Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Florida Bishops Speak Out for Terri

From The Florida Catholic Conference | Continued Concerns for Terry Schiavo:

"Terri Schindler Schiavo has been the center of national media attention, and the focus of a debate that touches all three branches of government. Mrs. Schiavo is not 'brain dead' or comatose. She has lived in a nursing home for years, presently a hospice facility, generally needing only nursing care and assistance in receiving nourishment. Some experts say she is in a 'persistent vegetative state;' others say she is not. Her husband wants to remove her feeding tube, insisting she expressed clearly this would be her wish; her parents and siblings vigorously disagree, and have offered to care for her as long as she lives. Questions about her prognosis and wishes persist, raising doubt as to what she would truly want.

No longer able to speak on her own behalf, Mrs. Schiavo is a defenseless human being with inherent dignity, deserving of our respect, care and concern. Her plight dramatizes one of the most critical questions we face: To be a truly human society, how should we care for those we may not be able to cure?

In our past statements concerning Terri Schiavo, as well as those by Bishop Robert N. Lynch of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, we have made it clear that there should be a presumption in favor of providing nutrition and hydration even by artificial means as long as it is of sufficient benefit to outweigh the burdens involved to the patient. We reiterate our plea that Mrs. Schiavo continues to receive all treatments and care that will be of benefit to her.