Pro-Life Advocates Applaud Delay in Starving Terri Schiavo to Death

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 23, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Advocates Applaud Delay in Starving Terri Schiavo to Death Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 23, 2005

Clearwater, FL ( — Pro-life advocates have been closely following the light of Terri Schiavo, the disabled woman at the center of a national euthanasia controversy.

They were delighted at yesterday’s news that a local judge had extended a stay preventing the removal of her feeding tube until additional legal questions can be examined.

"Thankfully, [Judge George Greer] has today seen fit to give [Terri] more time to live and her parents more time to defend her right to life," Focus on the Family founder Dr. James Dobson said.

"The courts, including Judge Greer’s, have no moral authority to cause a vulnerable, disabled person like Mrs. Schiavo to die due to dehydration — which will be the result if her feeding tube is removed," Dobson added.

"Today a crisis has been averted, but only for 48 hours. Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is to be applauded for his promise to defend Mrs. Schiavo’s life," Dobson said. "We pray that he, and those who stand with him, will be successful."

Mary Jane Owen, a longtime disability rights activist who has worked in Catholic circles to oppose assisted suicide and euthanasia, discussed the recent entrance of the Florida Department of Children and Families into the case.

The state agency is looking into a bone scan taken in September 1991 – more than a year after Terri collapsed in February 1990. The scan showed evidence of physical trauma that some say indicate Terri’s estranged husband Michael could have abused her.

The bone scan "revealed ‘a history of trauma,’ and co-workers reported bruises they thought might be caused by spousal abuse," Owen said.

"It would seem if unfounded accusations about his possible involvement in her disabilities
persisted Michael would want, at the very least, postmortem confirmation that she was not beaten," Owen explained. "Yet Michael has requested Terri be cremated immediately
following her death."

Owen continues to be concerned at how Judge Greer and the media are discussing Terri’s disabled condition.

"Those of us with disabilities weary of reading that Terri is in a persistent vegetative state," Owen says. "In 1998 she was seen for ten minutes by Dr. James Barnhill who testified she had no chance for recovery and was in a persistent vegetative state. Unfortunately Judge George Greer persists in ruling that many later and more intensive evaluations are irrelevant."

Later, internationally renown neurologist William M. Hammersfahu, MD found Terri was not in a coma or PVS state and said her condition would improve he she would be given the medical care and rehabilitative therapy Michael has denied.

"Michael Schiavo’s attorney, George Felos, a well-known promoter of euthanasia, insists this case is about withdrawing ‘artificial life support.’ Yet Terri breaths on her own, swallows pints of saliva a day and is fed by a low tech tube invented decades ago," Owens concluded.