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Critique Revealing Disinformation that benefits the "Other Side" 

The article, Assisted suicide, euthanasia become issues in Schiavo case was listed in the "recent articles" section of [Note: The original content of was removed from the internet approximately three months after Terri Schindler Schiavo was forcibly dehydrated to death. Visit the archived site here.  At some point 40 medical affidavits were added to the renovated site.]

Assisted suicide, euthanasia become issues in Schiavo case
Jan 16, 2004
By Joni B. Hannigan

[Commentary is in blue.]

CLEARWATER, Fla. (BP)--Right-to-die and right-to-life proponents continue to square off in the widely publicized case of Terri Schiavo, a 40-year-old disabled woman whose husband is seeking the removal of her feeding and hydration tubes. [Michael is seeking Terri's death, not simply the removal of her gastric tube. The writer is giving the impression that Terri has more than one tube. According to, Terri has a gastric tube:

Terri receives food and water by way of a gastric feeding tube. (Quote source: Terri's life changes)

The gastric tube is the vehicle Terri's medical caregivers chose to provide her with nutrition and hydration. And no, removing the gastric tube does not necessarily equal death in Terri's case. (Since Terri does not fit the legal description of a person in a persistent vegetative state this should not even be an issue.) Removal of Terri's feeding tube will not necessarily result in her death unless she is also illegally denied food and water by mouth or maliciously sedated in order to prevent her from being responsive enough to swallow soft food. 

Terri was placed on a gastric tube for the convenience of the nursing staff, not because she cannot swallow. In her normal state (minus the manipulative sedation of euthanasia proponents) she can swallow.

Michael, with the aid of Florida Circuit Court Judge Greer, is trying to commit euthanasia, which is irrefutably illegal. Euthanasia is "the intentional killing by act or omission of a dependent human being for his or her alleged benefit." That is why Michael often uses the phrase, "This is Terri's wish." This is conditioning so the public will think that Terri has chosen a voluntary euthanasia. A voluntary euthanasia is "when the person who is killed has requested to be killed." This is clearly prohibited in the Florida statues.

They are trying to commit euthanasia By omission. This is "intentionally causing death by not providing necessary and ordinary (usual and customary) care or food and water. This is clearly prohibited in the Florida statutes.  (Definitions source: Euthanasia Definitions)]

Denver-based End of Life Choices -- formerly known as the Hemlock Society -- launched a $60,000 campaign in December throughout Florida, where the Schiavo case is in the courts, to raise public awareness of living wills and other instruments for decision-making regarding medical and therapeutic care, according to an Associated Press report.

"Today's headlines are full of the pain of unspoken wishes," said one of the ads, which were purchased in major newspapers in Miami, Orlando, Tampa and Tallahassee. "Save your loved ones the anguish of making a difficult decision when you are unable to speak for yourself."

As Southern Baptists throughout the country prepare for Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, Jan. 18, the discussion about living wills has prompted concerns related to assisted suicide and euthanasia. At issue is how easily the lines might become blurred between helping find comfort for someone who is ready to die and causing someone's death outright. [Living wills were designed by euthanasia proponents. Why does this author not mention this important fact and explain that the pro living answer to living wills are will to live documents? 


Terri Schiavo is a brain-damaged woman who collapsed in 1990 due to unusual circumstances that caused her heart to stop beating. She is now in what some doctors term a "persistent vegetative state." [Terri did not suffer cardiac arrest. Her heart did not stop beating. This myth was dispelled at least as far back as
October 27, 2003 but linked to this article that promotes this myth that helps Michael's cause. Medical records and expert medical testimony indicates that Terri was strangled, but that information is not mentioned in this article.] (See:Terri Schiavo Cognitively Able)

This author does not mention the bone scan and Michael Schiavo's extremely suspicious actions over a period of years which gives much insight into the reason Terri Schiavo collapsed. Also see: Petition to Remove Guardian (Michael Schiavo)

The question is whether it is in Terri's best interest to continue to provide her sustenance through feeding and hydration tubes. [It is not in Terri's best interest to be sustained through a feeding tube. It is in Terri's best interests to receive therapy and receive her food by mouth. Both of these are denied her by a lawbreaking estranged husband in collusion with Judge Greer.] A Florida circuit court judge ordered the tubes removed on Oct.15 after Terri's husband and legal guardian, Michael Schiavo, convinced the court that Terri had expressed a wish to not live on life support. Terri, however, left no advance directive. Meanwhile, Terri's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, believe her condition could improve with therapy. [Terri is guaranteed the right to receive therapy under Florida law. This fact is critical for the public to be aware of but is not mentioned in any endorsed articles that I have seen.]

In Florida, people in a "persistent vegetative state" are considered terminally ill and basic nutrition is considered "artificial life support." [The author should have said that "assisted nutrition" is considered "artificial life support."]

The case received heightened international attention several days after the judge's order, when the Florida legislature empowered Gov. Jeb Bush to issue an executive order, which was called "Terri's Law," to provide for the reinsertion of Terri's feeding tube. It was predicted Terri would die of starvation and dehydration within seven to 10 days if her only source of nutrition and hydration were not reestablished. 

[It is a myth that Governor Bush did not have the authority to intervene until he was  "given the authority" by the Florida legislature. He has always had the authority to intervene:

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has always had the authority and the legal obligation to use his executive powers to halt the death of Terri-Schindler-Schiavo and to launch a criminal investigation into the case, according to attorneys queried by the governor's legal office yesterday. 

(Quote source: Lawyers: Bush can step in for Schiavo)

Corral Ridge Ministries (also linked to from is going along with the program and promoting the same misinformation on their website: "The Florida legislature stepped in six days after Terri’s feeding tube was removed to pass a measure that gave Governor Jeb Bush authority to order her tube reinserted." (Quote source: Corral Ridge Ministries: January Impact)

Michael Schiavo, according to court records and according to the Schindlers, has not sought aggressive therapy for Terri in nearly a decade. After winning a malpractice settlement in 1992, Michael placed a "do not resuscitate" order on Terri and then began a long-term relationship with another woman more than eight years ago, with whom he has fathered two children.
[The truth is that Michael has not permitted Terri to have any therapy in over a decade.
(1) Saying that he has not sought aggressive therapy gives the impression that he has sought some therapy for Terri. Why would the people in charge of permit an article about Terri's situation that contains misinformation and even disinformation such as this?]

Michael Schiavo's attorney, George Felos, author of a book titled, "Litigation as Spiritual Practice," successfully argued for the "right to die" before the Florida Supreme Court more than a decade ago. His philosophies conflict with those of the Schindlers, who are devout Catholics and proponents of the right to life. Felos is currently representing Michael Schiavo in a lawsuit contending that Gov. Bush's actions were unconstitutional.

Pat Anderson, attorney for the Schindlers, told the Florida Baptist Witness in an interview that End-of-Life Choices (the former Hemlock Society) is using Terri's situation inappropriately.

"They want to take advantage of Terri's situation to prey on the fears of older Floridians," Anderson said.

"Terri's case is not about living wills," she noted. [That is correct. But euthanasia proponents, who originated the idea of living wills, are capitalizing on it. It is up to real anti-euthanasia, pro-life individuals and organizations to counteract their agenda and expose "living wills" for the euthanasia tools that they are.]

Because Terri did not have an advance directive or living will on file, it's been only the court's determination on the word of Terri's husband that has caused the problem, Anderson said. [Yes, and Terri's cohabiting-with-another-woman husband "remembered" that Terri said she would "would never want to live like that" only after he was awarded the huge settlement which was earmarked for Terri's therapy. The court, in defiance of the law, permitted Michael to deny Terri therapy and instead, use the funds to seek her death.]

End-of-Life Choices, on its website, clearly advocates providing "options in dying for terminally ill, mentally competent persons," and it promotes "the right of these individuals to hasten their death under careful safeguards."

In Terri's case, however, she is not able to demonstrate mental competence and there has been considerable controversy over whether she is in a persistent vegetative state. The organization nevertheless insisted on a link between the two in a news release by its chief executive officer, David Brand.
[Terri's inability to demonstrate mental competence is because she has been deprived of her legal right to gain it via rehabilitation. The reason there is considerable controversy over whether Terri is in a persistent vegetative state is because a dozen doctors testified that she is not in such a state and only a handful testified that she is! Judge Greer chose the testimony  that furthered the euthanasia agenda in clear defiance of Florida law which defines a persistent vegetative state: 

"Persistent vegetative state" means a permanent and irreversible condition of unconsciousness in which there is:

(a)  The absence of voluntary action or cognitive behavior of any kind.

(b)  An inability to communicate or interact purposefully with the environment.]

"It is our hope that tragic situations such as the Terri Schiavo case can be avoided in the future by encouraging people to speak out about end-of-life choices," Brand said. 

Anderson told the Associated Press that the organization is bent on promoting its agenda, even at the expense of causing confusion.

"Floridians need to know that this is the Hemlock Society with a new name, and they are trying to hide their pro-euthanasia agenda," Anderson told the AP. "They are using Terri Schiavo to promote euthanasia."

As an attorney, Anderson said she is weary of living wills because there is too much involved to outline what should happen in each and every situation. She also said living wills can be treated as "death warrants" by which medical personnel might refuse to render care in a complicated situation. This is an excellent point. Due to vague language used in such legal documents, living wills can be used as death warrants in uncomplicated cases as well:

Since an attending physician who may be unfamiliar with the signer's wishes and values has the power and authority to carry out the signer's directive, certain terms contained in the document may be interpreted by the physician in a manner that was not intended by the signer.

(Quote source: International Task Force: Advanced Directives)

C. Ben Mitchell, associate professor of bioethics & contemporary culture at Trinity International University in Deerfield, Ill., and a leading Southern Baptist ethicist, told the Florida Baptist Witness he believes living wills are necessary only when patients and their families might disagree about end of life care. Otherwise, next of kin should make those decisions.

"Living wills are not dying declarations," Mitchell said. "Living wills should not be used as a means to kill patients, but as a way to respect their wishes. [Living wills are used as a means to kill patients, and this should have been stated.]

"The Schiavo case should remind us of the importance of having conversations about end of life treatment with our physicians and family members," Mitchell said. "Medicine should not prolong the dying process, but neither should dying patients have to fear that their lives will be shortened by overzealous family members who have financial conflicts of interest."

Anderson said there is room for fuzzy decisions and blurred lines. "Unfortunately, fidelity, like modesty, is a passe virtue," she said in reference to Michael Schiavo's cohabitation with another woman. "Adultery and abandonment don't seem to count in this case."
[But there is no room for defying Florida statues in order to try to achieve a euthanasia precedent. Euthanasia (denying regular food and water to cause death) and assisted suicide is not legal in the state of Florida. Period.]

This article is an example of propaganda.

Propagandists use a variety of propaganda techniques to influence opinions and to avoid the truth. Often these techniques rely on some element of censorship or manipulation, either omitting significant information or distorting it. (Quote source: Propaganda techniques: Disinfopedia)

Joni B. Hannigan is managing editor of Florida Baptist Witness. Go to For more information on the Schiavo case, see the special section, "Terri Schiavo: A life at Stake," at


(1) "...her husband has refused to provide his wife any rehabilitation or therapy for more than ten years;" (quote source: Terri Schiavo's Life and Death)

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