Terri Schiavo’s life is more important today than ever before

By Tom Quiner

Two factions wage a ferocious war in America.

Bobby Schindler, Terri Schiavo's brother, will speak at the Iowans for LIFE dinner on July 27th

Bobby Schindler, Terri Schiavo’s brother, will speak at the Iowans for LIFE dinner on July 27th

One faction believes we should err on the side of death.

The other believes we should err on the side of life.

The two factions clashed in a vicious battle in March of 2005. Terri Schiavo’s fate hung in the balance.

On one side stood Michael Schiavo, Terry’s husband. He insisted that his comatose wife, comatose due to cardiac arrest that occurred some 15 years earlier, would want him to “pull the plug on her,” at which time he would inherit her estate.

Mr. Shiavo had the backing of human abortion groups and the Democratic Party.

On the other side stood Bobby Schindler, Terri’s brother, a committed Catholic.

Mr. Schindler had the backing of pro life groups and the Republican Party.

You will have a chance to hear the dramatic re-telling of this story from Mr. Schindler himself on July 27th here in Des Moines at the Airport Holiday Inn. He will be the keynote speaker at the annual Iowans for LIFE dinner.

You know what happened. The “pull-the-plug” crowd won.

What is interesting about this case is the passion both sides brought to this real-life human drama. I can understand the passion of the “err on the side of life” crowd. Peggy Noonan captured it well, writing in the Wall Street Journal on March 24th, 2005:

“God made the world or he didn’t.

God made you or he didn’t.

If he did, your little human life is, and has been, touched by the divine. If this is true, it would be true of all humans, not only some. And so–again, if it is true–each human life is precious, of infinite value, worthy of great respect.”

So well said. The pro life crowd believes in the dignity of human life, because God made us.

What is more challenging to understand is the passion, the angry emotionalism, of the “err on the side of death” crowd. Peggy Noonan continues …

“I do not understand the emotionalism of the pull-the-tube people. What is driving their engagement? Is it because they are compassionate, and their hearts bleed at the thought that Mrs. Schiavo suffers? But throughout this case no one has testified that she is in persistent pain, as those with terminal cancer are.

If they care so much about her pain, why are they unconcerned at the suffering caused her by the denial of food and water? And why do those who argue for Mrs. Schiavo’s death employ language and imagery that is so violent and aggressive? The chairman of the Democratic National Committee calls Republicans “brain dead.” Michael Schiavo, the husband, calls House Majority Leader Tom DeLay “a slithering snake.”

Terri Schiavo’s life is more important today than ever before in light of Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s recent trial. The Gosnell trial drew a line in the sand. Many people who formally supported human abortion had a change of heart.

The “err on the side of death” philosophy has been exposed as a lie as born-alive babies were killed out of convenience and profits, in the name of “choice.”

The “err on the side of death” crowd tend to support euthanasia and a pull-the-plug value system. Peggy Noonan characterized it as “the bizarre passion of the pull-the-tube people.”

The significance of Terri Schiavo was summarized well by Peggy Noonan:

“Once you “know” that–that human life is not so special after all–then everything is possible, and none of it is good. When a society comes to believe that human life is not inherently worth living, it is a slippery slope to the gas chamber. You wind up on a low road that twists past Columbine and leads toward Auschwitz. Today that road runs through Pinellas Park, Fla.”

It ends up in a “house of horrors,” as Dr. Gosnell’s human abortion facility was so aptly described.

[If you are anywhere near Des Moines, make it a point to come out and hear Bobby Schindler talk about the cause of Life at the Iowans for LIFE dinner on July 27th. Register online at www.IowansforLIFE.org.]



  1. Shawn Pavlik on May 23, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    Kinda shocks me to see that from Noonan, who is pretty liberal. It is always good to remember that there are good people on the “other side” and that pleas in their direction can occasionally bear fruit. Like Joe Liebermann. I disagree with about 80-90% of that guy’s politics, but still respect him for his stance on life, and on support for our military.

    • quinersdiner on May 23, 2013 at 1:43 pm

      Shawn, I’ve been reading Peggy Noonan for years, heck, for decades. I don’t know where you get the impression that she’s liberal. She is moderate in her rhetoric, but conservative in her ideology.

      • Shawn Pavlik on May 24, 2013 at 12:58 pm

        Hmm…maybe I was thinking of someone else then….

        • quinersdiner on May 24, 2013 at 1:58 pm

          She was a Reagan speech writer, and one for Bush I. I think she came up with the line “a thousand points of life.” Her Reagan bio was good. She did an even better one on Pope John Paul II, called “John Paul the Great.” A Protestant would enjoy the read, too, because of the way she presents the Pope and Reagan as partners in fighting communism. Check out her column in the Wall Street Journal today. You’ll love it!

  2. Bob Vance on May 23, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    If live is defined as a human heart beat, then we need to start creating massive warehouses to store all those people that medical science can keep “alive”.

    • quinersdiner on May 23, 2013 at 1:45 pm

      Bob, I have no idea where you’re coming from. The pro life movement believes in a right to life from conception to a “natural” death. In the case of Terry Schiavo, an unnatural death was imposed on her. She was starved to death. We wouldn’t do that to a dog.

      • Bob Vance on May 23, 2013 at 3:14 pm

        If the technology is there to save them (keep their heart beating), wouldn’t it be unethical not to if that is what you truly are going for?

        • quinersdiner on May 23, 2013 at 6:09 pm

          I think I see where you’re going, Bob. No, the goal isn’t to keep a heart beating no matter what. The goal is to let people be born and live to a natural death.

      • Parody on July 13, 2013 at 11:57 pm

        Allowing a person to starve to death is natural. It happens all the time, with or without intelligent intervention. Keeping a person alive by means of feeding tubes is quite the opposite.

    • Karen Quiner on May 23, 2013 at 10:46 pm


      Who are you to say that she was nothing but just a heart beat? Who are you to say that her life is worthless and so it is ok to starve her to death? She wasn’t being kept alive with a heart lung machine, or even just a respirator, but with food and water.

      No one knows what was going on in her mind or heart. There are stories of people being in a coma for years, then waking up and telling stories of being aware of everything going on around them. And often being in very close contact with God.
      Take a look at this picture: http://www.breakthroughbrochures.com/editoruploads/images/220px-Schiavo.jpg
      Does this look like nothing but a beating heart?

  3. […] forum in vitally important ways, as you will see on Saturday. This year, their keynote speaker is Bobby Schindler, who is the co-executive director of the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network. They work to […]