Presumption of the Will to Live

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.


Why do we advocate presumption of the will to live?

In moments of medical crisis when a patient is unable to communicate, and when their life hangs in the balance, they deserve to be treated with a presumption of their will to live by their caregivers.

It's not uncommon for life and death decisions to be made within minutes of a patient entering a hospital—a "brain death" diagnosis, for instance—that results in the cessation of life-saving (or even life-sustaining) treatment in favor of the immediate harvesting of organs and resulting death of a patient.

Yet in times of medical crisis, minutes, hours, and sometimes even days matter. Especially when a patient cannot communicate, it is legitimate to presume a will to live on behalf of the patient. Given enough time, many presumed hopeless can make extraordinary recoveries.


How the “Right to Die” came to America

Most Americans are able to identify Roe v. Wade as the 1973 United States Supreme Court case that established a constitutional right for women to abort their unborn babies at the beginning of life.

However, not many Americans are able to similarly identify the important court cases that paved the way for “right to die” laws and the acceptance of euthanasia or mercy killing in America. This new constitutional so-called “right to die” involves the ability to terminate those at the end of life—many of whom are elderly or disabled, or who lack a particular “quality of life” or whose care is determined to be “futile.” Learn more.