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Terri Schiavo and Homeschooling (October 8, 2004)
by Mary Pride, publisher of Practical Homeschooling magazine

Why does the Terri Schiavo case matter so much that we have posted it on our website?

First, if you're not familiar with the basic facts of this case, click here. It's not a "right to die" case. It's an "inappropriate guardian says for the first time, five years AFTER Terri's brain damage occurs, AFTER he has received the malpractice settlement, and AFTER he has said that he wants to take care of her for the rest of her life, that she casually told him once that she would not want to be kept alive artificially" . . . and from that point on, spends money like water trying to get her killed.

It's not a "pull the plug of a machine" case. Terri is not hooked up to any machines. It's about trying to kill a woman in full public view by depriving her of food and water until she dies a hideous, painful, drawn-out death.

This case is really about two things:

1. An Out-of-Control Court System

This case reveals an out-of-control court system that thinks it has the right to play God. Judge Greer, the judge in Terri's case, has been ignoring the EXISTING Florida and national statutes that require therapy and care of the handicapped since the beginning of this case. And his fellow judges support him in this.

This is common practice for judges nowadays. They feel they are above the law. They can ignore it at will, and nothing will ever happen to them.

In the Bible, Jesus says to those "sheep" headed to Heaven, "I was hungry and you fed me. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink," and to those "goats" headed in the other direction, "I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink."

For anyone who believes the Bible it could not be clearer: withholding food and water to the point of harming someone is WRONG.

Yet the courts somehow feel they have the right to do this on a regular basis, when the person in question has a "quality of life" for which the judge has contempt. Sick people. Elderly people. Weak people. Handicapped people.

As the mother of a handicapped child, who once had to spend two years on a respirator, and who has occasionally had to go to the hospital since, I find all this extremely disturbing. So do the 11 national disabilities-rights groups that have supported Terri's right to stay alive (just another fact the mass media fail to mention).

One thing the Terri Schiavo case has done is make it perfectly clear just how uncontrolled the judicial system now is--to the point that when the legislature, the ONLY branch of government that is supposed to make laws, made a law allowing the Governor to have Terri's tube re-installed, this is now being seriously questioned as an "unconstitutional infringement." Infringement of what? Of the court system's supposedly SOLE right to have the final word on EVERY situation, even when the courts themselves are breaking the law.

This should be a matter for deep concern to everyone who (1) might become old or sick someday (2) has children who might outlive them and need life support (suppose your family were in a car accident that killed the parents?) (3) has a "non-mainstream" lifestyle that the courts might decide to start frowning on . . . such as homeschooling. Do you really want one single judge somewhere to have the power to arbitrarily control all aspects of your life, disregarding any laws he dislikes that apply to your case, simply because you had the bad luck to land in his courtroom?

It's also of deep concern to anyone who actually hopes to live in "the land of the free and the home of the brave." Our system of check and balances, and separation of powers, has already been whittled away for decades. Allowing Terri's public execution would be a signal that American government, as we used to know it, is dead, and that we should plan from now on to be ruled by a cartel of unelected judges.

2. Lies in the Media

When government gets out of control, our "watchdog" media are supposed to alert us. Unfortunately, today's mass media is in bed with the judicial system. When is the last time you read a story criticizing ANY judge (aside from "Ten Commandments" judge Roy Moore)?

In this case, an active cover-up appears to be in effect. It appears that the mass media is so in love with the nonexistent "right to die" that they aren't even allowing their readers enough facts to make up their own minds about the Terri Schiavo case. Click here for story after story with facts that the mass media just won't print, or even deliberately gets wrong.

Thanks to the consistently misleading "reporting" going on, as of the time I am writing this, Terri's continued right to basic nutrition and water is still at risk.

What does this mean to us as homeschoolers?

How to Protect Your Family and Yourself

First, I advise each and every one of you parents to create a "Living Will" that specifically states you do not wish to be deprived of nourishment (food, vitamins, and minerals) or water at any time, unless the attempt to digest is causing you actual pain and you indicate in writing, on a daily basis, in front of disinterested witnesses, that you wish to temporarily refuse food. (This might be the case if you are dying of stomach cancer.) There is never any medical or physical reason to withhold water, which can easily be supplied via IV even if you are unable to drink by mouth. There is also never any reason to withhold nutrition and water from you if you are unable to speak for yourself. You would also be smart to put this in writing for each of your children, in the unhappy event that both parents die in an accident and the court ends up appointing a guardian.

Better yet, put a guardian of your choice into your wills. It probably would not hurt to also specifically state that you wish to receive rehabilitative therapy, dental hygiene, and medical treatment for infections and other diseases, as well as visits from friends, relatives, and clergy, since as we have seen in the Schiavo case currently a guardian is entitled to refuse all such therapy, care, and visits if he so desires. Make sure your wish that your children receive this kind of care, should they end up in the hospital, is also thoroughly understood by whatever guardian you choose.

Where to Get Real News

I am sorry to be so graphic. It really should be the media's job to tell you all this. But since they don't seem willing, here is my last suggestion:

Subscribe to World magazine (, 800-951-6397, for current events), Whistleblower (, 1-800-496-3266, for in-depth analysis of important trends), and bookmark for your everyday online news source. For the kids, there's God's World News (, 1-800-951-5437), a daughter publication of World, with age-appropriate editions for kids up to 6th grade level.

The day of blind trust in the mass media is over. And the truth shall set us free.

Latest Stories About Terri Schiavo Case

For the latest on the Terri Schiavo case, including some incredible background information and editorials, go to

NEW! October 5, 2004. Governor Jeb Bush has challenged the Florida Supreme Court to reconsider its unanimous ruling that "Terri's Law" is unconstitutional. Please pray that this evil ruling be overturned and that Terri finally be granted her rights (which she ALREADY has under state law) to therapy, a plan for her care, and everything else that has thus far illegally been denied her. See the story here.

September 23, 2004. Boy, does Terri need our prayers now! On September 23, the Florida Supreme Court struck down "Terri's Law," which authorized the governor to order Terri's feeding tube to be reinserted. (Important note: Due to orders from her husband, Terri has been forbidden a trial of her ability to eat on her own without a tube AND any therapy to help her do so.)

Chief Justice Barbara J. Pariente wrote, "The continuing vitality of our system of separation of powers precludes the other two branches from nullifying the judicial branch's final orders." Her "reasoning"? This would prevent the judiciary from being the final word in all disputes. In other words, no matter how wrong a court is, the governor AND legislature combined can't do ANYTHING about it.

See the WorldNetDaily story here. For more insight on this travesty, read the article by Barbara Simpson, "A right to live . . . not to be killed" and by David N. Bass "Supreme ignorance", in which he points out the flaws in the court's reasoning.

This article by Audrey Ignatoff, M.S. and Vickie Travis, "The Terri Schiavo Case:  Warning of the Next Holocaust" explains how one very real, and ignored, issue in this case is that existing laws have been flagrantly broken again and again, at the request of Michael Schiavo, and without any repercussions for Michael or for the staff and facilities that complied with his illegal demands. The upshot: If EXISTING laws can be disregarded, none of us are safe.

August 2, 2004. For a second time, Michael Schiavo failed to appear for a deposition that was scheduled for 11.00am today. Schiavo employed the same "no show" tactic in a similar instance a few years ago.

Schiavo's deposition disregard is in defiance to a Clearwater court ruling that attorneys representing the parents of Terri Schindler-Schiavo can examine Michael Schiavo under oath. Schiavo has also ignored a Court order obliging him to disclose information to Terri's family pertaining to Terri's medical status.

In his recent July 2004 ruling, Judge Greer of Pinellas-Pasco County's Sixth Judicial Circuit stated that both Michael Schiavo and Jodi Centonze, his fiancé since 1997 and mother of his two children, could be deposed by attorney Patricia Anderson in the guardianship case involving his disabled wife, Terri Schiavo.

Since the scheduling of this deposition, new developments have come to light. On July30, 2004, Terri's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, visited her at Park Place Assisted Living Facility. Michael Schiavo (via telephone to the staff) denied Terri's parents permission to bring a music CD into their daughter's room for Terri's listening enjoyment.

Additionally, the Schindlers noticed a wrist band on Terri from Mease-Countryside Hospital and inquired as to when and why their daughter had been hospitalized. A second phone call was placed to Mr. Schiavo, Terri's guardian, to ask permission to disclose details to Terri's parents. Again, Mr. Schiavo denied his permission.

A 1996 court order compels Michael Schiavo to disclose changes in Terri's medical condition to her parents and to notify the staff that they may do just that. Once again, Mr. Schiavo decided not to follow that court order. This particular court order defiance is ongoing. Mr. Schiavo continues to deny the Schindlers information about their daughter's medical condition.

May 15, 2004. Terri Schiavo's parents have not been allowed to visit her since March 29. On May 26 Judge Greer will decide if they are allowed to see her at all, or if additional visitation restrictions will apply.

May 6, 2004. Judge says "Terri's Law" is unconstitutional. This is unfortunately not a huge surprise, since this is the same judge (Judge Baird) who said Terri's Law was "presumptively unconstitutional" before he even HEARD the case!

Wesley J. Smith's article on how Terri's parents are held to the letter of the law, while her husband who wants her dead is allowed to NOT file the guardianship reports he is REQUIRED by Florida law to file yearly in advance, specifying the care Terri will receive each year. No reports have been filed going back as far as 2001-2002. According to FL law, this is a REQUIREMENT of continuing as a guardian. Find out how Florida judges ignore the law on this and other matters when it comes to this case. And what Michael did with his wife Terri's wedding ring.

January 8, 2004. Judge Demers denies the petition for reinstatement of the Guardian ad Litem. See the article above for whether this was appropriate in light of existing Florida law.

December 22, 2003. Judge Baird did rule that he will issue a summary ruling on Terri's law without a trial. His ruling is withheld until appeals by Governor Bush are ruled upon in the Second District Court of Appeals in Lakeland, FL. Pray for the appeals court to rule wisely and righteously.

On December 23, two days before Christmas, Judge Baird will decide whether he is even going to allow Governor Bush to present any evidence, or whether he will just proceed to rule directly on whether the legislature and the governor combined have the right to make and sign a law (as their Constitutional powers allow) that mends a mess the courts have created. Prayer is urgently required, for Terri Schiavo and for our tottering separation-of-powers system.

Same "unbiased" judge refuses to allow Governor Bush, who is being sued by Michael Schiavo over the constitutionality of "Terri's Law," to take depositions from Michael Schiavo and six other potential witnesses. And here I thought that when you were sued, you had a right to depose the other side.

Judge who announced in advance that he considered "Terri's Law" ucnonstitutional set to rule on whether Terri lives or dies, refuses to recuse himself from this case.

See also Governor Jeb Bush's statement on this ridiculous turn of events, in which he points out that "It appears the court has determined that prejudging a case before evidence is presented is acceptable in Florida, which is the same error made by the trial court." His brief statement lays out all the issues, makes them crystal clear.

So-called "right to die" groups co-opt Terri Schiavo case, spend $60,000 on ads in Florida papers.

Journalist Nat Hentoff points out why today it's Terri Schiavo in danger of being starved and dehydrated to death, but tomorrow it could be you, if the courts keep thinking this way.

"Right to die" judge who is to hear Schiavo case refuses to remove himself, even though he has already stated in public that he thinks Terri's Law is "presumptively unconstitutional." This is exactly the sort of situation in which a judge is SUPPOSED to remove himself from a case -- when he has already demonstrated a prejudice towards the outcome.

Once again, Michael Schiavo is refusing to allow Terri's parents to visit her. What doesn't he want them to see -- or to videotape? Note how this USA Today story refers to Terri "being allowed to die" rather than accurately calling it "forced to die by starvation and dehydration." Also note that the fates of up to 35,000 people -- of whom up to 10,000 are children -- are in the same exact box as Terri's, since they too are labeled with the extremely misleading "persistent vegetative state" label. Finally, note how some neurologists callously dismiss the idea that eye motion and behavior triggered by talk and visits has anything to do with brain function. You might want to remember that 25 years ago neurologists were forbidding the use of anesthetics while doing operations on premie babies on the theory that premies neither felt nor remembered the pain. Since then, studies conclusively proved that anesthesia resulted in better survival rates from said operations, so today tiny babies aren't given open-heart surgery without any painkillers. But the same profession that caused untold torture and unnecessary death (from reaction to the pain) on the part of tiny babies for decades is no more infallible -- or compassionate -- today when it comes to recognizing brain function or the right to live in the disabled.

Nat Hentoff asks, "Was Terri Schiavo beaten in 1990?" Time to examine the evidence that just possibly the man trying to have her killed actually might have caused her condition. But will it be investigated in time?

Florida governor and lawmakers defend "Terri's Law." Hear the arguments the mass media keep "forgetting" to print in their stories about this case.

Ann Coulter's excellent article asks, "Why doesn't Michael Schiavo just walk away?" and slices through the right-to-die baloney surrounding this case.

Disabled woman whose husband wanted to "pull the plug" shares her story and those of others who did (or did not) get the chance to show they actually were thinking, feeling beings who deserved therapy and care.

Nat Hentoff, liberal writer for the Village Voice, blasts media for their "journalistic malpractice" in handling of the Terri Schiavo case. First of a series he'll be doing on this story.

Even more egregious examples of how media refuse to share important facts about Schiavo case with the public.

"Right-to-die" lawyer who argues for Terri's death wants to influence society with his New Age beliefs.

Terri's parents will be appearing on "Larry King Live."

This op-ed from the leader of a national disability rights group explains why the Schiavo case is so important . . . and why if Michael Schiavo continues to be allowed unlimited control over whether she receives food, water, therapy, medical care, and visitors, this bodes ill for all disabled people in the USA.

Did you catch the Michael Schiavo "interview" on Larry King Live? Here's the questions King should have asked.

Judge's ruling forbids Last Rites, shows that he considers Terri the property of her husband.

Why a celebrated forensic pathologist says Terri's collapse needs investigating, and was probably NOT due to heart problems or a potassium imbalance.

How the media are consistently misrepresenting Terri Schiavo's medical condition.

Terri's parents file motion against the guardian the court plans to appoint if Michael Schiavo and Terri's parents can't agree on a guardian. (E.g., prayers are SERIOUSLY needed for a righteous guardian to be appointed.)

Click here to find out the rest of the story, and how you can help.

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