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Illinois Federation

For Right to Life

Daily News

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Disabled California Woman Saved from Government-Sanctioned Starvation


Heart attack victim Janet Rivera, who, like Terri Schiavo, was denied food and water for 11 days in July, was saved from the specter of death by starvation Sept. 9, when her brother was named her permanent conservator.


"Praise God, this woman was snatched from such an excruciating death," said Judie Brown, president of American Life League in response to the new development. "Janet was spared the fate of Terri Schiavo, but still we hope this case exposes the threat that hangs over us all - government euthanasia for the sick, elderly and disabled."


The victory marks the final win for the Rivera family who has fought unceasingly for her life since she was placed in the hands of Fresno, California government officials in June. Rivera's public guardian ordered her death by starvation in July and had her feeding tube removed.


Public outcry ensued and Rivera's feeding tube was reinserted.


The 46-year-old woman suffered a heart attack in 2006. According to Judge Debra Kazanjian, Rivera's husband, Jesus Rivera, relinquished custody as he was unable to provide for Rivera's medical care. When doctors indicated Rivera might never recover, the public guardian ordered her feeding tube removed.


Rivera's brother Michael Dancoff plans to take his sister back to her San Francisco family where he hopes she will awaken and recover.


"We hope this case will shed light on the other victims of government abuse. Janet's case is not an isolated incident. Sick people all over the country are in serious danger of being denied their basic needs under the guise of compassion," Brown said. "None of us should feel safe while our right to food and water, ordinary care, is viciously trampled on. No one should die by starvation."



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The IFRL is the largest grassroots pro-life organization in Illinois. A non-profit organization, that serves as the state coordinating body for local pro-life chapters representing thousands of Illinois citizens working to restore respect for all human life in our society. The IFRL is composed of people of different political persuasions, various faiths and diverse economic, social and ethnic backgrounds. Since 1973 the Illinois Federation for Right to Life has been working to end abortion and restore legal protection to those members of the human family who are threatened by abortion, infanticide and euthanasia. Diverse though we are, we hold one common belief - that every human being has an inalienable right to life that is precious and must be protected. IFRL is dedicated to restoring the right to life to the unborn, and protection for the disabled and the elderly.   Click here to learn more about the IFRL.