In a panel on life issues, David Prentice, a scientist and senior fellow for Life Sciences at Family Research Council, who has been an expert witness in testifying before congress about embryonic stem cell research, was joined by Schindler and other pro-life leaders.
Prentice presented a detailed explanation of the theory of stem cell growth and the myths and facts surrounding the use of adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells.
The truth is that stem cells are "difficult to establish" in a dish outside the body, whether they are adult or embryonic, Prentice said, but embryonic stem cells are especially vulnerable to developing tumors when grown in a dish.
"The bottom line is, it is the adult stem cells that are the most promising," Prentice said. "Number one, you don't have to kill the donor, and number two, they work."
Answering a question after his presentation, Prentice said he questions the motivation for more and more resources to be spent on stem cell research despite its apparent lack of results.
"They want money to keep their labs going," Prentice said. "This is a critical moment in human history. We have got to stand up and defend life. We have to speak up for those who don't have a voice."
Likewise, Schindler said the time has come to accept that euthanasia has become almost commonplace in America.
"One of the frustrations that we find, even among the pro-life community is that they don't see the seriousness of this situation," Schindler said. "Everything has been about abortion for the past 30 years and I don't think [people] understand how widespread this is occurring in our hospices and our hospitals and other places."
Schindler said he and his family, who make up the Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation, are seeking to spread awareness about this issue and help people to understand "it's not just about abortion anymore."
Even among Roman Catholics, long known for initiating leadership in the pro-life movement, Schindler said little has been communicated about a recent clarification from the Vatican in Rome explaining a teaching which calls for the administration of nutrition and hydration to people who are in a "so-called vegetative state."
The comment and note, released Sept. 14, said the practice of continuing to provide nutrition and hydration, even to those considered to be in a persistent vegetative state (PVS)—the condition that the court argued that Schindler's sister, Terri, had been in before her nutrition and hydration was removed—was with rare exception "morally obligatory."
Schiavo died at a hospice in Pinellas Park March 29, 2005, from dehydration, 13 days after her nutrition and hydration was removed by court order at her husband's request. Her family repeatedly asked to care for her after she suffered from a brain injury following a collapse resulting from unknown circumstances 15 years earlier.
During the 13 days it took her to die, a contentious battle raged in the courts between her parents and her husband. The world's media camped across the street from the hospice and pro-life proponents and right-to-die advocates squared off on the grassy walks.
Today, Schindler said, it is the consensus that as many as 50 percent of PVS patients are said to be "misdiagnosed." Even so, Schindler said, Terri and other disabled persons ought to be treated with dignity.
In a personal interview before his talk, Schindler told Florida Baptist Witness he believes many people still don't understand Terri was disabled and not hooked up to any life-support machines.
I am not yet sure what this effort portends, but they do seem to have one point right. Maybe they can entitle one strip, "When judges order murder." I suspect they won't.
The Underwire: Why did the National Center for State Courts want to create a series graphic novels?
Mary McQueen: The Terri Schiavo case was one of the watershed events where there was a lack of understanding of how much latitude the judge has in making decisions. There is a need for the average person to have a better understanding of the role of courts as it deals with their personal lives and that courts are not only for criminals or big corporations.
“squared off on the grassy walks.” Question: And which side was smaller but menacing? Answer: Mikey’s side.