Former Attorney for Terri Schiavo’s Family: Case Changed Her Abortion View

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 11, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Former Attorney for Terri Schiavo’s Family: Case Changed Her Abortion View Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 11, 2006

Clearwater, FL ( — A former attorney for Terri Schiavo’s family says their efforts to prevent their daughter’s euthanasia death changed her mind on abortion. Pat Anderson helped the Schindler family for years to protect Terri and she said the battle helped her refocus her position on abortion and the immorality of taking life.

“In many ways, it’s the other end of the abortion debate, frankly," Anderson told the Florida Baptist Witness magazine.

Though she was in favor of abortion since she was a young woman, the battle to save Terri’s life prompted her to rethink her position and see abortion is no solution to the economic and educational problems a woman faces in an unplanned pregnancy.

“Once you really examine the evidence and take a cold, hard look at it, it’s almost inescapable that killing a baby is not a solution,” Anderson said.

“Killing babies is not the way out of social problems or personal problems. Killing off your elderly or disabled is not the way to keep your healthcare budget in balance," she added.

In the FBW interview, Anderson compared Terri to an unborn baby who cannot speak for herself and requires outside advocates to defend her right to live.

Anderson said it would be hard to "overstate" the effect the case and her more than three years of involvement, had on her.

Anderson spend 19 years in media law and came to resent the media and how it treated Terri’s parents and misstated even basic facts about Terri, her condition, and the battle over her life and death.

“I know that they can get the story wrong and they will repeat it wrong every single time after that, no matter what you do,” Anderson told the Florida Baptist Witness. “We handed out transcripts of key testimony with certain answers highlighted for them and they wouldn’t read it. So, it was a very disappointing experience.”

Though state and federal courts refused to prevent her former husband from taking her life, Anderson told FBW that she always thought a judge somewhere in the judicial system "“some judge would slap his forehead and say, ‘This is wrong. We need to send this back and get this all redone. We are putting a young woman to death on kind of a shaky foundation here.’”

Despite that not happening, Anderson, who is a Christian, says she thinks God is using Terri’s death to educate Americans about the goals of the euthanasia movement.

"I believe, really, that Terri was an instrument of God and that Terri’s death was an instrumentality of God to raise awareness of euthanasia, " Anderson said.