Archive for the ‘*Life Issues’ Category

If your church or religion does not absolutely condemn abortion, you need to escape and convert to Catholicism. And then be an authentic Catholic. Not all of us are, even some among the clergy, but don’t let that deter you. You would have joined the one and only authentic Church of Christ Jesus and if you were faithful to her teachings despite the example of her dissidents, that in itself would bring glory to God, earning you favor in his sight and enabling you be an example to others by your honest and fervent discipleship.

To support abortion or not even oppose it is evil. How could any church or religion (claiming to be of God) that teaches or tolerates evil deserve your embrace? Even if you believe such a religion was of God, can you believe that it is still with God?

Excerpts from ‘ Where major religious groups stand on abortion‘:

The Roman Catholic Churchopposes abortion in all circumstances.

The Southern Baptist Convention, also opposes abortion, although it does allow an exception in cases where the mother’s life is in danger.

Other sizable religious groups in opposition to abortion with few or no exceptions include the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) and the Assemblies of God, the largest U.S. Pentecostal denomination. Hindu teaching also is generally opposed to abortion.

The United Methodist Church’s Book of Discipline (which lays out the denomination’s law and doctrine) stresses that abortion should be, in some cases, legally available.

On the other side of the debate, a number of religious groups, including the United Church of Christ, the Unitarian Universalist Association and the two largest American Jewish movements – Reform and Conservative Judaism – favor a woman’s right to have an abortion with few or no exceptions.

Many of the nation’s largest mainline Protestant denominations – including the Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Methodists – also support abortion rights, although several of these churches temper this support with the call for some limits on when a woman can terminate her pregnancy.

There are several religious groups that have no public position on abortion. For instance, in Islam, which lacks a single organizational authority, there are a range of views among scholars about when life begins and thus when abortion is morally acceptable. Similarly, in Orthodox Judaism there is disagreement among rabbis and scholars about the issue. And for the National Baptist Convention, a historically black Protestant denomination in the U.S., church policy is to allow each individual congregation to determine its views on abortion.


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Let’s give credit where it’s due. The first March for Life, which was founded by Nellie Gray, was held on January 22, 1974. Yesterday was the March’s 45th and the first time a president addressed the crowd via live video feed. Bravo, President Trump! [Read president Ronald Reagan’s audio address to the 15th March for Life following President Trump’s speech]

I was not happy when candidate Trump won the presidential nomination, but of course I voted for him in the presidential election. No one who claims to be pro-life or Catholic or of any other designation of Christian could have honestly done otherwise. There is no such thing as a pro-life democrat or pro-choice Christian. And that includes members of the clergy.

Many Americans, Catholics among them, have had their heads buried in the sand with regards to the horrific affects of abortion upon our country and our souls. The anniversary of Roe vs. Wade is a crucial time to remind communities of faith and all Americans of the devastation abortion causes to its immediate victims and to our nation and the world as a whole. On such an occasion, a sword should pierce their hearts and they should resolve to lift their heads out of the sand and take the consequences of abortion seriously.

Whether you love or hate him, please hear the man:

President Trump:

We have tens of thousands of people watching this right down the road, tens of thousands. So, I congratulate you, and at least we picked a beautiful day, you can’t get a more beautiful day. I want to thank our Vice President Mike Pence for that wonderful introduction. I also want to thank you and Karen for being true champions for life. Thank you, and thank Karen.

Today I’m honored and really proud to be the first president to stand with you here at the White House to address the 45th March for Life, that’s very very special, 45th March for Life, and this is a truly remarkable group. Today tens of thousands of families, students, and patriots, and really just great citizens gather here in our nations Capitol. You come from many backgrounds, and many places, but you all come for one beautiful cause, to build a society where life is celebrated and protected and cherished.

The March for Life is a movement born out of love: you love your families; you love your neighbors; you love our nation; and you love every child born and unborn, because you believe that every life is sacred, that every child is a precious gift from God.

“The March for Life is a movement born out of love…and you love every child born and unborn, because you believe that every life is sacred, that every child is a precious gift from God.”

We know that life is the greatest miracle of all. We see it in the eyes of every new mother who cradles that wonderful, innocent, and glorious-newborn child in her loving arms. I want to thank every person here today and all across our country who works with such big hearts and tireless devotion to make sure that parents have the caring support they need to choose life.

Because of you, tens of thousands of Americans have been born and reached their full God-given potential, because of you. You’re living witnesses of this year’s March for life theme, and that theme is, ‘Love Saves Lives.’

As you all know Roe versus Wade has resulted in some of the most permissive abortion laws anywhere in the world. For example, in the United States, it’s one of only seven countries to allow elective late-term abortions along with China, North Korea and others. Right now, in a number of States, the laws allow a baby to be born [sic, aborted] from his or her mother’s womb in the ninth month.

It is wrong. It has to change.

Americans are more and more pro-life. You see that all the time. In fact, only 12% of Americans support abortion on demand at any time.

Under my administration, we will always defend the very first right in the Declaration of Independence, and that is the ‘right to life.’

Tomorrow will mark exactly one year since I took the oath of office. And I will say our country is doing really well. Our economy is perhaps the best it’s ever been. You look at the job numbers, the companies pouring back into our country,  look at the stock market at an all-time high, unemployment at a 17-year low, unemployment for African workers at the lowest mark in the history of our country, unemployment for Hispanic at a record-low in history, unemployment for women, think of this, at an 18-year low.

We’re really proud of what we’re doing.

And during my first week in office, I reinstated a policy first put in place by Pres. Ronald Reagan, the Mexico City Policy.

I strongly supported the House of Representatives’ pain-capable bill, which would end painful late-term abortions nationwide. And I call upon the Senate to pass this important law and send it to my desk for signing.

On the National Day of Prayer, I signed an executive order to protect religious liberty. [I’m] very proud of that. Today, I’m announcing that we’ve just issued a new proposal to protect conscience rights and religious freedoms of doctors, nurses, and other medical professions. So important.

I have also just reversed the previous administration’s policy that restricted state efforts to direct Medicaid funding away from abortion facilities that violate the law.

We are protecting the sanctity of life and the family as the foundation of our society. But this movement can only succeed with the heart and the soul and the prayer of the people.

Here with us today is Marianne Donadio from Greensboro North Carolina. Where is Marianne? Hello, come on up here Marianne. Come. Nice to see you, by the way.

Marianne was 17 when she found out that she was pregnant. At first, she felt like she had no place to turn. But when she told her parents they responded with total love, total affection, total support. Great parents? Great? [Trump asked Marianne. She responded in the affirmative] I thought you were going to say that. I had to be careful.

Marianne bravely chose life and soon gave birth to her son. She named him Benedict which means blessing. Marianne was so grateful for her parents love and support that she felt called to serve those who were not as fortunate as her. She joined with others in her community to start a maternity home to care for homeless women who were pregnant. That’s great. They named it ‘Room at the Inn.’ Today, Marianne and her husband Don are the parents of six beautiful children. And her eldest son Benedict and her daughter Maria join us here today. Where are they? Come on over. That’s great.

Over the last 15 years, Room at the Inn has provided housing, childcare, counseling, education, and job-training to more than 400 women. Even more importantly, it has given them hope. It has shown each woman she is not forgotten, that she is not alone, and that she really now has a whole family of people who will help her succeed.

That hope is the true gift of this incredible movement that brings us together today.

It is the gift of friendship, the gift of mentorship, and the gift of encouragement, love, and support. Those are beautiful words and those are beautiful gifts.

And most importantly of all, it is the gift of life itself – that is why we March, that is why we pray, and that is why we declare that America’s future will be filled with goodness, peace, joy, dignity, and life for every child of God.

Thank you to the March for life, special, special people. And we are with you all the way. May God bless you and may God bless America. Thank you. Thank you.

Read President Ronald Reagan’s audio address to the 15th March for Life

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If you read this post on Msgr. Pope’s blog, you will find many of his other outstanding reflections. For your convenience it is copied below with his kind permission.

What is a Holy Family? A Homily for the Feast of the Holy Family

by Msgr. Charles Pope (posted with permission – source)

Here in the Christmas Octave, the Church bids us to celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family. On the old calendar, it falls later (the Sunday after Epiphany), which makes a little more sense as the Gospels appointed for the feast often take place far forward in time from His birth. The Gospel this year is only forty days into the future (as compared to other years, when the gospel takes place twelve years into the future), but it is still well past the Feast of the Epiphany, which we have yet to celebrate.

Nevertheless, here we are. Perhaps it is a good time to reflect on family life, for at Christmas time, family and extended family often gather together. It is important that we understand what God teaches and effectively proclaim it. In pondering the question of what a holy family is, recall that the primary meaning of the word “holy” is “set apart” or “different. Thus, even if our families are not sin-free, they can be holy if we follow God’s plan.

On this Feast of the Holy Family, let us consider marriage and family along three lines: structure, struggles, and strategy.

I. Structure – All through the readings for Sunday Mass, we are instructed on the basic form, the basic structure of the family. For example,

  • God sets a father in honor over his children; a mother’s authority he confirms over her sons (Sirach 3:2).
  • May your wife be like a fruitful vine, in the recesses of your home; your children like olive plants, around your table (Psalm 128:3).
  • Wives, be subordinate to your husbands, as is proper in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and avoid any bitterness toward them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, so that they may not become discouraged (Colossians 3:20–21).
  • Each year, Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover … Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety (Luke 2:45, 51).
  • And he was obedient to them; … And Jesus advanced in age and wisdom and favor before God and man (Luke 2:51–52).

In these passages we see the basic structure of the family:

  • A father in honor over his children
  • A wife and mother who is supportive of her husband and his authority
  • A husband who supports, loves, and encourages his wife
  • A mother in authority over her children
  • Children who honor and obey their parents
  • Fathers, and by extension mothers, who instruct and admonish their children, not in a way that badgers or discourages them, but rather encourages them and builds them up.
  • A family structure that helps children to advance in wisdom and age and in favor before God and man.
  • A father, a mother, and children, all reverential and supportive of one another in their various roles and duties.

This is God’s basic teaching on family and marriage. It is the basic structure for the family as God sets it forth: a man who loves his wife and a woman who loves her husband. In this stable, lasting, and faithful union of mutual support and love, they conceive and raise their children in the holy fear of the Lord.

Add to this, the principal description of the book of Genesis, which lays out how God sets forth marriage: A man shall leave his father and mother, cling to his wife, and the two of them shall become one flesh (Gen 2:24). To this first couple, God gave the mandate, Be fruitful and multiply (Gen 1:22).

Note, that the structure of the family takes its basic form based on its essential work: procreation and the rearing of children. Why should marriage be a stable and lasting union? Why is Adam told to cling to his wife, to form a stable and lasting union with her? Because that is what is best and just for children! Children both need and deserve a stable, lasting union of their father and mother as well as the complementary influence of the two different sexes. It is the best environment in which to raise and form children. The family structure of a father and a mother, a male and a female parent, as set forth by God, flows from what is best and just for children. It is what is sensible and what is best sociologically and psychologically for the proper development of children.

Even without opening the Bible, one can see that it makes sense that a child should have a father and a mother, should have the influence and teaching of both a male and a female. There are things that a father, a male, can teach a child that a mother, a female, cannot teach as well. The mother, a female, can teach and model for children what only she knows best. Both male and female influences are essential for the proper psychological and sociological development of children. God’s biblical mandate that marriage should consist of a father and a mother is not without basis in human reason and common sense.

To intentionally deprive a child of this environment is both unjust to the child and unwise. Both God and nature provide for a father and a mother, a male and a female, to conceive and raise a child.

It also makes sense, based on simple human reasoning, that the relationship between mother and father should be a stable one, something that the children can depend on from day-to-day, month-to-month, and year-to-year.

The proper structure for marriage is set forth both by God and human reason.

II. Struggles – Yet what should be obvious to us as a culture seems to be strangely absent from the minds of many. Let us be clear: sin clouds judgment and makes many think that what is sinful and improper is in fact acceptable or even good. It is not. In our current culture we gravely sin against God and against our children through repeated misconduct and by our refusal to accept what is obviously true. The words of St. Paul are fulfilled in our modern times: their senseless minds were darkened, and they became vain and foolish in their reasoning (Rom 1:21).

It is clear that marriage and the family are in crisis today. It is also clear that it is children who suffer the most. The modern Western world displays a mentality that is both deeply flawed and gravely harmful to children. The crisis is a result of the willful, sinful habits of the vast majority of adults in the areas of sexuality, marriage, and family life. The rebellion of adults against the plan and order of God has caused endless grief and hardship and has led to a cultural environment that is poisonous to the proper raising and blessing of children.

Children have much to suffer in this world of our collective making. While not all of us are equally guilty of contributing to their suffering, none of us is wholly innocent either, if for no other reason than our silence.

Consider that most children born today are no longer born into the stable and lasting family units they justly deserve, with a father and mother committed to each other until death do them part.

The problems begin with fornication, which is rampant in our culture. While most do not think of this as a sin of injustice, it is. It is so primarily because of what it does to children.

Many children are conceived out of fornication, and tragically many of them are murdered by abortion. The overwhelming majority of abortions are performed on unmarried women. Despite all the claims that contraception makes every baby a wanted baby, the data show that nothing could be further from the truth. Abortion has skyrocketed since the widespread availability of contraception. This is because the problem is not fertility; it is lust, promiscuity, fornication, and adultery. Contraception fuels these problems with the lie that there is no necessary connection between sex and procreation. The promises associated with contraception are lies; contraception has the opposite effect.

Fornication and the contraceptive mentality (founded on lies) cause grave harm to children, beginning with their death in huge numbers. Children conceived of fornication who do (thankfully) survive are nevertheless (typically) subjected to the injustice of being born into irregular situations. There are single mothers, some single fathers, and many other abnormalities.

Add to this picture the large number of divorced families. Make no mistake about it, these shredded families cause great hardship and pain for children, including being shuttled back and forth between households each week, having to meet “Daddy’s new girlfriend” or “Mommy’s new boyfriend,” and enduring all sorts of other family chaos. Blended families also dramatically increase the likelihood of sexual and emotional abuse, because strictly legal relationships seldom have the built-in protections of natural ones.

All of this misbehavior, individual and cultural, harms children. Not being raised in a traditional marriage dramatically increases a child’s likelihood of suffering many other social ills, starting with poverty.

The chief cause of poverty in this country is single motherhood, absent fatherhood. 71% of poor families are not married. Children of single parent homes are 2 times more likely to be arrested for juvenile crime, 2 times more likely to be treated for behavioral problems, twice as likely to be suspended or expelled from school, 33% more likely to drop out of school, 3 times more likely to end up in jail by age 30, 50% more likely to live in poverty as adults, and twice as likely to have a child outside of marriage themselves (Getting the Marriage Conversation Right: A Guide for Effective Dialogue, William B. May).

Add to the burdens that children must experience the new trend of adoption by same-sex couples. Never mind that it is best for the psychological development of a child to have a father and a mother, a male and a female influence. No, what is best and just for children must be sacrificed on the altar of political correctness. In many states, same-sex couples and heterosexual couples must be given equal consideration as adoptive parents. It is the adults and their “rights” that seem to matter most; what is best for children is quite secondary.

Here, then, are the struggles we face. Our families are in grave crisis and most children in our culture are not raised in the stable and committed homes they deserve. Let us be even more clear: to intentionally deprive children of this sort of home by raising them outside of a (traditional (male/female)) marriage is sinful, wrong, and an injustice.

Disclaimer – It is not possible to judge every instance of a broken family in sweeping fashion. The modern world has experienced a cultural tsunami and many have been influenced by lies and false promises. If you are divorced, you may well have tried valiantly to save your marriage but your spouse was unwilling. Perhaps in a moment of weakness, perhaps before your conversion to Christ, you fell and bore children outside of marriage, but have done your best since then to raise them well.

In the end, though, we must say that children have had much to suffer on account of adult misbehavior. We need to repent and beg God’s grace and mercy to undo our grave sins of commission, omission, and silence. We have set forth a bitter world for our children to inherit.

III. Strategy – What are we to do? In a phrase, “Preach the Word.”

This strategic proclamation must include these key elements:

  • No sex before marriage, ever, under any circumstances. Sexual intercourse is rooted in the procreation of children and there is no legitimate use of it outside of marriage, ever. There are no exceptions.
  • Children deserve and have the right to expect two parents, a father and a mother, committed to each other till death do them part. Anything short of this is a grave injustice to children and a mortal sin before God.
  • Gay unions, or single mothers and fathers are not an acceptable alternative to biblical marriage. To intentionally subject children to this, for the sake of political correctness or for the perceived needs of adults, does them a grave injustice.
  • Married couples must learn to work out their differences (as was done in the past) and not head for divorce court, something that offends God (cf Malachi 2:16).
  • The needs of children far outweigh the preferences and needs of adults.
  • Marriage is about what is best for children, not adults.

Regardless of the personal failings of any of us in this present evil age (cf Gal 1:4), our strategy must be to preach the undiluted plan of God for sexuality, marriage, and family to our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Even if many of us have fallen short, we must not hesitate to announce God’s plan.

In short, back to the Bible! Back to the plan of God! Away with modern experiments and unbiblical schemes! God has given us a plan. Thinking that we had better ideas, we have caused great sorrow and hardship for our descendants. We have acted unjustly. We have murdered our children through abortion. Through our selfish misbehavior, we have sown the wind and now our descendants have inherited the whirlwind. It is time to repent. We must help our progeny to rejoice in chastity, marriage, and the biblical family. Otherwise we are doomed to perish.

God has a plan. Our strategy to address this crisis of our times must be to get back to God’s structure for our families.

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Would people, even our relatives, love and communicate with us more if we told them this?

Just a friendly email to inform you that I no longer believe in – at least not all of – the teachings of the Catholic Church. I’m now pro-abortion, pro-euthanasia, pro-cohabitation of unmarried couples, pro-contraception, pro-same-sex marriage, pro-homosexual acts, pro-transgenderism. Okay, I’m not “all there” yet, I’m a work in progress, but now that I’m no longer an Independent and have finally become a Democrat, I’m sure I’ll soon be perfect. What’s really cool is that just like Nancy Pelosi, I’m still a devout Catholic.

I’m sure most of you are happy with my transformation and will probably keep in touch with me now, so let’s chat. Oh wait, I have to join Facebook first. Sorry, I’m still learning how to have friends.

Love to you all and be happy by whatever means; what else is life for?


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Statement Regarding Archdiocesan Transition from Girl Scouts to American Heritage Girls

By Archbishop Joseph F Naumann
May 1, 2017 Source

After several consultations with the Presbyteral Council and with the recommendation of our Office for Youth Ministry, I have asked the pastors of the Archdiocese to begin the process of transitioning away from the hosting of parish Girl Scout troops and toward the chartering of American Heritage Girls troops.

Pastors were given the choice of making this transition quickly, or to, over the next several years, “graduate” the Scouts currently in the program. Regardless of whether they chose the immediate or phased transition, parishes should be in the process of forming American Heritage Girl troops, at least for their kindergarteners, this fall.

The decision to end our relationship with Girl Scouting was not an easy one. Over a period of many years, our Archdiocesan Youth Ministry staff spent hundreds of hours researching concerns regarding the policies of both the International and the National Girl Scouting organizations. In addition, they have spent hundreds of hours in dialogue with Scouts, parents, pastors, and national Girl Scouting representatives regarding our concerns with disturbing content in materials and resources developed and promulgated by the national organization. I personally have been in conversation with national and local Girl Scout leaders regarding my concerns about the new direction of national Girl Scouting reflected in the content of their program materials.

Eventually it came down to this. Our greatest responsibility as a church is to the children and young people in our care. We have a limited time and number of opportunities to impact the formation of our young people. It is essential that all youth programs at our parishes affirm virtues and values consistent with our Catholic faith.

To follow Jesus and his Gospel will often require us to be counter-cultural. With the promotion by Girl Scouts USA (GSUSA) of programs and materials reflective of many of the troubling trends in our secular culture, they are no longer a compatible partner in helping us form young women with the virtues and values of the Gospel.

The national organization, for example, contributes more than a million dollars each year to the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGS), an organization tied to International Planned Parenthood and its advocacy for legislation that includes both contraception and abortion as preventive health care for women.

Margaret Sanger, Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem are frequently held up in materials as role models for young Scouts. These as well as many other “role models” in the GSUSA’s new manuals and web content not only do not reflect our Catholic worldview but stand in stark opposition to what we believe.

While I am grateful that offensive and completely age-inappropriate material was recently removed by GSUSA from portions of their Journey series of manuals in response to concerns raised by the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas and others, it is disturbing such an intervention on our part was necessary. We prefer to partner with youth organizations that share our values and vision for youth ministry, not ones that we have to monitor constantly to protect our children from being misled and misinformed.

American Heritage Girls, a program based on Christian values, we believe is a much better fit for our parishes. I encourage you to read more about the American Heritage Girl program by going to its website, For more information about the history of and issues surrounding our Girl Scouting decision, go to

On a final note, I want to express my appreciation for the many extraordinary Girl Scout leaders of the archdiocese who have served so many so well. We look forward to having as many of them as are willing join us in leadership roles as we take this new step into the formation of our girls. I will always be grateful for their exceptional service.

See also:

*Mamas Don’t Let Your Daughters Grow Up To Be Girl Scouts

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Dear Readers,

Today marks the 12th anniversary of the death of Terri Schiavo. A needless death and as far as I and many others believe, a death by murder. Personally, I think this marks a day of shame for America as a country and as a people, including religious and political leaders and representatives. I am especially ashamed of those who are Catholic and more especially of those who were bishops – every single one of them who did not take a forceful stand against Terri’s local bishop. In fact, four days after Terri’s feeding tube was removed, one of them stated that “The bishops and lay faithful of Florida have the task of leading American Catholics in the Terri Schiavo case. They’re working hard to provide that leadership. Our job, outside Florida, is to support Ms. Schiavo and all those concerned for her well-being with our prayers. We especially need to pray for Ms. Schiavo’s family”. Nonsense! The local bishop did nothing to save Terri or to help her family. What Terri and her family needed (in addition to prayers) was intercessory action. Lacking that, many Americans including bishops, failed them.

Please read Bobby Schindler’s story about his sister (below) and (if you haven’t in the past) my reflection on the twelve days I spent in Florida supporting Terri, her family and others who supported and fought for them. At the time, I was one of those “non-Floridians” and I didn’t see many “lay faithful of Florida” or from anywhere else. [see Calvary in Pinellas Park.] One further comment: never assume others are doing the job God has called each of us to do – we must be Christians without borders.

From Bobby Schindler:

Hi Fredi – Last year I wrote about my sister in National Review [original publication]. It’s as relevant now, and I’m sharing it today in case there’s someone in your life who could benefit from learning her story. [See full story copied below because Bobby wants his story shared and I find that most readers don’t click on external links.]

I wrote earlier this week about what we’re doing for Terri’s Day, and I wanted to update you to let you know there’s still time to support our mission and have your name placed in our special “Guest Book” that we’ll be presenting to my mother in honor of your support and in memory of my sister.  [Learn about Terri’s day here.]

Our work continues only with support from you. Please consider a gift in honor of Terri today, during this painful time of year for my mother and our family. [Go to]

God bless you,


What Terri Schiavo Still Can Teach Us

by Bobby Schindler March 31, 2016

Her name — my sister’s name — is seared into the national memory as a face of the right-to-life movement, but it’s now been more than a decade since her death. Many are now too young to remember her witness, or they have forgotten.

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 young and healthy wife. Terri was cognitively disabled, but she was not dying, and she did not suffer from any life-threatening disease. She was neither on machines nor “brain dead.” To the contrary, she was alert and interacted with friends and family — before Michael placed her in a nursing home and eventually petitioned the courts for permission to starve and dehydrate her to death.

It was this decision by Michael that made my sister’s story a national story rather than simply a family story. It was this decision — to deprive my sister of food and water — that transformed our family’s struggle. Rather than trying to work with Michael to care for and rehabilitate Terri as aggressively as possible, we now were battling against Michael to fight for my sister’s life.

Michael finally testified, after many years of legal maneuverings against my family, that Terri had told him before her accident that she would not have wanted to live in a brain-injured condition. It was this hearsay evidence that led the media and others to deny Terri’s right to life, and instead speak of “end of life” issues and advocate for her “right to die.” On the order of Judge George W. Greer, and despite the efforts of Saint John Paul the Great, a president, Congress, and a governor, Terri was deprived of water and food. After 13 days, my sister died of extreme dehydration on March 31, 2005.

We couldn’t save my sister, though millions of advocates did succeed in speaking for the fundamental dignity of every human life, regardless of circumstance or condition.

It was the trauma of our experience fighting for my sister that led my family to create the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network a decade ago, both in memory of my sister and in service to medically vulnerable persons today. Unbeknownst to my family at the start of our struggle, the method of Terri’s death — the fatal denial of food and water — was not altogether uncommon. It has only become more common in the decade since her passing, as Wesley J. Smith so routinely documents.

Indeed, new “rights” to death are paradoxically being enshrined through the international medical system, reshaping a vocation meant to care for and heal the sick into one that eliminates suffering by eliminating the sufferer. Increasingly, medical professionals do this — end life — even without the patient’s consent. A stranger, in other words, may very well decide how and when you die.

It was once true, for instance, that food and water were considered “basic and ordinary care.” Yet now the presence of a tube (as distinct from a spoon) to deliver food and water means that basic nourishment is considered “extraordinary” and a form of “medical treatment.” Yet tubes are often used for the same reason that automation is revolutionizing the work force: They’re cheaper and more efficient than round-the-clock human care. It is now legal in every U.S. state to deny food and water, leading to fatal dehydration. This is simply one step on the path to controlled and regulated access to all forms of food and water, including whatever a bureaucrat decides can be placed on your mother’s nursing-home supper tray.

Hospital ethics committees are often leading the effort to reshape medicine, giving themselves unilateral power to decide whether a patient deserves to receive treatment or whether life-affirming treatment will continue when there is a dispute within a family. The tragic case of Chris Dunn, who was filmed last year literally begging for his life in a Texas hospital, illustrates all too well what happens when an ethics committee decides to appoint itself as a legal guardian in order to deny treatment — even when such a course is opposed, as it was in Dunn’s case, by both the patient and his guardian-mother.

Not only is death often imposed, it is now also encouraged as if death itself were a form of medicine. As of last year, more than half the states in the country were considering a form of physician-assisted suicide legislation. It appears likely that suicide will, within the next five years, be enshrined as a personal “health” right in most of the country. In this, we would only be following some of our European neighbors. In the Netherlands and Belgium, as Wesley Smith recently documented, Alzheimer’s patients, infants with disabilities, the aged, and the chronically ill are routinely encouraged to die or have death imposed upon them.

Brittany Maynard, who committed suicide in November 2014 after already having outlived her doctor’s terminal-brain-cancer prognosis, was able to choose her death by suicide, but how many now will die not because they embrace that sort of death but because they feel pressured — by smiling physicians or hovering children and heirs — to accept it? To die without hope seems the furthest thing from death with dignity. Other, less fortunate patients will face what Smith explains is considered “termination without request or consent,” a wonderfully anodyne way to describe murder through terminal sedation or the denial of food and water.

My experience in fighting for my sister, and the experiences of assisting more than 1,000 patients and families through the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network over the past decade, have strengthened my resolve and my belief that we can do better as a culture, and for those requiring authentic medical treatment, than what our present attitudes and laws suggest.

It’s why the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network affirms essential qualities of human dignity, including the right to food and water, the presumption of the will to live, due-process rights for those facing denial of care, protection from euthanasia as a form of medicine, and access to rehabilitative care. Each of these were rights my sister was denied, and they are rights of every patient that are often at risk or contested outright.

As we mark the anniversary of my sister’s death, I’m hopeful that we can remember some of these genuine means of upholding human dignity. If we do, we can be assured that when we face crisis in our own lives and the lives of those whom we love, we will meet the moment with a dignity and grace that elevates us in our weakest moments — regardless of the outcome.

That was the promise of medicine once, and it’s what my sister continues to inspire me to fight for daily.

— Bobby Schindler is president of the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network, author of A Life That Matters: The Legacy of Terri Schiavo, and an internationally recognized pro-life advocate.

[See Calvary in Pinellas Park.]

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