Skip to comments.A Horrible Easter Anniversary: The Killing of Terri Schiavo
Posted on 03/26/2013 12:51:15 AM PDT by kathsua
As Holy Week begins and we reflect on the passion of Jesus Christ, it is especially appropriate to remember another person who eight years ago at this time was subjected to a tortuous, brutal and heinous death one whose anniversary falls this year on Easter Sunday: Terri Schindler-Schiavo.
And just as the Church now ushers in our new Pope Francis, I am reminded how two days after Terris death we also lost our Holy Father. As Pope John Paul II lay dying at the Vatican his aides would later tell the Schindlers that when he learned of Terris death, it was the final blow to his broken heart.
For most pro-lifers following Terris case of legal murder by her estranged husband Michael and his right-to-die advocate attorney George Felos, the verdict was a haunting reminder of the lawful murder of millions of our innocent preborn. In fact, many began calling it the Roe v. Wade of euthanasia.
But in Roe v. Wade few remember that it was actually a legal precedent in Griswold v. Connecticut (1965) that set the stage for current abortion laws. In Griswold, the Supreme Court ruled that the denial of contraceptives was unconstitutional under an alleged right of privacy. Who would have thought that Griswold, combined with a later alarming Florida legal precedent, would predetermine Terris fate?
In 1986, Estelle Browning, an 86-year-old woman, suffered a stroke that left her severely brain-damaged. Unable to swallow, a feeding tube was inserted by attending physicians. Browning, however, had a written advance directive, stating she didnt want artificial sustenance if she became terminally ill. In 1987, the court denied her cousins petition to remove the tube, basing its decision on Floridas Life-Prolonging Procedures Act, which allowed patients to refuse medical treatment only under specific circumstances. Browning, the judge ruled, did not qualify.
After Brownings natural death in 1990 the Second District Court of Appeals overturned this decision based on the right to privacy, and the Florida Supreme Court upheld the ruling. According to Justice Rosemary Barkett, who wrote for the 6-1 majority, The right to privacy and freedom from intrusion into ones own body is rooted in our nations philosophical and political heritage.
In absence of written directives, the evidence of a patients wishes could also be determined solely by the guardian, which is called substituted judgment. This judgment is supposedly not what the guardian wishes, but what the patient (allegedly) desires. The only necessary qualifier would be clear and convincing evidence as simple as an oral statement, claiming that the person would not want to live. Once this is satisfied, the Court ruled, the State can not override the so-called right to privacy.
Ten years later, this clear and convincing evidence became the entire focus of Terri Schiavos case. However, the testimonies given from both the Schiavo and Schindler witnesses were contradicting hearsay, leaving Judge George Greer as the sole and final arbitrator of whom he chose to believe.
Media reports claimed that at least 19 other judges had reviewed the case, but in reality not one other judge heard any testimony whatsoever. The Courts simply rubber-stamped a legal decision, not an evidentiary one. In their view, Greer had acted in accord with the letter of the law, despite that the clear and convincing evidence was simple hearsay. The appellate courts only had to ensure that the law was followednot that the evidence was crediblebecause hearsay is subject to opinion, not legalese.
During Terris final weeks, as the State Department of Children and Families attempted to take Terri into protective custody, attorney George Felos reminded Judge Greer of a startling fact: Even if Michael himself suddenly decided not to remove Terris feeding tube, it still had to be done, because the court had determined by clear and convincing evidence that this was Terris wish.
More appalling was Greers reaction to the Schindlers requests for swallowing tests for Terri as he angrily thundered, I dont want anybody putting anything into that girls mouth! Horrifically, this statement would later be used to deny Terri the right to receive Holy Communion. However, food and water given orally is not considered medical care even by Floridas weak definition.
In addition, sustenance provided artificially or naturally cannot be denied to a disabled person under the Americans with Disabilities Act. It states: Nothing in the Act or this part authorizes the representative or guardian of an individual with a disability to decline food, water, medical treatment, or medical services for that individual.
But because the Federal Court refused to hear simultaneous lawsuits brought by 26 disability groups decrying these and other violations, Greers ruling stood unchallenged. Not only had Terris nurses testified that they had fed Terri gelatin and pudding in the past, but Terri also easily swallowed the average one-liter output of saliva healthy people consume daily. That Greer would not allow oral feeding, swallowing tests or therapy simply codified his own intent to mandate Terris execution.
The second determination for ordering Terris feeding tube removal was the claim that she was in an irreversible persistent vegetative state (PVS) with no hope for recovery. Two of Michaels and one state-appointed neurologist testified that Terri was in a PVS, completely contradicting 16 other medical professionals who attested she was not.
Judge Greer later admitted he didnt bother reading any of those statements because he simply didnt find them credible. Never mind that one of Michaels witnesses, Dr. Ronald Cranford is an advocate for End-of-Life Choices, a group promoting euthanasia. Or that the court appointed witness, Cleveland neurologist Peter Bambikidis, a colleague of Felos, spent only 30 minutes examining Terri. In truth, Greers mind was set.
During subsequent hearings in early 2005, 33 others including 14 physicians (6 who are neurologists) submitted testimony declaring Terri had been misdiagnosed, while none were submitted by Felos to contradict their findings. Again, Judge Greer refused to consider the growing and glaring evidence. Consider what neurologist Dr. James Gabel, M.D., M.S., F.A.H.A, reported:
Terri Schiavo is not in a persistent vegetative state. The parts of Terri Schiavos brain which would allow her to perceive pain, her thalami, were clearly intact and visible on her CT scan images shown by her own husband, Michael Schiavo, on national television. The parts of Terri Schiavos brain, which would allow her to swallow on her own, were also intact, and, in fact, she did not suffer from medically significant dysphagia (swallowing difficulty). If she had, she would have been dead long ago from a condition known as aspiration pneumonia, an infection in the lungs which is the result of inhaling ones own saliva.
In short, Terri was not dying. She was not suffering or receiving any type of life support. She was simply disabled and unable to feed herself.
Terri could have been fed orally and by law she should have been. Granted, she might have needed swallowing therapy to stimulate the muscles in her throat that had not been used for many years, but this would have been a relatively short and simple treatment. Yet Judge Greer refused to even consider it, incredibly noting that Terri might aspirate food into her lungs and die a cruel and painful death.
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The day before the scheduled removal of Terris feeding tube on March 18, 2005, the Senate Health Committee and the House Government Reform Committee issued congressional subpoenas requiring both Michael and Terri to appear before Congress for a March 28 hearing. That morning, while Hospice was being served with Congressional letters instructing them not to remove Terris feeding tube, Attorney Barbara Weller and Terris sister Suzanne were happily explaining the upcoming trip to an elated Terri. But unbeknownst to them, the opposition was quickly moving to seek Greers intervention. As the 2:00 PM deadline approached, Greer made an unprecedented ruling to ignore the Federal subpoenas and ordered Hospice to proceed with the tube removal according to the court mandate.
This would be the first instance of Congress utter failure to legally preserve Terris life. It is a federal crime to obstruct or prevent such witnesses from appearing and while members of Congress appeared outraged and threatened to charge Greer with Contempt of Congress, they did nothing to enforce the subpoena, nor did they punish Greer for his judicial misconduct.
In the final week before Terris death, Congress passed legislation that was immediately signed into law by President Bush requiring the Federal Court to do a de-novo review of the entire case. Yet once more, they did nothing to enforce the very legislation they passed.
Clearly, Judge Greer violated several Federal Laws and stretched the interpretation of Florida statutes as well. But in the end, it would be the appalling court precedent of Estelle Brownings case that allowed him to do so. In truth, one relatively insignificant district judge usurped the authority of the State Legislature, the State Executive office, Congress and the President of the United States. He succeeded in condemning an innocent woman to death for no other crime than that of being disabled.
Eight years ago this might have been simply viewed as the perfect storm. Timing is everything, they say. But frighteningly enough with Obama-care looming, it is now an inevitable climate change a mere glimpse of the government-mandated futile care policies descending upon us.
Without question, such laws, the courts, and tyrannical authority must be stopped. For if our society becomes one that judges on the basis of a quality of life ethic, that society will selfishly seek any means to rid itself of any imperfections or burdensat any cost. In the words of Clemens Von Galen, the Bishop of Munster, Germany, who fought fiercely against Hitlers euthanasia policies in 1939, Once we admit the right to kill unproductive persons, then none of us can be sure of our own life.
No better time than this week to reflect Terri we will never forget!
LifeNews Note: Debi Vinnedge is the director of the pro-life group Children of God for Life.
Terri's case demonstrates that justice isn't a major goal of the American judicial system.
“In short, Terri was not dying.”
And that right there is the heart of the problem.
Her husband was losing patience and decided to kill her.
The Republican Party insiders with the National Right To Life Committee totally focused on abortion, not broader life issues.
They did the Karl Rove thing with emotional issues like partial birth abortion, abortion funding, abortions for minors.
Money got raised for NRL and voter guides pointed people to support insider politicians who voted for the emotional legislation that didn’t overturn Roe vs. Wade.
Terri Schaivo led them to pass phony legislation in Congress to look good.
In Florida Jeb Bush should have done a whole lot more to save her life and if he wasn’t willing his brother W should have stepped in.
JFK sent federal marshals to Alabama in 1961 to protect freedom rider civil rights protestors under attack from racist mobs. He did it because the state of Alabama wouldn’t.
Terri Schiavo deserved that much......
Those 3 men are monsters that Terri became a victim of. I hope they roast in hell for eternity for the crime they committed.
This story when it happened about broke my nerves and heart. They could have saved her life. Her parents wanted to care for her. It was beyond insane and inhuman. The spouse did not own her as a human being. Strangers taking sides with the spouse and giving consent and support for the state to kill her. All who are involved in this story, will have to answer to what they did nor did not do. They cannot sweep it under the rug. It proves clearly what the liberal mind and heart really is that was involved in this case. They pick and justified who lived and who died-if they begrudge you, or think they are right watch out, there’s no mercy. And they claim they are against the death penalty. Another reason, I do not have much respect for a liberal.
The public needs to turn on the democrats and the media for allowing and setting into motion the murder of innocent children. We should not let up.
Michael Schiavo effectively abandoned Terry, cheats on her, and even knocked up his mistress, with no shame at all. Scum.
JEB BUSH KILLED TERRY SCHIAVO (
AND HE THINKS HE IS GOING TO RUN FOR PRES
AND SOME IN-THE-KNOW TYPES SAY HE WILL WIN
KILL IT NOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW
Killing someone by hunger and thirst, an excruciating death that takes two weeks, for the "crime" of being disabled ... that's compassionate and part of "freedom".
At this point, we should pray for the divine chastisement upon this country to be harsh and swift. The longer God delays, the higher our crimes mount, and the worse our punishment will ultimately be.
...the greater the victory will be. He said to look up when we see these things come to pass. We are being prepared for His final victory so the we can be a part of it.
If Hillary Clinton or even Michelle Obama runs in 2016, I will not vote for Jeb Bush. That’s a promise.