Date: November 3, 2003 540-785-4733


NPRC Comments on Schiavo Case: "From Guardian to Predator"

The maelstrom which has surrounded Terri Schindler-Schiavo demonstrates a profound confusion over what constitutes the guardianship and care of a person in need. Michael Schiavo has sought to end his wife's life by starvation. The National Pro-life Religious Council [NPRC], a coalition of diverse groups within the Christian tradition, challenges the assumptions which underlay Micael Schiavo's position as we believe they have dangerous and far reaching implications.

The problem begins with the increasingly accepted notion that we have the right to a certain "quality of life" and when that is somehow vitiated by sickness or, as in the case of Terri Schiavo, tragic circumstance, one then has a consequent right to actively take their own life. Presuming this right, Michael Schiavo has asserted that based upon prior conversation which he asserts they shared, Terri would want him to kill her.

The NPRC believes such assumptions run contrary to nature and revealed truth. Life is a gift from the hand of a gracious God. In the words of the psalmist, "it is he that has made us, not we ourselves." We are not free to disparage this gift by disposing of it when we wish. We are called rather to be faithful stewards over our lives and the lives of others. Such self-respect and concern for others is implied when Jesus teaches that we are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Though we may rightfully strive to maintain our health and better our lot, there is not an inherent guarantee to a certain "quality of life."

In addition to challenging the rational for viewing the starving of someone to death as something which furthers human dignity, the NPRC believes this case raises many disturbing questions. Among them are: Is the giving of nourishment to be considered an "extraordinary" measure? Does the marriage bond include the right to put one's spouse to death? The conversation which Michael Schiavo asserts he had with his wife before tragedy struck involved a hypothetical situation. How do we know that when confronted with a real life circumstance Terri would not change her opinion and choose life rather than to have herself killed? Before any further attempt is made on her life, the NPRC calls upon the State of Florida, and if need be, the Federal courts, to insist that Terri Schindler-Schiavo be provided with food and nourishment.