Last week Arizona Right to Life sponsored an evening with Bobby Schindler, brother of Terri Schiavo who is now working full-time for the Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation. The Phoenix event drew hundreds people and included an introduction by Fr. Frank Pavone, president of Priests for Life.
The evening was important because it called attention to the secular mindset that led to the acceptance of Terri Schiavo’s death and set a vision for reversing laws that devalue the disabled and equate nutrition and hydration to medical treatment.
During his introduction Fr. Pavone asserted,
"The right to kill the unborn is inseparable from the right to kill the born... Terri Schiavo was murdered. She would not have been murdered if we did not have Roe versus Wade."
"A right is a moral claim," he explained. "We do not have a moral claim on death and the advocates of the right to die know it. They are not interested in the right to die. They are interested in the right to kill."
Bobby Schindler spoke passionately and with emotional charge, still carrying the pain and grief that followed the public dehydration of his sister and yet describing his hope and vision for the future.
"It still astonishes me that we fought for 15 years because we simply wanted to bring her home to take care of her," he said, later adding, "Society has taken a monumental shift to accept a quality of life standard ... thousands have been killed. It is happening every day."
Bobby Schindler believes laws that set the groundwork for Terri’s death were motivated by the expense of carrying for the disabled and elderly. "Most of the attention has been given to abortion by our friends in the pro-life movement," he noted. "Meanwhile the healthcare industry has been flying under the radar, changing state laws."
He explained that the evolution of the euthanasia movement has led to the legality of killing brained damaged patients who were expensive to care for by classifying their condition as terminal and non-interactive and their care as artificial life support.
"The success or failure of the euthanasia movement is based on the classification of feeding tubes as a medical treatment," stated Schindler.
The press participated in the right to kill movement as well. "There were over a dozen national disability organizations who supported Terri’s right to live," he said. "The press refused to recognize the voice of the disability community."
Based on Bobby Schindler's talk, the vision for the Schindler-Schiavo Foundation appears to include the following elements:
- Oppose the valuation of a person based on the “quality” of his or her life;
- fight the ambiguous and subjective classification of brain damaged individuals as vegetables (PVS) and terminally ill;
- and change laws that define assisted eating and drinking via feeding tubes as medical treatments.