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On this the fourth anniversary of the court-ordered, barbaric death of brain-injured Terri Schiavo, it is painfully clear the culture of death is alive and kicking:
- A pair of ambulance drivers responding to an emergency call elect not to resuscitate a disabled 53-year-old, deciding he wasn’t worth saving.
A hospital fails to feed a Down Syndrome patient, allowing him to starve to death over the course of 26 days. A subsequent inquiry exposes five other cases of the neglect of patients with learning disabilities.
A “how-to” manual on suicide by starvation prompts the “horrific” and “tortured” deaths of two elderly women.
Voters, judges and legislators around the globe continue to ignore the truth that all human life has intrinsic value and, instead, aid those seeking to bump off the inconvenient elderly and disabled.
Washington and Montana joined Oregon in legalizing physician-assisted suicide.
California now allows nurse-assisted
suicide of the “terminally ill” by means of dehydration and starvation.
Idaho stands on the precipice of adopting “futile care” standards which authorize doctors to disregard a patient’s advance written directive demanding life-sustaining treatment in the event of incapacitation.
Canada is considering allowing any individual to assist someone to commit suicide with or without a doctor
And last month the Italian court-ordered death by dehydration and starvation was carried out on 38-year-old Eluana Englaro, known as “Italy’s Terri Schiavo.”
Euthanasia is illegal in Italy, as it continues to be in Terri Schiavo’s former state of residence, Florida. Following the example of Terri’s husband, Michael Schiavo, Englaro’s father got the court to rule he could remove Eluana’s hydration and nutrition, which it was persuaded to view as “medical treatment.”
Injured in a car accident in 1992, Englaro remained in a minimally conscious state for 16 years. Like Terri Schiavo, Eluana was healthy and her body’s functions were not dependent on machines. However, she too received her nutrition through a feeding tube.
Like Terri, Eluana was neither suffering nor dying, but her guardian convinced the court she would not have wanted to live as a “vegetable” and won the “right” to end her life.
Unlike Terri, whose demise unfolded over an agonizing 13 days, Eluana died in four days while the Italian Parliament debated an emergency measure to save her life. News reports suggest heavy doses of sedatives accelerated the killing.
Reacting to Eluana’s death, Bobby Schindler, Terri’s brother, quoted Pope John Paul II who said, “We must save
ourselves from sinking into a culture of death.”
“Sadly, Eluana’s death again reminds us of the pope’s words,” he said. “Withholding her food and water – her most basic care – so that she would die, is really about us and how we are going to care for those who need our love and compassion to live.”
The Schindler family’s foundation, the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation serves on the front lines of the cultural war that rages between life and death. The foundation works to develop a national network of resources and support for the medically-dependent, persons with disabilities, and the incapacitated who are in or potentially facing life-threatening situations.
Today, for a second year in a row Terri’s family and supporters will observe “Terri’s Day” as a day to remember Terri but also to pray for the estimated tens of thousands who are in her condition.
A Catholic Mass is being held at the Ave Maria Oratory on
the campus of Ave Maria University in Naples, Florida.
“In our day and age people in Terri’s condition now have to prove themselves worthy of life,” Schindler recently explained to broadcast journalist John Sipos on his “hour Tampa Bay” radio program. “And that’s why we’re continuing with our foundation and why we have this Mass because this issue did not die with my sister. Every day in our country people are having their food and water taken away from them to cause their death.”
How many more Terri Schiavos will there be before the culture of death loses its tightening chokehold on the incapacitated and disabled?
Will we be able to save ourselves from the culture of death?