Terri Schiavo’s Family Sponsors Symposium on End of Life Issues

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 28, 2011   |   1:10PM   |   St. Petersburg, FL

The family of Terri Schiavo, through their Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network, will present a symposium on end-of-life issues before a special Mass to remember and honor the life of the disabled woman.

The mass, which will be held at Ave Maria University, a Florida-based Catholic college, will mark the anniversary of the death of the woman who rose to international attention when her husband sought and won permission from a court to take her life via a painful 13-day starvation and dehydration death.

The symposium, entitled The Erosion of Medical Ethics, will be held on March 31 and Bobby Schindler, Terri’s brother and the director of the foundation bearing her name that tries to help disabled patients and their families,  will be moderating the panel and also discuss how the removal of food and water to the cognitively disabled occurs daily in our society.

“With health care rationing on the rise, it is crucial to educate our future attorneys on the moral and legal understandings as it relates to basic healthcare needs such as food and water,” he said. “In the future, these are the very men and women who will be essential to protecting the rights of the cognitively disabled, the elderly and medically dependent.”

He told LifeNews.com, “It is our hope that upon graduation they will be part of our Network of lawyers who fight for the lives of our vulnerable brothers and sisters.”

Speakers include Brother Paul O’Donnell, Dr. Mark Mostert, Kristan Hawkins and Professor Richard Myers. They will discuss Catholic Church teaching as it relates to hydration and nutrition; historical prejudice to people with disabilities; health care and its potential effects on special needs patients; and the legal aspects of the Terri Schiavo case. The symposium is open to law students and faculty of Ave Maria School of Law.

Following the symposium Ave Maria University will host the “The National Mass for Terri’s Day” at the Ave Maria Oratory, located near Naples, Florida. The International Day of Prayer and Remembrance for Terri Schindler Schiavo, and All of Our Vulnerable Brothers and Sisters (“Terri’s Day”) was established in 2007 and is observed each year on March 31, the date of Terri’s death. Father Frank Pavone, the director of Priests for Life, will join again this year as the main celebrant for the event.

The purpose of this day is to foster education, prayer, and activism regarding discrimination against the cognitively disabled, and advocacy for people in situations similar to what Terri and her family faced. 40 Days for Life, a community-based campaign that over a period of 40 days attempts to transform individuals and communities to recognize the value and dignity of human life, will be observing “Terri’s Day” with prayer along with countless others who will be remembering Terri on this day.

The family is also sponsoring a fundraising concert in Ohio in June featuring the Beach Boys.