The Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network upholds human dignity through service to the medically vulnerable.
We express this mission through public advocacy of essential qualities of human dignity—which include the right to food and water, the presumption of the will to live, due process against denial of care, protection from euthanasia as a form of medicine, and access to rehabilitative care—as well as through 24/7 Crisis Lifeline service to at-risk patients and families.
Our Founding & History
Terri Schiavo. Her name is seared into the national memory as a face of the right-to-life movement, but many are now too young to remember her witness.
At the age of 26, Terri experienced a still unexplained collapse while at home alone with Michael Schiavo, who subsequently became her guardian. After a short period of time, Michael lost interest in caring for his brain injured, but otherwise healthy, young wife. Terri was not dying, and did not suffer from any life-threatening disease. She was neither on machines nor was she “brain dead.”
To the contrary, she was alert and interacted with friends and family—before her husband subsequently abandoned his wedding vows, warehoused her in nursing homes, and eventually petitioned the courts for permission to deliberately starve and dehydrate her to death. Michael finally testified, after many years of legal maneuverings against the Schindler family, that his wife had told him prior to her accident that she would not have wanted to live in a brain injured condition.
This hearsay evidence led to Terri’s right to life instead being portrayed as a “right to die” or “end of life” issue. On the order of Judge George W. Greer, Terri was deprived of water and food and after 13 days, Terri died on March 31, 2005 of dehydration.
Terri’s parents and siblings, supported by hundreds of thousands who witnessed to Terri’s right to life in the years before her court-ordered death, created the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network to serve medically vulnerable persons at risk of being marginalized rather than supported in love.
Since its founding in 2005, the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network has advocated and assisted more than 2,500 medically vulnerable patients and families.