For Right to Life
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
As the fourth anniversary of Terri Schiavo's death approaches, the ethical and cultural implications of her case are still being felt throughout society. In the newly-released documentary, The Terri Schiavo Story, previously unexplored facts of the case are revealed through in-depth interviews with participants on both sides of the issue. The case remains a touchstone of controversy. President Obama recently said one of his "regrets" as a Senator was voting for Congress to intervene to save Terri's life.
At the age of 26, Terri Schindler Schiavo suffered a cardio-respiratory arrest for which no cause has ever been determined. She was diagnosed with 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, she died of marked dehydration following more than 13 days without nutrition or hydration under the order of the Pinellas-Pasco's Sixth Judicial Court.
So what did the mainstream media overlook? "I think most people thought Terri had no prospects of improving," says Ken Carpenter, the film's producer and director. "The truth is the doctors believed Terri was a candidate for rehabilitation, but her husband withheld that treatment. Additionally, we uncovered that only one judge ruled on the facts of the case."
The film's host Joni Eareckson Tada, herself disabled after a diving accident which left her a quadriplegic in a wheelchair, says Terri's case continues to affect disabled citizens. "There are countless people like Terri whose lives are in danger because of unclear custody and guardianship laws," says Tada. "More states are 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, is now involved in helping families in similar circumstances through The Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation. "I believe that if the public had been allowed to witness Terri's suffering first hand, the outcry would have deafened Florida and the world," says Schindler. "Death by dehydration is truly inhumane which is why it is always done in the strictest secrecy."
The Terri Schiavo Story recently won the Jubliee Award for Best Documentary at the San Antonio Independent Film Festival.
To view a film trailer, visit: http://www.TheSchiavoStory.com.
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.