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Defending life
from conception to natural death


Bobby Schindler wows eighth annual Youth Conference

16 March 2016

Bobby Schindler gave a stirring and passionate speech to young people from across the UK

Young people from across the UK gathered last Saturday to listen to inspirational pro-life speakers, make new friends and learn how to reinvigorate the pro-life movement.

Bobby Schindler, the American anti-euthanasia campaigner, was one of a number of extremely impressive speakers who addressed the eighth annual Youth Conference in Hertfordshire last weekend. He spoke movingly about the death of his sister, Terri Schiavo, who was starved and dehydrated to death in 2005.

In 1990, at the age of 26, Terri suffered a mysterious cardio-respiratory arrest for which no cause has ever been determined. She was diagnosed with hypoxic encephalopathy - neurological injury caused by lack of oxygen to the brain. Terri was placed on a ventilator, but was soon able to breathe on her own and maintain vital function. She remained in a severely compromised neurological state and was provided a PEG tube to ensure the safe delivery of nourishment and hydration.

Money and medicine

Following a successful medical malpractice case against Terri’s doctors, her husband Michael Schiavo was awarded $600,000 for loss of spousal consortium and over $1.5 million to Terri. Of this, $780,000 was placed in a trust to provide for Terri's future healthcare and therapeutic needs, which Michael would inherit upon Terri’s death.

This marked the beginning of an almost 15-year nightmare for Terri’s family, who were determined to give Terri the best care possible and protect her life until natural death. In 1995, Michael employed right-to-die litigator George Felos, who campaigned vociferously for the removal of all Terri’s food and fluids by gastric feeding tube.

15-year ordeal

From 1998 to 2005, a series of petitions, motions and appeals were exchanged back-and-forth between Felos and Terri’s family, involving numerous judges, Congress and the former Governor of Florida Jeb Bush (who intervened in an attempt to save Terri). The final terrible result came on the 5th of February 2005 when Judge George W. Greer set the feeding tube removal date for the 18th of March 2005. He further ordered that Terri may not receive hydration or nutrition by mouth.

On the 31st of March, 2005, Terri Schindler Schiavo died from severe dehydration after almost 14 days without nutrition or hydration.

11 years later, Bobby's enduring love for his sister was clear for all to see as he delivered a heart-rending and emotional address, and was given a standing ovation by the audience.

A mother's heart

Conference delegates were also in tears for a brave young woman who recounted how she had bravely rejected abortion at the age of 18 and cared for her disabled daughter since. Tragically, her daughter recently passed away. The mother showed great courage to tell her story regardless, and her speech was possibly the most warmly received of the whole conference.

Other highlights of the conference included:

  • Obianuju Ekeocha, who spoke about the international work of Culture of Life Africa
  • Clare McCullough, who talked about how to reach out to women in crisis pregnancies and protect them and their babies from abortion
  • Gabriele Kuby, who explored the roots of anti-life practices across Europe
  • Dr Philip Howard, who looked at end-of-life issues and current concerns with the UK law
  • Jeffrey Ventrella, who reminded delegates that there is no 'right to abortion' in international law
  • Fiorella Nash, who spoke passionately about the 'scourge' of sex-selective abortion and gendercide
  • John Smeaton, who gave the conference closing address, exhorting young people to go out and spread the pro-life message worldwide

A more extensive review and full video highlights of the conference will be posted shortly

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