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My sister's killing was the Roe v Wade of euthanasia, says Bobby Schindler

19 September 2011

My sister's killing was the Roe v Wade of euthanasia, says Bobby Schindler 19 September 2011: The brother of a famous victim of euthanasia has said that his sister's killing was the "Roe v Wade" of euthanasia, referring to the 1973 US Supreme Court judgment which legalised abortion.

Bobby Schindler, the brother of the late Terri Schiavo, was delivering the keynote address to this past weekend's 2011 annual national conference of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) , the UK's largest and the world's oldest pro-life political and educational organisation, founded in 1967.

Mr Schindler talked of his family's battle to keep Terri alive after a court ruled that her food and hydration be withdrawn back in 2000.

The high profile case hit the headlines around the world at the time but despite huge international support Terri's family lost their battle for her life and were forced to watch her starve and dehydrate to death.

In the first two years following Terri's collapse her medical records noted that her rehabilitation treatment was working and she was starting to speak.

However, Michael Schiavo, Terri's husband, engaged a pro-euthanasia attorney and sought to have Terri's food and fluids removed.

In 1999 legislation was changed in the state to define food and fluids as medical treatment.

Terri's case went to trial in 2000 and the judge ruled in favour of Michael Schiavo, despite the serious questions about her 'living will' or that Michael was set to inherit the money from her death.

Bobby said: "My sister wasn't brain dead. They call this an end-of-life issue but it isn't. Terri was very much alive. It became an end-of-life discussion when she wasn't at the end of her life."

According to Mr Schindler what happened to Terri is now ordinary practice across America: "[Society] now decide[s] who lives and who dies on a quality-of-life judgement." Mr Schindler recalled his family's experience as they watched over Terri in her final weeks: "Our family had to watch Terri die of dehydration, watch her deteriorate ... Her appearance was horrific." Since Terri's death her family has formed the Life and Hope Network to help other families in the same situation in the US and around the world. Mr Schindler concluded: "We're all in this battle together. If we can't have regard for life how can we have it for anything else?" For further information, please call SPUC's communications department on (0)7939 177683 or (0)20 7820 3129 or email

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