Terri's husband, perhaps the single person who knew her the best, petitioned the Court to remove her feeding tube and free her from what he called "inhuman torture." Terri's parents and a host of conservatives, including President George W. Bush, opposed this and legally sought to block Mr. Shiavo's motion. In total, this case involved over 14 appeals, hundreds of motions and petitions and hearings in the State of Florida, five in Federal District Court and the Florida Supreme Court and four denials of certiorari from the U.S. Supreme Court. Finally, after 15 years of expensive, time consuming and heart-rending legislation, the local Court's original decision to allow Terri to die came in March, 2005. Imagine being in such a state for over a decade -- hooked up to a feeding tube, unable to perform any bodily functions, to communicate, to actualize, and to be human -- instead, the tragedy of this type of thinking put Mrs. Schiavo and her family through unnecessary pain with no gain other than her husband's wish that she be able to peacefully move on.
JF: I, too, thank you for allowing me to speak tonight. It does appear, surprisingly, that Dr. Kevork and I will agree on one point initially -- the Schiavo case was a great tragedy that caused an enormous amount of pain and suffering to all those involved. However, as I have stated many times, the Schiavo case is simply part of the American "death syndrome," starting with legalized killing of the fetus and now deciding that humans can dictate the end of life with euthanasia. According to the Bible, which we Christians hold as sacred, there are not different types of killing, whether mercy killing, abortion or murder- they are all homicide and against the law of God. Suicide, whether assisted or not, is human interference in the natural process of life -- the order of things as set forth in the Gospels. Human life is sacred, and as such deserves exceptional protection -- hospices and institutions abound in which a patient can be made comfortable and, as you said in your introduction, medical science has advanced, but is not omnipotent and cannot ever predict remission or recovery. There are factual and documented cases of seemingly miraculous recoveries long after all hope has been extinguished, giving the faithful the courage to believe that we humans cannot know God's plan, but instead must trust that in his infinite wisdom, each life has value, something to teach, and is part of the order of things -- life will expire according to God's plan, not man's whim.
JK: We seem to be someone at an impasse, Reverend. I am sure that we can agree that the Constitution of the United States and the overall global movement towards individual and human rights places more control of individual destiny and actualization in the hands of the individual, then I am sure we can agree that if an adult has the right to make choices in their vocation, the choice of religion, medical care, how they spend their money, where they live, and how they vote, then there is something to be said for the rights of the individual. Voluntary euthanasia is not random killing of another human being for no reason. Instead, it is the practice of ending life when a sane adult believes that for various reasons they would prefer a peaceful death to months of painful treatments in which their remaining days are filled with nausea, loss of hair, muscle tone, the ability to cognate, or even to care for themselves. This is a basic and fundamental right of choice for someone who is terminally ill with little or no chance of recovery, someone who believes that life is not worth living because of unimaginable pain, loss of dignity or capability, someone who repeatedly and consciously asks for help in dying, and who makes this decision freely, without coercion, and after due consideration. I refer to the preamble to many Last Will and Testament documents: "I