Ecumenical Group: Care For Terri Schiavo,
Do Not Kill Her

To: National Desk

Contact: Rev. Kirk vander Swaagh, Vice President of National Pro-Life Religious Council, 212.924.2030, 917.579.7180,

The case of Terri Schiavo is complex. First, there is the medical dimension that is filled with technical vocabulary. Then there is the legal dimension and its uncommon procedures. The political dimension involves each claim being quickly met with a counterclaim. With political arguments added to the conflicted medical and ever-shifting legal challenges of the case, it is no wonder that complexity seems to be winning the day.

Responding to the complex case of Terri Schiavo, the Great Tradition of the Church universal offers this simple truth: Terri Schiavo, the person, deserves care, not killing. The authoritative traditions of Evangelical and Oldline Protestantism, Orthodoxy, and Roman Catholicism declare in one strong voice that each person is created in the image of God and is invested with human dignity. This God-given human dignity is not erased by debilitating disabilities or enhanced by admirable abilities. This God-given dignity remains constant, despite the condition and the circumstance of the person. This God-given dignity demands the recognition and protection of the state.

To be sure, Terri Schiavo is a severely brain-damaged person. But her disability did not put her in a dying condition. Nor did her disability make her a "vegetable." Nor did her disability make her an animal. Rather, Terri Schiavo, disabled as she is, is a person with human dignity. As such, she is deserving of loving care, which includes food and fluid.

While medical nuances, legalities, and politics can create a fog of complexity, the public vocation of the Church universal, on this Wednesday of Holy Week 2005, is to call judges, lawyers, politicians, and citizens to act in the simple truth: recognize and protect the human dignity, indeed the human life, of Terri Schiavo. Care for Terri Schiavo. Do not kill her.

The National Pro-Life Religious Council (NPRC) is a Christian coalition which acknowledges Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and works to encourage every Christian denomination to affirm and witness to the Biblical standard of the value, dignity, and sanctity of human life, and fosters ministry to those vulnerable to the violence of abortion or euthanasia. NPRC is composed of Alpha Omega Life (an Orthodox group), Black Americans for Life, Conservative Congregational Christian Conference, International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church, LEARN, Lutherans for Life, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, National Black Catholic Apostolate for Life, National Clergy Council, NOEL (an Anglican-Episcopalian group), Presbyterians Pro-Life, Priests for Life, Taskforce of United Methodists on Abortion and Sexuality, and United Friends for Life.