Pro-Life Protesters Try to Bring Food to Terri Schiavo, Parents Urge Peace

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 19, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Protesters Try to Bring Food to Terri Schiavo, Parents Urge Peace

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 19, 2005

Washington, DC ( — Pro-life advocates are coming to southwest Florida to show their support for Terri Schiavo on her first day without her feeding tube. Some are trying to get past security officials to bring Terri food and water and Terri’s parents have asked those attempting to do so to be peaceful and prayerful.

Three men, led by longtime political activist "Bo" Gritz, were arrested on misdemeanor trespassing charges when they attempted to enter the Woodside Hospice where Terri lives to bring her food and water. Although Terri can’t eat or drink on her own, the supporters said the attempt was symbolic.

"I have come all the way from Idaho to offer food and water to my sister Terri," said Brandi Swindell, the director of a pro-life youth group who is one of the activists outside the hospice.
"I cannot walk away from her in good conscience without offering her the opportunity to live," Swindell added. "If that means I spent time in jail for this peaceful witness–it is a small price to pay."

Other activists have also indicated they will risk arrest, but a spokesman for Terri’s parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, said they want pro-life advocates to use legal means to support their daughter.

Paul O’Donnell, a Catholic Franciscan priest, said the Schindlers are "asking that the protests remain peaceful" and that they do not want supporters to engage in civil disobedience on Terri’s behalf.

O’Donnell said the Schindlers were inside the hospice with their daughter and wanted "everything to remain peaceful." According to the New York Times, he said the Schindlers were "devastated but hopeful."

Rev. Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition, called on more pro-life advocates to come to the Tampa area to support Terri and the Schindlers.

"We want a spiritual prayer witness sort of thing in Pinellas Park and a more political front in Tallahassee," Mahoney told the Times.

He also encouraged Governor Jeb Bush to visit Terri as her estranged husband Michael has facetiously invited him to do.

"It’s important for him as a chief executive to see what’s being done to one of his residents," Mr. Mahoney said. "Governor Bush might be her last practical hope. We believe he could take her into protective custody or otherwise use his executive privileges."

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