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Terri Schiavo: Myths and Facts - Dr. Dianne Irving, PhD
Children of God for Life ^ | Dr. Dianne Irving, PhD

Posted on 11/03/2003 9:13:07 AM PST by cpforlife.org

Terri Schiavo: Myths and Facts
By Dr. Dianne Irving, PhD

Note: The tragic case of Terri Schiavo and her poor family will rapidly bloom into the United States' "euthanasia test case" for the international bioethics and right to die movements.  So it is important now to see this connection, and factor it in when listening to media and press reports on Terri's situation.  In addition to resolving this case properly and decently for Terri and her family, all of us, you and me, will be the direct benefactors of it's resolution one way or another as it sets legal precedent in the courts.  One classic bioethics tactic is to get their bioethics agenda passed in one state, and then "codify" the law across all of the United States. Such is probably the situation in Florida.  This means that all of us have an interest in how this case is finally settled.   Most of all, as usual, the true and accurate facts involved in this tragic case are being manipulated, thus confusing the public and other decision makers.  It is therefore vital to get the facts of this case as accurate as possible as the starting point for all other discussions, before they are adequately twisted and then rapidly moved into the larger bioethics debates.  Keeping open minds while the truth makes its way through this process is critical.  To that end, for starters, please consider the following as we know the facts now.  More excellent articles, amicus curiae briefs from physicians, lawyers, nurses, other experts, etc., can be found on the Schiavo website at http://www.terrisfight.org.


MYTH: Terri has been in a persistent vegetative state, a coma, or is terminally ill, for 13 years.
FACT:  NO.  Terri is disabled and has brain damage, but is not in PVS, coma, or terminally ill.

MYTH: This is just a "religious" issue.
FACT:  NO.  While Terri's religious rights have definitely been criminally denied, it is fundamentally a disability issue in which her civil rights as a disabled citizen have also been denied.

MYTH:  Food and hydration are "extraordinary means", and thus a patient has the right to refuse.
FACT:  NO.  Even, and especially, in secular terms, while the use of ventilators, drastic surgery, experimental "therapies", etc., are extraordinary means and may be refused, food and hydration have always been defined in medicine as ordinary means, or "palliative care" (as is the use of antibiotics, needed X-rays, minor surgery, etc.).  For Catholics, it is morally permissible to refuse extraordinary means, but not morally permissible to refuse ordinary means, or palliative care (including food and hydration).  [See refutation of Fr. Murphy's testimony at the Schiavo website:  http://www.terrisfight.org/lead.htm].  See also encyclicals and documents on euthanasia at:  Declaration on Euthanasia (1980),  http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19800505_euthanasia_en.html.    Evangelium vitae, http://www.vatican.va/edocs/ENG0141/_INDEX.HTM.    Respect for the Dignity of the Dying (2000), http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_academies/acdlife/documents/rc_pa_acdlife_doc_20001209_eutanasia_en.html.    The Charter for Health Care Workers (1995), http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/hlthwork/documents/rc_pc_hlthwork_doc_19950101_charter_en.html.    USCC, Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994),  http://www.usccb.org/catechism/text/index.htm.  See refutation of Fr. Murphy's court testimony by Vatican scholars:  http://www.terrisfight.org/Framesets/RecentFrame.htm.


MYTH:  Removal of food and hydration is "death with dignity" and painless.
FACT:  NO.  Removal of food and hydration is "death with gross indignity" and monstrously painful and ugly even with morphine or other drugs.

MYTH:  The issue is the "right to die".
FACT:  NO. The issue is the "right to live".

MYTH:  A husband always makes surrogate medical decisions for his disabled incompetent wife that are based solely on her best interests.
FACT:  NO.  It is well known and documented that many family members of disabled patients are tired of their difficult situation and want to get rid of the problem (i.e., the disabled patient).

MURKY:
--  Terri left no written directives, and a 10-years tardy "witness" who claims she said something to the effect.
--  There are legal submissions to the court, including by nurses who cared for Terri,  concerning her husband's abuse of Terri.
--  There are conflicting medical and legal testimonies by "experts".
--  There are conflicts of interests with the husband's lawyer and the judge because of direct as well as indirect ties to the Florida euthanasia lobbyists and hospices.
--  There is a great moral distinction between direct and intentional killing, and allowing someone to die, letting the disease or condition take its course.  While that is taking place, all basic and fundamental palliative medical care should be given to the patient to make his/her death as dignified as possible -- including food and hydration.

This is a minimal list to consider while we wait for all the facts.  Hope it is helpful.


Dr. Irving's professional activities include teaching positions at Georgetown University, Catholic University of America, and The Dominican House of Studies. She represented the Catholic Medical Association of the United States, and the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations, at the Scientific Conference in Mexico City, Mexico, October 28, 1999 and presented a paper on "The Dignity and Status of the Human Embryo". Dr. Irving is a former career-appointed bench research biochemist/biologist (NIH, NCI, Bethesda, MD), an M.A. and Ph.D. philosopher (Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.), and Professor of the History of Philosophy, and of Medical Ethics.
Contact: DNIrving@aol.com




TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Editorial; Extended News; Government; News/Current Events; Philosophy; US: Florida
KEYWORDS: facts; myths; terri; terrischiavo
http://www.cogforlife.org/schiavo.htm

Personal Note to our Readers:

From Debi Vinnedge, Executive Director

 

Children of God for Life has followed the case of Terri Schiavo for over two years when the matter was brought to our attention at a local Clearwater meeting of the group, Physicians for Excellence in Health Care.  Although Terri's plight was occurring in our own back yard, we had no idea of the facts of this case, thanks to the local media that did a marvelous job of concealing the truth from the public. When I watched the video of Terri interacting with her mother, every lie I had been told about Terri was laid bare and refuted. As a mother,  I watched and heard -  heartsick - as this child interacted with her own mom and I wondered, how could anyone think for one moment that this young woman who smiled and tried to talk when her mother spoke, who moved her head and eyes - whose feeding tube was the only life support she used -  was somehow classified as a person in a "coma" - or a "persistive vegetative state"?  And then I heard the testimony of Dr. William Hammesfahr who showed in accurate medical facts how Terri had the ability to recover a great deal of the normal lifestyle that any one of us enjoy, but unfortunately, that much needed therapy was being denied by the husband that had promised a jury 10 years ago to do just that.

 

I strongly urge you to read Terri's ordeal and the gross injustice that has been inflicted upon this woman, who never had any sort of living will and  who never has given up on her will to live.  You may have read that Terri would never have wanted to be kept alive by artificial means.  That is what the husband told the courts - right after he was awarded 1.2 million dollars.  We can tell you this much...Terri never said she wanted to be starved to death - and that is exactly what the courts have tried to do.  She can eat, she can swallow, she can say some words - very clearly - and she laughs, smiles and cries and reacts with great joy and love when her parents, her siblings and her priest visit her.  To learn more about the ongoing battle for Terri, please visit her website: http://www.terrisfight.org

 

On October 21st, the following complaint was filed with Attorney General John Ashcroft and although her feeding has now resumed due to the new law passed overwhelmingly by the Florida House and Senate on October 20th and 21st respectively, her battle is not yet over.  Michael Schiavo is still the legal guardian and no criminal investigation has ever been done to determine whether he may have brought about the mysterious injuries that resulted in her present condition. Below in chronological order (newest to oldest) are the letters Children of God for Life has sent and will continue to send until Terri Schiavo's rights are fully restored.


THE TRUTH

Terri Schiavo:  Facts and Myths - Dr. Dianne Irving

Wesley Smith: Why the media elites won't tell the full story on Terri's prognosis and Michael Schiavo.


GOVERNMENT EFFORTS

Click here to view to the letters from Delegate Bob Marshall to: (PDF FILES)    President Bush         House Judiciary Committee    
Oct 31: US Attorney Tampa 
       To All  Florida Congress, Bilirakis and Young  

Children of God for Life letters to Attorney General John Ashcroft: Continued Denial of Civil Rights (Updated 10-27-03


THE CHURCH

Oct 30:Article in Miami Herald: Priest Disputes Governor's Action    

Oct 31st: Children of God for Life Responds to Fr. O'Rourke  

Priests for Life Weighs In


Take Action!

CONTACT CONGRESSMAN MIKE BILIRAKIS            CONTACT CONGRESSMAN BILL YOUNG

It is an outrage that Michael Schiavo and his attorney feel they can spit in the face of the Governor, the Fl House and Senate - and trample Terri's rights with absolutely no regard for her health, happiness or wishes. 
 
Complaints have been filed through the Department of Health and Human Services yet nothing is being done to protect Terri from physical harm or to assure her rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
 
Please take a moment and file your complaint with the Office of Civil Rights.  Click here for the form: Discrimination Complaint Form or go to: http://hhs.gov/ocr/discrimhowtofile.html  To review the facts already presented to DC in this case click on our link above to view the letters sent.
You can also file your complaint by email at OCRcomplaint@hhs.gov or call the District Office in Atlanta:  Roosevelt Freeman, 404 562-7886.  Tell them to immediately act and remove her care/custody from Michael and appoint a guardian.  The court has agreed to assign a guardian ad litem but this will only cover litigation and not her medical care!  To view a sample of information needed on the OCR complaint (PDF File) click here.
 
In addition, please contact your US Congressmen and Senators and ask them to investigate why the Department of Justice is not protecting Terri's civil rights as a disabled American.  They should also request that the Department of Health and Human Services Civil Rights Office act at once to protect her.
 

 

Return to Our Home Page

 

 

 

                       

 

1 posted on 11/03/2003 9:13:07 AM PST by cpforlife.org
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To: MHGinTN; Coleus; nickcarraway; Mr. Silverback; Canticle_of_Deborah; TenthAmendmentChampion; ...

Please let me know if you want on or off my Pro-Life Ping List.

2 posted on 11/03/2003 9:15:43 AM PST by cpforlife.org (The Missing Key of the Pro-Life Movement is at www.CpForLife.org)
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To: cpforlife.org
Excellent post. Thank you so much.
3 posted on 11/03/2003 9:16:42 AM PST by MarMema (KILLING ISN'T MEDICINE)
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To: cpforlife.org
Thanks.
4 posted on 11/03/2003 9:18:28 AM PST by Conspiracy Guy (Living fast is fine as long as you steer well and have good brakes.)
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To: cpforlife.org
bttt
5 posted on 11/03/2003 9:22:18 AM PST by tutstar
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To: cpforlife.org
Wesley Smith: Why the media elites won't tell the full story on Terri's prognosis and Michael Schiavo.

Above link is dead - fix please?

6 posted on 11/03/2003 9:54:34 AM PST by agrace
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To: cpforlife.org
MYTH: Terri has been in a persistent vegetative state, a coma, or is terminally ill, for 13 years.
FACT: NO. Terri is disabled and has brain damage, but is not in PVS, coma, or terminally ill.

Unfortunately, even Fox, in their news crawls at the bottom of their screen, continue to characterize her as being in a "persistent vegetative state." This in spite of proof to the contrary as presented on their evening shows, including Greta's and Hannity's.

7 posted on 11/03/2003 9:57:39 AM PST by CedarDave (The enviro's are are just as angry about the CA fires as we are -- a lot of pine beetles were lost)
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To: agrace
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1013268/posts
8 posted on 11/03/2003 10:13:29 AM PST by cpforlife.org (The Missing Key of the Pro-Life Movement is at www.CpForLife.org)
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To: cpforlife.org
I haven't seen her glasgow coma score. Has it been published?
9 posted on 11/03/2003 10:16:22 AM PST by from occupied ga (Your government is your most dangerous enemy, and Bush is no conservative)
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To: All
If the links to the pdf's or others don't work, please go to the original URL at:
http://www.cogforlife.org/schiavo.htm
10 posted on 11/03/2003 10:17:41 AM PST by cpforlife.org (The Missing Key of the Pro-Life Movement is at www.CpForLife.org)
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To: from occupied ga
I haven't seen her glasgow coma score. Has it been published?

Why would that matter now? A GCS is only useful in the acute time frame following a head injury.

11 posted on 11/03/2003 10:20:27 AM PST by Prov1322 (Have you thanked God again today that George W. Bush is our President?!)
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To: cpforlife.org
Please put me on the list. Thanks!
12 posted on 11/03/2003 10:43:02 AM PST by ruoflaw
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To: ruoflaw
Welcome to the Pro-Life Ping List!

Also, please take time to visit my two websites:

Christian Patriots For Life at:
http://www.cpforlife.org

AND

NATIONAL AMERICAN HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL at:
http://www.cpforlife.org/memorial

Thanks,

Kevin
13 posted on 11/03/2003 10:49:59 AM PST by cpforlife.org (The Missing Key of the Pro-Life Movement is at www.CpForLife.org)
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To: cpforlife.org
A very good synopsis of the situation.
14 posted on 11/03/2003 11:06:55 AM PST by TigersEye ("Where there is life there is hope." - Terri Schiavo)
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To: cpforlife.org
Thank you.

Can we use these quotes elsewhere?
15 posted on 11/03/2003 11:06:55 AM PST by Robert A. Cook, PE (I can only support FR by donating monthly, but ABBCNNBCBS continue to lie every day!)
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To: cpforlife.org
Thanks much. Very good ed by Wesley Smith - he is a sound voice of reason in what is often an overly emotional case. Great article here too by the way, to the point, very easy and straightforward. We need more compilations like this.
16 posted on 11/03/2003 11:07:29 AM PST by agrace
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To: All
Here is another article addressing the moral and ethical issues from a Jewish perspective.

Should Terri Schiavo Live or Die?

17 posted on 11/03/2003 11:10:35 AM PST by TigersEye ("Where there is life there is hope." - Terri Schiavo)
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To: Prov1322
Why would that matter now? A GCS is only useful in the acute time frame following a head injury.

In other words no. I was just wondering if there were any objective evidence one way or the other. Each side claims something, but they can't both be right. What about the other score the Rancho Los Amigos scale?

18 posted on 11/03/2003 11:28:16 AM PST by from occupied ga (Your government is your most dangerous enemy, and Bush is no conservative)
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To: cpforlife.org
Thanks, let's not forget a IRS criminal Div investigation
also.....,so Felo$ is a warlock, geeee what a surprise.
not
19 posted on 11/03/2003 11:54:19 AM PST by Orlando (Is Micheal paying child support ? What is MS past criminal records ?)
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To: Robert A. Cook, PE
Yes! Please do. We need to spread the word.


"Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe." - H.G. Wells
20 posted on 11/03/2003 12:11:43 PM PST by cpforlife.org (The Missing Key of the Pro-Life Movement is at www.CpForLife.org)
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To: from occupied ga; Prov1322
Terri & Michael in 1990 St. Pete Times photo before he won the lawsuit and she lost it.
Did it take 4 hrs for the photographer to get this?

Below are EXCERPTS -- please see PDF for original from friends of Terri website. Thanks to FL engineer, who found this.

Reports ‘transcribed’ to FreeRepublic

Physical Examination -- 6 - 27 - 90

*patient is awake, eyes are open
*easily startled to her name or when bedrail fell down

*significant amount of tone in the head and neck.
*severe hypertonicity of all four extremities; plantar flexor contractures, some shoulder limitation
*"again, tone is quite significant in all four extremities and difficult to achieve range of motion of the left hip and knee while she is in a supine position."
*she does give eye contact to family members
*she will close her eyes to any threatening response around her face and blink appropriately
*no verbal output during this exam but it has been reported by husband and other family members and therapists over at College Harbor.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Treatment Plan Review from Mediplex rehab, Bradenton, 1/29/91

*Vocalizing when prone in P.T. [physical therapy]
*Occasionally will say "STOP" to nursing during procedures.

*to TR [recreation?] groups. More relaxed to therapists voice, touch (habituation)

21 posted on 11/03/2003 1:04:35 PM PST by cyn (http://www.terrisfight.org)
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To: MarMema
Yes, it was an excellent and informed post. We have at least two male Jesuit priests who are publicly writing/saying the opposite.

The irony to me is that she can't be a priest, not that she should, but she seems to have her head screwed on straight when it comes to applying correct catholic teaching imo.

22 posted on 11/03/2003 1:13:30 PM PST by Aliska
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To: Lady In Blue; Canticle_of_Deborah; MarMema; kimmie7; floriduh voter; JulieRNR21; NautiNurse; ...
ping
23 posted on 11/03/2003 1:24:04 PM PST by nickcarraway (www.terrisfight.org)
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To: Lady In Blue; Canticle_of_Deborah; MarMema; kimmie7; floriduh voter; JulieRNR21; NautiNurse; ...
ping
24 posted on 11/03/2003 1:24:04 PM PST by nickcarraway (www.terrisfight.org)
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To: Prov1322

Terri all spiffed up -- this must have been her trip to the mall salon, before 1992 trial.
May Terri achieve her freedom soon after all these years of justice denied.

from the Oct 30-31 Terri thread, #278, posted on 10/31/2003 by 4Godsoloved..Hegave re: was the CA treatment successful or not?:

He moved in with the Schindlers to care for her and accompanied her to California for experimental surgery that was unsuccessful.

From St. Petersburg Times...dated Feb. 17, 1991 (1 year after Terri's collapse.)

This city has proclaimed today Terri Schiavo day.

Last year Mrs. Schiavo, 27, suffered a loss of potassium in her body that caused her heart to stop beating and resulted in a coma. She underwent surgery, performed by Dr. Yoshio Hosobuchi of the University of California at San Francisco in December, to implant a stimulator in her brain.

The brain stimulator implant was a success, said her husband, Mike. Mrs. Schiavo is slowly emerging from the coma at the Mediplex Medical Center, a neurological care center in Bradenton, he said. She will undergo at least a year of speech, occupational and physical therapy.

A Feb. 9 Valentine's dance, sponsored by the Vina Del Mar Island Association, raised $1,575 for the Theresa Schiavo Trust Fund. -- end article & post.

UCSF recommended followup at Shands Gainesville. Terri's parents wanted this done immediately; Michael did not. So after the expense of flying out to CA to try this treatment, Terri did not receive further related care locally.

At what point did things change, and why?

The bottom line for me is this:
* Terri is alive, albeit with some degree of brain-damage
* she has been without ordinary stimulation or rehabilitation since the early '90's.
* Her husband, Mike, wants to get on with his new life -- and should.
* Her parents want to get on with Terri's new life -- and should.

25 posted on 11/03/2003 1:24:04 PM PST by cyn (http://www.terrisfight.org)
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To: cyn
"did not receive further relate care locally..."

correction -- she wasn't seen at Shands as recommended, but thanks to the drs, nurses, therapists & others who cared for and worked with Terri locally. A few of their notes are in above info.

26 posted on 11/03/2003 1:37:41 PM PST by cyn (http://www.terrisfight.org)
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To: cpforlife.org
Food and hydration are "extraordinary means", and thus a patient has the right to refuse.
FACT: NO. Even, and especially, in secular terms, while the use of ventilators, drastic surgery, experimental "therapies", etc., are extraordinary means and may be refused,

This response is a brutal lie as the facts of this case indicate.
27 posted on 11/03/2003 1:56:52 PM PST by Oystir
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To: Oystir
How's that?
28 posted on 11/03/2003 5:08:09 PM PST by agrace
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To: CedarDave
Unfortunately, even Fox, in their news crawls at the bottom of their screen, continue to characterize her as being in a "persistent vegetative state." This in spite of proof to the contrary as presented on their evening shows, including Greta's and Hannity's.

I've noticed htis too and it bugs the dickens out of me. Why do they refuse to correct that, or are they just lazy?

29 posted on 11/03/2003 5:13:36 PM PST by Ferret Fawcet ("A wise man's heart inclines him toward the Right, but a fool's heart...to the Left" ~Ecc. 10:2)
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To: Oystir
Please explain.
30 posted on 11/03/2003 5:40:38 PM PST by cpforlife.org (The Missing Key of the Pro-Life Movement is at www.CpForLife.org)
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To: from occupied ga
Rancho level 2.

And that was in 1990.
31 posted on 11/03/2003 8:05:11 PM PST by KDD
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To: cpforlife.org
Bump!
32 posted on 11/03/2003 8:35:01 PM PST by windchime
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To: nickcarraway
Great stuff because it's all the truth! Nick always manages to put the best on here!!! Thanks, Nick!!!
33 posted on 11/03/2003 8:46:06 PM PST by sisterjforteri
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To: KDD
Thanks - that's pretty low :-(
34 posted on 11/04/2003 3:45:19 AM PST by from occupied ga (Your government is your most dangerous enemy, and Bush is no conservative)
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To: from occupied ga
I don't know about test scores, but Michael Schiavo said Terri is the same now as she was in 1990 and here's how she looked then.

Michael Schiavo said on Larry King Live:
Now, Terri makes the same noises for the last 14 years. She's made the same facial expressions.

Something's
changed,
Michael.

In 1990
you were
gazing at
Terri
as though
she were
"in there."

35 posted on 11/04/2003 6:51:03 AM PST by syriacus (Casual comments about tubes, made after watching a 3 handkerchief movie, do not justify euthanasia.)
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To: cpforlife.org
bump for truth, life and liberty!
36 posted on 11/04/2003 7:33:48 AM PST by countrydummy
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To: cpforlife.org
Excellent article, which supports the constitutionality of Terri's Law.
37 posted on 11/05/2003 4:13:40 PM PST by msmagoo
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