Tag archives: Euthanasia

Terri Schiavo and the Slippery Slope of Assisted Suicide

by Worth Loving

May 23, 2019

I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect.” -The Hippocratic Oath

On March 31, 2005, Terri Schiavo died after nearly 14 days without food or water. Over 14 years have passed since her court-ordered death by starvation and dehydration. Even as I write this, Vincent Lambert, dubbed the “French Terri Schiavo,” is facing the same death that she faced unless the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities intervenes. Recently, a so-called “right-to-die” or “death with dignity” bill was passed by the New Jersey legislature and signed by Governor Phil Murphy. In Maryland, a similar bill passed the House of Delegates but failed in the state Senate by one vote. Last month, the Nevada legislature defeated a bill that would have legalized assisted suicide. Amid the renewed debate on such legislation, it’s important to understand the implications of such laws and how the story of Terri Schiavo relates to them.

Terri Schiavo’s Story – Timeline of Events

In the early morning of February 25, 1990, Terri Schiavo collapsed at her home in St. Petersburg, Florida. Although no diagnosis was made, her medical records indicate a deprivation of oxygen to the brain. After being placed on a ventilator for the first few weeks following her collapse, it was soon removed, and she was able to breathe on her own for the rest of her life. The collapse left Terri with limited ability to communicate or move. Due to difficulty swallowing, a feeding tube was inserted to keep her nourished and hydrated.

In June of 1990, Terri’s husband, Michael, was granted healthcare power of attorney status because Terri had not designated a healthcare power of attorney in the event she could not speak for herself. She also began physical therapy at a rehabilitation facility in Florida where she would say words like “No,” “Stop,” and “Mommy.” In July of 1991, Terri’s physical therapy sessions were mysteriously stopped. This was the last documented therapy that Terri ever received.

In 1998, the fight for Terri’s life began. With the help of right-to-die attorney George Felos, Michael Schiavo filed a petition to withdraw life support. Judge George W. Greer heard Michael Schiavo’s petition in January of 2000. In his testimony, Michael Schiavo stated that Terri had told him in the 1980s that she would not want life support. Convinced by the testimony, Judge Greer ordered that Terri’s feeding tube be removed. On February 11, 2000, Terri’s parents, Robert and Mary Schindler, appealed the order to the Second District Court of Appeals, which agreed with Judge Greer’s ruling. Both the Florida Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear their case.

On April 21, 2001, Judge Greer’s order was carried out and Terri’s feeding tube was removed. But after over 60 hours without food and water, a judge issued an injunction, allowing the feeding tube to be reinserted. Judge Frank Quesada ordered that Terri’s case be reheard based on new evidence. In October, Judge Greer denied a Motion for Relief from Judgment filed by Terri’s parents based on new evidence and testimony that Terri’s neurological condition had improved. After Terri’s parents appealed the ruling, Judge Greer was forced to hold a medical evidentiary hearing.

In October 2002, Judge Greer held the medical evidentiary trial. Florida law defined a persistent vegetative state as the “total absence of awareness and ability to communicate.” However, Terri did not meet this definition as she was able to, albeit on a very basic level, respond to her surroundings and communicate with her family. Judge Greer ignored this evidence and ordered her feeding tube removed once again, at the mandate of the Second District Court of Appeals.

Terri’s story gained nationwide attention in October 2003 after Judge Greer had ordered her feeding tube to be removed. At least 180,000 people had signed a petition to Governor Jeb Bush, requesting that he invoke Florida’s Adult Protection Custody statutes based on allegations of neglect. Five days later, Governor Bush called a special session of the Florida legislature. Both the Florida House and Senate passed Terri’s Law, granting Bush the authority to order Terri’s feeding tube to be reinserted.

Michael Schiavo’s right-to-die attorney George Felos immediately challenged the constitutionality of the law. Judge Baird of the Sixth Circuit ruled Terri’s Law unconstitutional on May 5, 2004. His ruling was upheld by the Florida Supreme Court, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case.

Terri’s feeding tube was removed for the third and final time on March 18, 2005 at the order of Judge Greer. In a rare weekend session, Congress passed the Relief of the Parents of Theresa Marie Schiavo Act, which allowed Terri’s parents to have a federal court review their case. Robert and Mary Schindler’s subsequent request was denied by both U.S. District Court Judge James Whittemore and the U.S. Supreme Court.

At 9:05 a.m. on March 31, 2005, Terri Schiavo died from severe dehydration. But Terri’s story did not end there—it was only the beginning. Her death ignited a powerful movement to save thousands of other Americans like her.

Death Without Dignity

The so-called “right-to-die” or “death with dignity” movement has established a powerful influence, particularly in the medical community. They have been able to successfully reclassify a feeding tube as “medical treatment,” making it somehow acceptable to starve and dehydrate an innocent human being to death even though we all need food and water to survive. But perhaps even more disturbing is how they have convinced the general public that some people’s lives are not worth living because of their age, illness, or disability.  

The effectiveness of the death with dignity movement, coupled with changes in public policy, now puts the lives of many people like Terri in the hands of doctors, medical boards, and ethics committees. In other words, families are being completely removed from the decision-making process of what care their family member should receive.

Contrary to the picture painted by Michael Schiavo’s attorney, right-to-die advocates, and the mainstream media, Terri Schiavo’s death was anything but “peaceful and painless.” After nearly two weeks without food or water, Terri’s lips were extremely cracked and blistered. Her skin began turning different shades of yellow and blue. Her breathing became shallow and rapid, and her moaning indicated the excruciating pain she was experiencing. Her face became extremely thin and bony, with her teeth protruding forward. Blood began to pool in her deeply sunken eyes.

This is the way Terri Schiavo died. Anyone who calls this type of death “peaceful and painless” is either ignorant or lying. There is a reason the court ordered no cameras or video in Terri’s room—they wanted to hide the truth and conceal a murder.

The Spread of Assisted Suicide and Its Slippery Slope

Laws decriminalizing assisted suicide are gaining traction. Currently, seven states plus the District of Columbia allow physician-assisted suicide. In 2009, the Montana Supreme Court ruled that nothing in state law prevented a physician from helping a terminally ill, fully aware patient commit suicide. Twenty states are debating such legislation this year alone. And while right-do-die advocates argue that these laws allow people to die with dignity, the case of Terri Schiavo proves otherwise.

Assisted suicide laws put the United States on a very slippery slope, a slope that will ultimately lead to more cases like Terri Schiavo. Most “death with dignity” laws require a doctor’s prognosis of six months or less to live in order to administer drugs that will end the patient’s life. And although doctors have far more knowledge than the average person, a prognosis is still an educated guess. That person could live weeks, months, or even years after their predicted death date. In short, assisted suicide laws could kill people who have a lot of life left to live.

Furthermore, assisted suicide opens the door to euthanasia. Assisted suicide always requires the patient’s consent and participation to hasten death, whether by taking lethal drugs or other means. Euthanasia, on the other hand, does not require the patient’s participation but can be administered completely by a doctor. Even more disturbing, not all euthanasia is voluntary. Some patients are euthanized without the consent of themselves or their family.

For example, last month, Fairview Hospital in Edina, Minnesota had threatened to remove oxygen from Catie Cassidy, a 64-year-old lung cancer patient who would have suffocated to death without oxygen. In video documented by the Life Legal and Defense Foundation, Cassidy clearly states that she wants to live. Thankfully, the Life Legal and Defense Foundation won her case and she continues to receive oxygen. But Catie Cassidy’s story represents what will happen when patient consent is disregarded and families are excluded from end-of-life decisions. As the government takes over more and more of the health care sector, they will naturally be more involved in the decision-making process. What is stopping governments from passing laws to weed out the disabled, elderly, or terminally ill—people who some would say cannot contribute anything to society?

In fact, this is already happening. Oregon, ironically the first state to legalize assisted suicide in the U.S., passed a law last year allowing patients with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other mental illnesses to be starved and dehydrated to death. If the patient had not previously given directions about their healthcare (known as a “contrary advanced directive”) should they become mentally impaired, this bill now allows caretakers to deprive the patient of food and water. Countries that have had assisted suicide for years now—like Canada and the Netherlands—are now looking to expand their laws to allow for more and more assisted suicides, even for those who haven’t requested it. This is eerily reminiscent of the eugenics espoused by Charles Darwin and put into practice by Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany. It is also the premise upon which Margaret Sanger founded Planned Parenthood. America, the freest nation in the world, will cease to be free if it embraces these philosophies.  

Life is Precious at All Stages

Who are we to decide when a person should die or when a life is not worth living? Just because a person cannot care for themselves doesn’t mean they can’t contribute something to society, as Terri Schiavo’s life so clearly demonstrated. All life is precious and created in the image of God. We all have something to contribute, regardless of our age, disability, illness, or prognosis. As a nation that boasts of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” we must protect life at all stages—from conception until natural death. 

The Ongoing Struggle vs. The End Game

by Family Research Council

July 31, 2014

Several years ago I read this letter on the Priests for Life website. It gives readers a chilling look at what the future might hold, Frighteningly, the contents of this letter are becoming reality more and more each day.

The letter is from a young woman to her mother, wanting to share some difficult news in a tactful manner. While trying to soften the blow of her news, she mentions her busy life and her husband’s much-needed job promotion before sharing her true reason for writing: telling her mom that she will be euthanatizing her son. It’s not that he’s a bad kid. It’s just that his life is an unfair burden. When reading this warning, I hoped that that was a future scenario never to come.  It is eerie to see how this letter foreshadowed exactly what is happening today in Europe.

In February, Belgium voted to legalize child euthanasia for children of all ages. It doesn’t matter if little Jenny is 5 or 15. Parents now have the right to kill their own children. While the law does state that minors must “be in a hopeless medical situation of constant and unbearable suffering that cannot be eased and which will cause death in the short term,” if we are honest with ourselves, we know that this “stipulation” is elastic to the point that it willbe bent and stretched over time

It’s not only little ones who continue to be targeted by the Culture of Death. Rimante Šalaševiciute, the new prime minister of Lithuania, feels that euthanasia should be a viable option for the poor. Recently, she told local media that “euthanasia might be an option for people who did not want to torment relatives with the spectacle of their suffering.” This new attack on life, as ludicrous as it sounds, should not take us by surprise. First we were told that life within the womb really isn’t life at all. Then we are told that young life, be it sick or troubled, is worthy of death. Now we are told that caring for loved ones less privileged than ourselves is “torment.”

I think we have learned by now that the battling the Culture of Death is an ongoing struggle. It is a Culture led by “a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).  However, unlike most battles in life, we know the end of the story. The Author of Life is on our side, and because of that, Death will never win.


When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

1 Corinthians 15:54

Cruel Brittania: Euthanizing Sick Babies and Old Ladies?

by Cathy Ruse

November 30, 2012

The London Daily Mail published an explosive report in June citing claims from a top neurologist that elderly patients who are not dying are being euthanized – as many as 130,000 of them.

Professor Pullicino, a consultant neurologist for East Kent Hospitals and Professor of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Kent, made claims during a speech to the Royal Society of Medicine in London that the Liverpool Care Pathway, a method of looking after terminally ill patients when death is imminent, was being employed too often on elderly patients who could live longer.

Now there are new claims from another doctor in Englandthat the Liverpool Care Pathway is being used on severely-disabled newborn babies whose death is not imminent. His assertions are published anonymously in the British Medical Journal

LifeNews.com has been following this story as it develops here and here.

Death with Dignity? More Like War on New Mexicos Elderly!

by Family Research Council

July 16, 2012

Currently, Doctors Aroop Mangalik and Katherine Morris, along with cancer patient Aja Riggs, are challenging New Mexicos pro-life ban on assisted suicide in court. They ultimately want to prove that their loophole aid in dying argumentgiving conscious terminally ill patients lethal medicine to dieis not assisted suicide. In their view, New Mexicos assisted suicide ban does not take advanced terminal illness treatment into account and does not bar physicians from practicing aid in dying procedures. Looks like these plaintiffs are circumventing the states law to impose their pro-death will through court.

Essentially, this case is a carbon copy of Baxter v. Montana (2009), which ruled that terminally ill patients have the right to die, even with the help of a physician, and that prosecuted physicians can potentially defend humane consent they gave to their patients. Looking to this case for inspiration, Doctors Mangalik and Morris are adamantly pushing for assisted death with dignity in New Mexico, because they believe that symptomatic relief [for terminally ill patients] is impossible to achieve without the use of terminal sedation, a practice where the physician administers medications to render the patient unconscious, while nutrition and hydration are withheld until death occurs. Sounds like a pair of compassionate and oh-so humanitarian doctors that truly care about the health and safety of societys most vulnerable adults, right? No, wrong. If these doctors were truly abiding by the Hippocratic oath, they would not be advocating for a merciless way to starve rather than truly heal patients suffering from terrible terminal illnesses.

To humanize their actions, Doctors Mangalik and Morris have chosen Aja Riggs as one of their fellow plaintiffs. Aja, who unfortunately suffers from pain caused by advanced uterine cancer, decided to join the case, because she wants herself and others to have the choice to end their lives with the help of a physician. Although her justifications make sense given her condition, assisted suicide should not be the solution for patients with terminal illnesses. Why? Because terminally ill patients have the very same human dignity that the unborn and healthy infants, children, and adults have, even if they are unfortunately trapped in a state of incontinence and have difficulties with controlling basic bodily functions. Instead, patients like Ms. Riggs should seek palliative caretrue compassionate and pro-life care that helps terminally ill patients relieve their pain and live their life to the fullest extent. Moreover, it is also patient-focused, since it fosters a comfortable, homelike environment that suits the patients needs. Although palliative care does not reverse the patients condition and completely relieve suffering, it truly respects every patients inherent human dignity by promoting natural death and reaffirming life.

If Ms. Riggs and Doctors Mangalik and Morris win this case with their loophole argument, New Mexico will embark on the deathly slippery slopes that Oregon and Washington state have already taken. Since the Death with Dignity Act was enacted in Oregon in 1998, few psychiatric evaluations have been given to patients seeking assisted suicide, and patients receive written prescriptions years in advance before they meet the 6-month life expectancy guideline. In Washington, a 2011 state report shockingly does not specify if patients voluntarily died from assisted suicide. As a result, these pro-choice laws that champion death with dignity have only resulted in rampant abuse, malpractice, and lies. Although this case will be finalized next year, New Mexicos most vulnerable citizensthe elderlyshould be deeply concerned about Morris v. New Mexico, since it poses a threat to their very health, safety and longevity. Besides protecting unborn children from abortion, we must continue to protect the elderlyour grandparentsfrom the perils of assisted suicide.

Rationed Healthcare and Assisted Suicide

by Family Research Council

July 15, 2010

Last week we learned that President Obama made a recess appointment of Dr. Donald Berwick to be administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Berwick, a man who has been called a one-man death panel, repeatedly has stated his support for rationed healthcare.

What will this appointment mean to those of us who believe that every life has dignity, regardless of its stage or health status? One clear concern, in addition to rationed healthcare, is assisted suicide.

A recent letter to the editor written by an Oregon doctor drove home this critical connection between assisted suicide and rationed healthcare.

…remember the names Barbara Wagner and Randy Stroup. Wagner was an Oregon resident who died in 2008. The Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid) refused to pay for a cancer drug to possibly prolong her life and offered to pay for her suicide instead. This position saved the plan money. Stroup had a similar experience. The plan would not pay for a drug to prolong his life and ease his pain, but would pay for his suicide. He said: ‘This is my life they’re playing with.’ In both cases, the Oregon Health Plan’s position was only possible because assisted suicide is legal in Oregon. With assisted suicide now at issue in Idaho, will you and your families be the next Randy Stroups? Will you be the next Barbara Wagners?

The decision regarding the legality of assisted suicide in the U.S. currently resides with the states. A number of states have chosen to make it legal, among them Oregon, Washington and Montana. Idaho currently is considering similar legislation.

Advocacy groups have waged strong campaigns in areas that potentially could legalize assisted suicide. In Pennsylvania, a group recently has been posting controversial billboards advocating for the legalization of assisted suicide. Another such advocacy group is Compassion and Choices,” which has been lobbying in Idaho.

Every person, regardless of race, age, health, etc., has an inherent right to life. Sadly, it is becoming more and more obvious as we begin to see the new healthcare law rolled out that the Presidents health care regime is not about respecting a person’s dignity or inherent rights, especially that most basic right to life from conception to natural death.

In the Know…

by Krystle Gabele

September 24, 2009

Here’s something for your news cravings today.

In the Know…

by Krystle Gabele

September 2, 2009

Gone are the days of the Daily Buzz and Blogosphere Buzz. Instead, I decided to incorporate the two to create “In the Know.” Don’t worry, you will still receive your daily dose of news.

Here’s some articles of interest for your morning:

Daily Buzz

by Family Research Council

September 1, 2009

Here’s some news articles of interest for your afternoon.

Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

August 27, 2009

Here’s some news buzz to keep you informed on all of the happenings both here in D.C. and around the country.

  • Group that opposes gay marriage now targeting Iowa,” Michael J. Crumb, Associated Press (August 27, 2009)
  • The National Organization for Marriage has launched the Reclaim Iowa Project, targeting legislative races in the state in an effort to elect candidates who support putting the issue of gay marriage before voters.

    Iowa is important because the Supreme Court decision was so against the will of the people of Iowa and the Legislature and Gov. (Chet) Culver showed absolutely no backbone in giving the people the right to have their voices heard,” said Brian Brown, the organization’s executive director.”

  • NJ Catholic bishops campaign against gay marriage,” Associated Press (August 26, 2009)
  • Roman Catholic bishops in New Jersey have begun a new campaign opposing same-sex marriage.

    The push comes in anticipation of a possible vote on the issue by state lawmakers after the November election.”

  • Kansas abortion fight spills into Nebraska,” Associated Press (August 26, 2009)
  • Debate continues over Utah sex ed changes,” Lisa Schencker, The Salt Lake Tribune (August 26, 2009)
  • ” Educators, students and parents continued to debate Wednesday whether youth should learn more about contraception in school, at the latest meeting exploring a proposed change to Utah’s sex education law.

    Rep. Lynn Hemingway, D-Salt Lake City, presented a draft of his bill, which would require school districts to offer two tracks of sex education: one that would teach abstinence only and another where teachers would still promote abstinence but also include information on sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and contraceptives. Parental permission would be required for students to take the second track.”

  • Condom Olympics at Miss Universe Pageant Blasted by Womens Groups,” Adam Brickley, CNSNews.com (August 27, 2009)
  • The Miss Universe pageant and an AIDS prevention group are under fire for staging a Condom Olympics for contestants just three days prior to last Sundays competition in the Bahamas.”

  • Christian Doctors Raise Flags Over New Pro-Suicide Bias in U.S. Law, Policy,” Aaron J. Leichman, The Christian Post (August 27, 2009)
  • As physicians, we recognize the value of advance planning and counseling and appointing a personal healthcare proxy, commented Dr. Gene Rudd, senior vice president of the 16,000-member CMA. The VA manual goes a step further, however, subtly raising with vulnerable patients the possibility that physical impairments might make their lives, in the words of the manual, not worth living.

    The 52-page manual, entitled, “Your Life, Your Choices: Planning for Future Medical Decisions,” lists scenarios such as being in a wheelchair, needing kidney dialysis, or requiring a feeding tube and then asks the patient to consider whether those situations might make his or her life “not worth living.”

  • Human Trial of Embryonic Stem Cell Research Stopped Due to Animal Problems,” Steven Ertelt, LifeNews.com (August 27, 2009)
  • When used in animal research, injections of embryonic stem cells formed tumors afterwards and also prompted the immune system of the intended recipients to reject the cells.

    The FDA delayed the trials to review studies of the therapy, called GRNOPC1, in its use with animals.

    Now, new reports indicate problems associated with the animals in Geron’s studies prompted the FDA to halt the human trials. Specifically, the animals developed cysts at the injury sites after the injections.”

  • New Hampshire Court orders Christian homeschooled girl to attend public school,” Pete Chagnon, OneNewsNow (August 26, 2009)
  • A Christian homeschool girl in New Hampshire has been ordered into government-run public school for having “sincerely held” religious beliefs — and the Alliance Defense Fund is troubled by the ruling.”

Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

August 11, 2009

After a long hiatus, the Daily Buzz is back. Here are some news articles that I found particularly interesting today.

  • The Obama Administration has been fairly silent about the provisions for abortion in the health care bill. The Baptist Press has a great article about the Administration’s silence on the provisions.
  • Kansas is back in the news again. This time, The Wichita Eagle reports that the Governor and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment has stripped funding from a program that gives state money to groups who provide alternatives to abortion.
  • This morning, I came across an interesting article by Eric Gorski of the Associated Press that discussed the conflict of young Evangelical Christians torn between premarital sex and waiting for marriage. Continue reading…
  • The controversial health care bill that will be debated in Congress will provide doctors incentive to push euthanasia. Read more about this on LifeNews.com.
  • The Christian Post reports that homeschoolers are scoring well above those attending public schools in reading, math, social studies, and language.
  • If you haven’t already done so, read Nonie Darwish’s article in FrontPage Magazine about Islam.

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