On March 30, 2005, Terri Schiavo had her last full day of life on this earth and both her family and Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life will never forget the last moments they shared with the woman whose former husband won a court order to take her life.
Terri was killed on March 31, 2005 when her former husband won a protracted legal battle against the Schindler family for the right to disconnect her feeding tube. Doctors who examined Terri say she was not in a persistent vegetative state and that her condition could have been improved has she been given access to more medical care and rehabilitative treatment.
“I spent her last night by her side, praying with her, reading Scripture to her, and assuring her of the love of so many of you,” he said.
“Terri had not received a drop of water in nearly two weeks. As I reached out my hand to touch hers, I could also reach it out to touch the vase of flowers that was next to her, and that vase was filled with water,” Pavone recalls. “The flowers were nourished; Terri was deprived of nourishment. Court orders saw to it that none of us could give her some of the water that nourished the flowers.”
“In a culture of death, law is divorced from humanity, and we are all victimized in the process,” he said.
Suzanne Schindler, Terri’s sister, wrote an email LifeNews received, reflecting more on the death of her sister, saying, “We must never forget Terri and the premature, unthinkable death she endured.”
“This upcoming March 31st will be the seventh anniversary of my sister, Terri Schiavo’s death. Terri was starved and dehydrated to death by those who value killing the innocent ahead of preserving life, and who put God second to the powers of a corrupt legal and government system—or leave Him out of the equation, entirely,” Schindler said.
“Terri never wanted to die, and in fact told us just the opposite—that she wanted to live. As we look back on all she endured, we realize that Terri did not die in vain. For years the “death cult” lurked in the shadows. Now, through the media coverage and public outcry surrounding Terri’s tragic ordeal, the evil of imposed death on the innocent and vulnerable has been exposed,” Schindler continued.
“Our family learned, in the most painful way possible, of the existence of this “pro-death culture,” as we fought to save Terri,” she concluded.
Following Terri’s death, the Schindler family created the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network to protect the rights of people with cognitive disabilities. It has communicated with and supported more than 1,000 families, and has been involved in hundreds of cases where it has helped disabled people get the care and medical treatment they deserve.
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A documentary about Terri’s life that presents facts that the mainstream media distorted has been getting rave reviews. Franklin Springs Family Media has put out a documentary called The Terri Schiavo Story that it says provides previously unexplored facts of the case through in-depth interviews with participants in the saga. The documentary is hosted by author and speaker Joni Eareckson Tada, who became personally involved in the case in 2005 and is herself disabled because of a diving accident.