On March 31, 2005, the world watched in horror as Terri Schiavo died a barbaric death after 13 days without food and water. As the lead attorney in this case that went to the Supreme Court and back twice in ten days, it was a very sad day when I announced to the world, on behalf of the Schindler family, that their beloved daughter and sister, Terri, had died on that March day in Pinellas County, Florida. This month marks 10 years since that fateful day.
Terri’s battle to live and her tragic death shed a great deal of light on the increasingly powerful pro-death movement in our country. Her story dominated the news cycle for weeks as the whole world watched America allow an innocent women to die in a way that would be considered cruel and unusual punishment if it has been perpetrated on a convicted killer. Yet Terri had done nothing to deserve such a punishment. She was not even sick with any sort of disease. She was very much alive and simply needed food and water. At the order of a judge, however, this nourishment was removed, bringing terribly painful and ultimately death-inducing dehydration and starvation upon Terri’s body. Governor Jeb Bush, the United States Congress, and President George Bush all attempted to save Terri, but to no avail.
Ten years later, the so-called “right to die” movement is now becoming the “duty to die.” Dr. Emanuel, a key proponent of the national health care bill, wrote an article stating that he wants to die at age 75. Brittany Maynard moved to Oregon so she could end her life, and the media glorified her decision as a noble one. The “quality of life” argument continues to gain ground, while the thought that life is sacred as a special gift from God Himself is being erased from our courts, our culture, and our national consciousness.
Your generous support of the NCLL allows us to help save lives and stand against the culture of death that is sweeping our nation. The elderly, the unborn, and the disabled are counting on those of us who can speak to fight for their most fundamental constitutional right: the right to life.
Our founding fathers understood that without the right to life, every other liberty is placed in jeopardy. That’s why, in writing the Declaration of Independence, they took such effort to enumerate “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” as those rights to which we are endowed by our very Creator. They understood that the protection of innocent life is the cornerstone freedom for a free people.
The NCLL believes in the sanctity of life, and we are standing as your voice in the courtrooms and the halls of Congress on this issue and others. Please consider a tax-deductible gift to the NCLL of $500, $250, $100, $50, or whatever you are able to give, so that we can continue in this most important work. Thank you as always for your prayers, your friendship, and your financial support of the work we do every day to preserve this great country and to stand for what is right. The most vulnerable among us are counting on you and me to speak for them.
My prayer is that Terri’s death was not in vain and that together, we would have the heart of God for the “least of these.”
Attorney David C. Gibbs III