speculation to guess what Terri might say or think about the current theological discussion in the Catholic Church about tube feeding," he told the Associated Press.

Terri’s parents say they know their daughter would not want to be killed.

Terri is not on life support or in a so-called vegetative state, but requires a gastric tube to receive food and water. Terri’s husband Michael, who is living with another woman and has two children with her, is seeking to overturn a state law that saved her live and cause her death via starvation.

Related web sites:
Anderson’s motion – https://zimp.org/documents/071904motion.pdf
Pope John Paul II’s statement on Life-Sustaining Treatment –
Terri Scvhiao’s parents – https://www.terrisfight.org