Communications Department

NRLC Statement Regarding the Starvation of Terri Schindler-Schiavo

Oct 15, 2003 | 2003 Press Releases

In this agonizing hour the thoughts and prayers of pro-life people everywhere must be with Terri Schindler-Schiavo and her family. Terri Schindler-Schiavo’s tube feeding is today scheduled for discontinuation by court order.

Tragically, denial of basic sustenance to people with disabilities is neither unusual nor new in our country. For about two decades, the law in virtually every state has decreed that “surrogates” may authorize denial of treatment to those who cannot speak for themselves. Consequently, vulnerable people with impaired consciousness have routinely been denied life-saving treatment, food and fluids until they die.

Perhaps not until the publicity about this case have large numbers of Americans recognized how deep and widespread is the commitment to the “quality of life” ethic among doctors, hospitals, and the courts. As we work to reverse this “culture of death,” there is one immediate step that must be taken to reduce the risk that our family members will be denied treatment.

Everyone should fill out a legal document called the “Will to Live,” available for each state from the website , making clear one’s desire not to be starved or denied life-saving treatment if unable to make health care decisions for oneself. While it may still be necessary to battle doctors and hospitals who do not want to give life-saving care, the Will to Live legally eliminates any question about the desires of the patient.

On this tragic day, every pro-life American should be immediately motivated to take this step to safeguard the members of his or her own family.

The National Right to Life Committee is the nation’s largest pro-life group with affiliates in all 50 states and over 3,000 local chapters nationwide. NRLC works through education and legislation to protect those threatened by abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and assisted suicide