Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Terri's Press Release.

The Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation ( issued a press release today that praises the USCCB for their revision of the Ethical and Religious Directives (ERDs) to consider artificial nutrition and hydration (ANH) obligatory care and no longer a medical act.

It is currently legal in the US to remove a patient from ANH, either by patient request or by the request of a medical proxy. The change of the directives will prevent that removal from occurring at any Catholic hospital in the country, of which there are 600, managing about 20% of all beds, regardless of a patient's advance directive or living will choices.

The Schindlers also are working to change the persistent vegetative state diagnosis. They consider recent studies that show PVS patients as capable of learning a sign that the diagnosis is too inaccurate to account for disabilities and they contest "quality of life" arguments that seek removal from life support.

Aside: The Legacy of Terri Schiavo is something I've been thinking about for a number of months now. The title, "Terri's Press Release" on the Foundation webside, indeed the name of the website; the use of Schiavo's photo at anti-health care reform demonstrations this past summer; the reversion to Schiavo's maiden name to protest her marriage and "betrayal" by Michael Schiavo; and the common images of Schiavo in her wedding dress shown at "pro-life" events; claims by the Schindlers and "pro-life" groups of Schiavo's great suffering and painful death from starvation and dehydration despite scientific reports that show she felt no pain: all are attempts to reclaim Schiavo from the facts of her life and death, to paint her as a martyr who suffered and died for Christ at the evil hands of the "culture of death."

This characterization of Schiavo has little to do with her faith, her wishes for her medical treatment, or science. Terri Schiavo's story is becoming an allegory of how the "culture of death" loves to kill, a complete fallacy contrived by "pro-life" organizations to assert power of the suffering of the elderly and the terminally ill. Schiavo isn't the only martyr in a long and illustrious Christian and Catholic story of martyrs. She is only the latest.

November 18, 2009

Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation Applauds US Bishops for Reaffirming Obligation to Care for Defenseless

US Bishops Affirm Pope John Paul II’s 2004 Allocution on the Moral Obligation to Care for and Show Compassion for All People Like Terri

Contact: Bobby Schindler, Terri’s Foundation, 727-490-7603,

ST. PETERSBURG, FL., Nov. 18/ -- By overwhelmingly approving a revision to the directives that guide Catholic heath care facilities on the moral responsibility to feed and hydrate those persons labeled to be in a “vegetative” or even comatose state, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) affirmed the Catholic Church’s two thousand year old teaching that all human life is sacred and deserving of our care, no matter its condition. Terri's Foundation wishes to extend its sincere thanks to the USCCB for reaffirming this fundamental truth. (For the official USCCB press release go to:

Catholic health care directives were written long before Pope John Paul II’s March 2004 address on “Life-Sustaining Treatments and the Vegetative State.” In this 2004 address, Pope John Paul II made clear that even persons severely injured, compromised or otherwise limited in his or her abilities, still retain their “fundamental human dignity and must, therefore, receive ordinary and proportionate care.” The Pope also stated that, “the administration of water and food, even when provided by artificial means, always represents a natural means of preserving life, not a medical act.”

“Our fight continues every day to defend the lives of vulnerable persons threatened by laws which now have redefined feeding tubes as 'artificial life support' and also '
medical futility' laws that allow hospitals, nursing and hospice facilities and family members to abandon our fellow human beings to a torturous death by starvation and dehydration or by any other means,” stated Bobby Schindler, Terri’s brother.

“Our goal is to defend the rights of the severely brain-injured, the disabled, the elderly or anyone at risk of being needlessly killed, in the hope of preventing what happened to Terri from ever happening to another. And it is our hope that the Catholic community will respect this incontrovertible truth confirmed by the USCCB yesterday.”

Terri's Foundation ( is dedicated to promoting the Culture of Life, embracing the true meaning of compassion by opposing the practice of euthanasia.

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