NEW AWARD-WINNING DOCUMENTARY OF THE TERRI SCHIAVO CASE EXPLORES IMPORTANT SOCIAL ISSUES OVERLOOKED BY THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA

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"By order of the government, a healthy young woman was denied food and water until she died."

(Nashville, TN) - The story of Terri Schiavo caused a nationwide uproar that garnered the attention of the worldwide media, the U.S. Congress, and even the office of the President of the United States. The ethical and cultural implications of her case are still being felt throughout society and continue to spark debate. In the newly-released documentary, The Terri Schiavo Story (Franklin Springs Family Media), previously unexplored facts of the case are revealed through in-depth interviews with participants on both sides of the issue. Hosted by author and speaker Joni Eareckson Tada, who became personally involved in the case in 2005, The Terri Schiavo Story sheds new light on the controversial decision that led to the death of a 41-year-old disabled woman.

In 1990, at the age of 26, Terri Schindler Schiavo suffered a mysterious cardio-respiratory arrest for which no cause has ever been determined. She was diagnosed with hypoxic encephalopathy - a neurological injury caused by lack of oxygen to the brain. Terri was placed on a ventilator, but was soon able to breathe on her own and maintain vital function. She remained in a severely compromised neurological state and was provided a PEG tube to ensure the safe delivery of nourishment and hydration. On March 31, 2005, Terri Schindler Schiavo died of marked dehydration following more than 13 days without nutrition or hydration under the order of Circuit Court Judge, George W. Greer of the Pinellas-Pasco's Sixth Judicial Court.

Veteran producer and director Ken Carpenter felt the story deserved to be re-told, but he did not anticipate the amount of new information that would come to light. "Working on this project made clear to me that we need to keep Terri's story alive. Our children need to know the lines were drawn when our government and court system let Terri die."

Joni Eareckson Tada, herself disabled after a diving accident which left her a quadriplegic in a wheelchair and unable to use her hands, says what happened to Terri continues to affect disabled citizens. "The story remains relevant because there are countless people like Terri Schiavo whose lives are in grave danger because of unclear custody and guardianship laws," says Tada. "Plus, more states (under futile care policy directives) are quietly removing the feeding tubes from brain-injured people when families abandon their responsibilities. Feeding tubes are providing basic care, not medical treatment."

Terri's brother, Bobby Schindler, was interviewed at length in the documentary and is now involved in helping families in similar circumstances through The Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation. Schindler believes the truth about his sister's death has been distorted and hidden - until now.

"Our hope is that people will learn the truth about what happened to Terri," says Schindler, "and realize the atrocity that it was and that anyone who claims that her death was 'peaceful' and 'painless' is lying. It is because of the truly inhumane nature of death by dehydration that when people are killed this way it is always done behind closed doors in the strictest secrecy. I wholeheartedly believe that if the public had been allowed to witness Terri's suffering first hand, the outcry would have deafened Florida and the world."

Tada was on the front lines with Terri's family in 2005, helping lead the protests that eventually landed in the halls of the U.S. Congress. "I hope that people understand that Terri Schiavo's story is really our story," says Tada. "We have a special obligation to protect the weak and vulnerable in our society. We have a responsibility to uphold their human dignity -- because we are of equal dignity, we are not at each other's disposal. The weak and the vulnerable need their rights safeguarded and protected... we must not allow them to become eroded. For when we do, we are jeopardizing the rights of us all."

Originally produced as an episode for the Joni & Friends television series, Franklin Springs Family Media felt the story was compelling enough to produce as a stand-alone project. Their decision was recently justified when The Terri Schiavo Story won the Jubliee Award for Best Documentary at the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival.

For more information and to view a trailer for the new documentary, visit: www.TheSchiavoStory.com.
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4 Comments

The government didn't "LET TERRI DIE." The court CAUSED her death by ordering that she not have any nutrition or hydration BY ANY MEANS WHATSOEVER. That is very different from simply removing a feeding tube. She court prohibited her from having an eye dropper of water, a wet washcloth on her lips, a speck of applesauce,...not even a touch of chapstick on her severely dehydrated, cracked lips. ANYONE WOULD HAVE BEEN MURDERED UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES. This is shameful...and I have no doubt that time will prove this to be true. However, Terri, the Martyr for Life, will live on, in our hearts, in our prayers and in heaven.

It was an execution. The government put armed guards around her hospital cell to prevent her from getting water or food. Good Samaitans not permitted here.

Our government allowed and encouraged the murder of Terri. Not only was she executed by government decree, she was executed in the most inhumane fashion known to humankind. It is a tragedy and an outrage what she had to endure, and what her family had to endure. The argument from those who wanted her to die was that "Terri didn't want to live in a vegetative state, and she couldn't comprehend what was happening to her anyway." If that was the case, why did they protest the fact that her family wanted to take her home and care for her? According to them, Terri didn't know the difference anyway. I have closely followed this case from day one and there was so much about it that was misreported or not reported. We must not forget Terri and all that she represents for those of us who treasure the sanctity of life. Her story must be told. I pray to God others will not have to suffer the injustice and pain that Terri and her loved ones did. This is why her story MUST be told, and repeated, until the day we no longer have to defend the disabled, old or sick human being's right to be born, and their right to life without exception until their natural death.

My loved one was killed in much the same way. Because he had a brain injury, he was not offered surgery that might have saved his life, and this could have been done before the damage to his heart was so severe that surgery was no longer possible. A nurse sneakily removed his needed oxygen--we discovered this when we went to the hospital to see him. We would have to demand that his nasal oxygen cannula be put back into his nose. He could not have removed the oxygen cannula himself. There were attempts to dehydrate him to death. (His tongue turned brown from dehydration.) All of this was done absolutely without consent and to our horror and sorrow. We were told: "You should feel guilty" (for trying to keep him alive). We were told that "it would be different if he were 40 years old and a 'productive' citizen"... and "Do you have $40,000 to $50,000?" We were told "Religion, religion...that doesn't matter." To die from dehydration or to be deliberately deprived of oxygen is painful. We were treated very badly by staff and it reminded me of what I've read of Nazi euthanasia. The agony of the family is unspeakable and the grief is compounded by the horror of what was done and what was not done for him. We could not stop it. I pray that someone who has the power to stop this killing of the disabled will care enough to stop it. (We were heart-broken when Terri Schiavo died).




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