Never Again: Remembering Terri Schiavo


Terri Schiavo was murdered 12 years ago today. Yes murdered. This was the intentional killing of another human being with malice aforethought.

Life Legal provided Terri Schiavo’s earliest legal defense, long before her case was recognized by the media. We stood with the Schindler family for six years, through Terri’s death. We continue to work with the Schindlers to save vulnerable lives today.

It is still difficult to fathom that a disabled—but otherwise healthy—woman could be summarily put to death for no reason other than the selfish whim of a man who long before forfeited the right to be called her husband. When children suffer harm because of their parents’ neglect, the state steps in to protect the children, even terminating the right to the title and privileges of parenthood if necessary.

Yet in Terri’s case, Michael Schiavo’s years of neglect of his wife—confining her to bed, withdrawing beneficial therapy, and finally subjecting her to a cruel and tortuous death by starvation and dehydration—were accomplished with the full complicity of the law. Our law.

The phrase often spoken after Terri’s death was “never again.”

Even as I write this, Life Legal is litigating a case with nearly identical facts. We represent the family of a young man in his 30’s who, like Terri, suffered a serious brain injury and requires food and water through a feeding tube. He is responsive and recognizes his family, who are fighting for his life because his wife decided she wants to stop giving him food and water. Jon Eisenberg, the attorney who represented Michael Schiavo, recently joined the wife’s legal team.

Eisenberg believes that the battle for Terri’s life was fought to “take away our personal autonomy.” He belittles the idea that “our bodies belong to God, not ourselves, and that God alone may decide when we die.” He is an ardent supporter of so-called “right to die” legislation and sits on the board of the pro-euthanasia organization Compassion and Choices.

Please stand with Life Legal to protect the vulnerable—people like Terri Schiavo and the young man now threatened with death by dehydration.