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Feb 8 2005
Christian Groups Rally Support for Terri Schindler Schiavo

Christian Groups Rally Support for Terri Schindler Schiavo

Susan Jones

Morning Editor

( - A number of Christian groups have announced their intention to save the life of brian-damaged Terri Schindler Schiavo, if her feeding and hydration tube is removed on orders from her husband, something that could happen soon.

In a press release, organizers of the save-Terri effort said they would encourage all those "who cherish the culture of life to come to Florida and stand in solidarity with Terri and her family should the courts order food and water withheld from her."

The groups behind the effort include the National Clergy Council, Operation Rescue, Christian Defense Coalition, Life Legal Defense Foundation, Generation Life, and Reclaiming America.

Those groups say they hope "scores" of people will come from around the country to "pray, lobby and peacefully intervene" on Terri's behalf.

"As a nation, we are judged not by how we treat the powerful and strong. Rather, we are judged by how we treat the weakest and most vulnerable in our society. Operation Rescue will do all within its power to see that Terri Schiavo is treated with dignity and respect and her right to life is protected," said Troy Newman, director of Operation Rescue.

The Rev. Rob Schenck, president of the National Clergy Council, said his group "calls upon the State of Florida to stand with Terri Schiavo to ensure her basic civil rights are protected."

The Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition, commented, "If Terri Schiavo were a pet, animal or convicted serial killer she would be given more rights and civil liberties than she is being afforded right now."

"Life Legal Defense Foundation stands in solidarity with Terri Schiavo because we believe in the sanctity of human life," said Dana Cody, the group's executive director. "If Terri's feeding tube is removed, she will die and agonizing death by dehydration and starvation that will set precedent leading to the forced death of other disabled individuals, thereby eroding the sanctity of all human life."

Brandi Swindell, national director of Generation Life, said Terri, despite her brain-damaged state, "should be guaranteed the most basic human and Constitutional rights which are afforded to all Americans."

And finally, Dr. Gary Cass, executive director of Reclaiming America, stated that his group "will use every resource available to us to save the life of Terri Schiavo and all those who are facing similar physical challenges. This campaign will shine a spotlight on the barbaric manner in which Terri is being treated and hopefully shock the conscience of our nation so it never happens again."

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal concerning the Florida right-to-life statute dubbed "Terri's Law," which the Florida courts have declared unconstitutional.

As previously reported, the case now goes back to the Florida courtroom of Pinellas County Circuit Judge George Greer, who has ruled three times that Terri's husband Michael Schiavo could remove his wife's feeding tube.

If Greer again rules in Michael Schiavo's favor, Terri Schindler Schiavo would be expected to die of dehydration and starvation within 10 to 15 days after her feeding tube is removed.

Terri's husband, who is now living with and raising children with another woman, says Terri made it clear long ago that she would not want to live in circumstances like those that have befallen her.

But Terri's family doesn't believe Terri ever specified her wishes, and they accuse Michael Schiavo of trying to get rid of her. Terri's family has begged Michael to turn over her care to them, but there is great bitterness between the two sides and he has refused.

Feb 8 2005

This is a very difficult situation any way you look at it. In the absence of the word of Mrs. Schiavo herself, naturally permission would normally defer to her husband, but her family has a legitimate point, considering the circumstances of the case -- Mr. Schiavo first petitioned to remove Terri's feeding tube in 1998, shortly after receiving a malpractice settlement of $1 million on her behalf.

Regardless of Mr. Schiavo's questionable behavior, the family would probably still be better off letting Terri go. But personally, I think there is something seriously wrong with the system when the laws surrounding euthanasia offer no better way to end the life of a brain-dead person than by allowing a slow, degrading natural death due to starvation and dehydration. No one, "person" or not, should be subjected to such a fate, especially when there are several more humane ways available of handling the situation.

Feb 8 2005

I am personally disturbed by the constant intervention of third parties believe that Mr. Shiavo's rights as a husband have been completly trampled on by her parents as well as the Florida legislature. This case should not have dragged out as long as it has. I can tell you that I have written down in black and white my exact wishes for myself. I have also told my parents that they are undre no circumstances override my or my husbands wishes. I married him and he is to make decisions for me when I can't. The same goes for him. When he can't make decisions (which has actually happened several times. He has epilepsy and occasionally has a seizure which leaves him unconscius.) I make them. Not his parents. He married me, not them.

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