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Do you hear it? I do. The countdown clock is ticking – the zero hour is 1 p.m. EST, March 18 … five days from today.

On that day, a young woman in Florida will begin being murdered by the judiciary. It appears no one can stop it. Now that’s power.

On that day, the tube supplying food and water to an infirm young woman, Terri Schiavo, will be removed. It will be done for just one purpose: to kill her. To end her life.

Her father, Robert Schindler, calls it “judicial homicide.” It’s more than that.

If Terri’s feeding tube is removed and she dies, it will be a permanent stain on the honor of this country and our system of law. It is a fact that we deliberately, legally, kill unborn children for reasons that have nothing to do with the child or its condition.

With the case of Terri Schiavo, the door to legally eliminating “the imperfect” among us has been opened. If Terri dies – as the Florida court is ordering, as her husband-in-name-only demands, as his euthanasia-supporter attorney argues – there isn’t one of us who will ever be safe from the system.

It will set legal precedent making it possible and legally permissible for any medical personnel, any hospital or other institution, any lawyer, judge or lawmaker to decide it’s time for us to die.

They will let it happen, or make it happen – makes no difference. The only thing that matters is that someone else decides your fate, the fate of your children, spouse, parents, siblings, family member, neighbor or anyone else.

When I say “decides your fate,” I mean that in the most permanent sense. They’ll decide who should live or die, on their timetable. They’ll do it by refusing treatment or stopping treatment. It already happens every day, without any publicity and very often against the wishes of family. Medical people and institutions get away with it secretly or by intimidation. It’s that power again.

The ugly truth is, it’s murder. The other ugly truth is there’s often nothing you can do about it. If Terri Schiavo is killed, murder of the innocent will be locked in the law.

Screaming feminists are always at the ready with their mouths and their marching when it comes to “women’s rights.” Terri Schiavo is a woman with a two-timing husband who has treated her negligently for 15 years and wants her dead. Where are the feminists?

Bleeding hearts hold candlelight vigils to prevent the execution of condemned murderers, regardless the heinousness of the crimes. Terri Schiavo committed no crime; she fell victim to some unknown malady or unexplained injury and is now an impaired human being who, on court order, will be killed by neglect – removal of food and water. Where are the bleeding hearts?

Human-rights activists condemn the United States for our capital punishment laws and for allegations concerning prison treatment. They march and demonstrate and rail. Terri Schiavo has been refused therapy, medical treatment, proper equipment, even walks outside and now she is to be starved and dehydrated to death, on court order. Where are the human-rights activists?

Churches preach and teach about the sanctity of life, the rights of the innocent, of kindness to the infirm, of gentleness for the afflicted. Terri Schiavo is alive and breathes on her own. She is not sick but she is infirm, having suffered brain damage from some unknown cause. She needs only food and water to survive, no more than any other human being on this planet. The system has decided she will die – that her food and water will be stopped. Where are the churches?

The media consistently take the side of the downtrodden, the have-nots, the poor. They pride themselves on presenting the “truth” with “no bias.” They report Terri is vegetative, in a coma, has no consciousness, had anorexia, had a heart attack, had a chemical imbalance, and really, really wanted to die. None of this is true. Most ignore the story. If newspapers do carry it, it’s a tiny throwaway buried deep in the paper. Where are the media?

The law is supposed to deal with justice; is supposed to be impartial; is supposed to protect the helpless and innocent. Terri Schiavo has been denied treatment and therapy, which might improve her physical condition. The judge ignores that.

Tests could better evaluate her condition. The judge refuses them.

There are x-rays that show Terri suffered major physical trauma. The judge refuses to allow them into evidence.

Every single petition filed by Terri’s family has been denied by Judge George Greer for 8 years. This week, he denied a request by the state of Florida to investigate allegations of abuse. Last week, he denied a petition by her parents to allow Terri to be divorced. He is supposed to be acting in Terri’s interest, yet he has never seen her and has just one position: Terri Schiavo will be starved and dehydrated to death. It could take as long as 15 gruesome days for her to die. Where is justice?

When a couple marries, each hopes to trust the other. Terri’s husband Michael was alone with her when her “incident” happened 15 years ago in their apartment, cutting off oxygen, leaving her brain damaged an unable to swallow.

He won nearly $2 million in lawsuits, but spent virtually all of it on legal efforts to stop feeding her so she’ll die. He says she wouldn’t want to live that way, but it’s only his word. Heresay.

If Terri got therapy so she could speak again, perhaps she could tell the world what she would want. Of course, she might also be able to tell the world what happened that night that left her crippled.

Terri’s priest wants to visit and administer communion. Her husband threatens the priest with arrest. Her parents want to visit and take pictures with her. Her husband requires a policeman be present and forbids photographs.

He refuses to divorce her so Terri can be home with her parents. He refuses all their requests, including that she be buried in a Catholic ceremony if she dies. He demands immediate cremation.

He hasn’t said when he will marry his “fiancee” by whom he has two children. Infidelity to the nth degree, but he maintains he is Terri’s loving husband. His “fiancee” is either brave or stupid – time will tell.

The real bravery is that of Terri’s parents and siblings. They have fought for her for 15 years, trying to save her life, spending every cent they have trying to buck what clearly is a corrupt legal system in Florida. How they’ve managed, I cannot comprehend except they are blessed.

Terri Schiavo needs our help. This is not mercy killing. She is not a vegetable. She is not brain dead. She is a damaged human being, but she is human. If we ignore that or pretend that because she is “damaged,” she has no value and it’s OK to kill her, we are no better than the Nazis who picked and chose who would live or die.

We fought a world war to stop that mentality. We must not fall victim now.

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