- A Philadelphia Inquirer columnist who believes in the
"right to die" has changed his mind about the Terri Schiavo case,
pointing to "uncomfortable details" about her estranged husband
that now lead him to side with the parents of the brain-damaged Florida
woman, who are fighting to keep her alive.
- John Grogan said in a column published today, "I
no longer so blithely believe Schiavo's feeding tubes should be pulled
and her life allowed to end. I'm no longer so sure her parents do not deserve
a say in their daughter's future. I no longer am totally comfortable assuming
her husband, Michael, who now has two children by another woman, is acting
- Michael Schiavo has been living with his fiance Jodi
Centonze since 1995 and has said he will marry her upon the death of his
- Grogan said he hasn't changed his opinion that everyone
has a right to "die with dignity," but he believes that in the
Schiavo case, the "devil is in the details, uncomfortable details
that raise sticky moral dilemmas."
- Terri Schiavo suffered severe brain damage in 1990 after
collapsing. Michael Schiavo attributes it to a chemical imbalance caused
by an eating disorder, but parents Robert and Mary Schindler believe he
may have tried to strangle her.
- Michael Schiavo contends his wife told him she never
would want to be kept alive artificially.
- But Grogan points out Terri Schiavo's heart and lungs
function on their own, and she requires only a feeding tube that might
not be necessary if she were given physical therapy.
- The columnist notes Michael Schiavo, as her legal guardian,
has forbidden any therapy.
- "If [Terri] Schiavo merely required spoon feeding
instead of tube feeding, would anyone seriously be arguing to withhold
food and water?" Grogan asked. "Does not every human, no matter
how incapacitated, deserve sustenance?"
- Grogan also is concerned about abuse allegations against
Michael Schiavo and believes they should be investigated.
- The allegations "may be nothing but scurrilous rumor
spread to damage his credibility," he wrote. "But what if there
is even a tiny chance he is guilty of abuse? Should such a person be in
a position to decide this life-and-death issue?"
- When it comes to who is best to decide, Grogan wrote,
it's clear that Terri Schiavo's parents "have proved themselves nothing
if not fiercely loyal, utterly committed parents. They might be misguided.
They might be in denial. But no one can argue their devotion. They have
not given up. They have not stopped caring. They have not stopped loving.
Who are we, as a society, to tell them they must?
- Grogan concluded:
- Clearly, Schiavo's husband has moved on to a new life,
and who can blame him? It's been 15 long years. But parents cannot move
on. Parents cannot give up. Their child will always be the precious gift
they brought into the world.
- If the Schindlers want to dedicate the rest of their
lives and resources to caring for their brain-damaged daughter, if they
want to shower her with attention and affection she likely will never recognize,
who among us will tell them they cannot
- It won't be me.
- Court documents and other information are posted on the
Schindler family website.
- Links to all "Terri briefs" regarding the governor's
defense of Terri's Law are on the Florida Supreme Court website, public