Tomorrow, March 31, marks the 5th anniversary of the tragic, court-ordered death of Terri Schindler-Schiavo.
We remember it as if it was yesterday. Throughout March 2005, we mobilized thousands of Wisconsinites on behalf of federal legislation to prevent Terri’s death. The U.S. Congress and President George W. Bush courageously saw to it that federal legislation was enacted to allow the Schindler family access to the federal courts to plead for the life of their daughter.
In a series of acts of raw judicial power, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ignored the mandate of Congress to take into consideration Terri’s rights in a federal court proceeding. Also ignored was the Schindler’s desire to care for their beloved daughter in their home. The Court seemed determined to end the life of Terri Schindler-Schiavo regardless of the rule of law or the norms of justice. From that point on, Terri was denied water and food and after thirteen excruciating days, her body succumbed to the horrific effects of starvation and dehydration.
When Terri died, we gave thanks for all of those who stepped forward to advocate for her - Governor Jeb Bush, Florida legislators, the U.S. Congress, President Bush and the one lone voice on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit who understood what was happening and dared to dissent with this colleagues. We gave thanks for those who traveled to the hospice where Terri lay to keep vigil as the starvation progressed and those who came forward to champion her cause.
And we prayed for a country that had lost its moral compass and allowed a helpless woman to die of starvation and dehydration while her worth as a human being was being debated. We also prayed for Terri’s husband, Michael Schiavo, that he would one day recognize what he had done and ask forgiveness for the death of his wife. To this day, we continue those prayers.
We will never forget you, Terri! Surely, the joy of eternal life is yours as you rest in the loving arms of your Lord and Maker.