Wednesday, the autopsy results from Terri Schiavo were released during a press conference. Once again, the eyes of the world were on this young woman and the tragedy that surrounded her life and death.
I waited a few days since the release of the autopsy to gather my thoughts about the matter, and I would like to take this opportunity to share them with you, my dear reader.
The world was divided like heaven and hell over this tragic case. On one hand, you had Michael Schiavo, a husband devastated by the severe handicaps of his wife. He desired to see the end of her suffering, and he thought “allowing her to die” would be the best way to handler her situation.
On the other hand, you had two loving parents Robert and Mary Schindler and her two siblings Bobby and Suzanne, who were also devastated. Devastated by the fact that their beloved daughter (sister)’s fate lied in the hands of one person. One person who was not open to any sort of discussion or compromise.
Sadly, in the end, it was Michael’s desire to see Terri dead that won. The method he chose to use was to remove her feeding tube, which subsequently removed all of her nutrition and hydration. (Undoubted, this method was chosen because it is much disputed by moral theologians, medical professionals and lawyers whether a feeding tube constitutes an “extraordinary means” of care. In March 2004, Pope John Paul II clearly stated that such care is not to be considered extraordinary, but ordinary. Please see this statement.)
Despite opposition, an autopsy was performed on Terri Schiavo after her death. Because this autopsy determined that Terri had neither suffered from any abuse nor from a heart attack, many believe that because she sustained brain injuries and an atrophied brain, her life was in some way less precious than my life or yours.
Her cause of death was listed solely as dehydration. She did not die from her brain injury.
As the family of Terri Schiavo said in their statement, “Terri was brain-injured. This does NOT mean that she was brain-dead. Many seem to not understand this absolutely critical distinction. “
Please read Fr. Frank Pavone’s commentary after the release of the autopsy. (I have been blessed to work with Fr. Frank and Priests for Life for the past year, and this is by far my favorite piece written by him.)
When our grandchildren look back on history, will they see this fight as a victory for human rights? Or, will they see it as a tragedy equal to the Holocaust or the days of segregation?
Society is not blind because our eyes are shut; we are blind because our eyes are wide open, yet we look right in the face of evil and call it good.