In 2005, as a sharply divided nation looked on, Terri Schindler Schiavo's feeding tube was removed as the result of a court order. Thirteen days later, she died of starvation. Her mother, Mary Schindler, was prohibited from offering Terri ice chips or a moistened sponge to alleviate the pain as her mouth and tongue cracked and bled. Mary was even barred from the simple mercy of wiping her suffering daughter's brow. 

As Schiavo's sister, Suzanne Vitadamo, claims in The Terri Schiavo Story—recently released on dvd—Terri's death was not the peaceful, tranquil, even beautiful event depicted in much of the media. It was murder.

This documentary, hosted by Joni Eareckson Tada, counters the prevailing media interpretation of the events that led to Schiavo's death. It highlights facts that were either ignored or not widely reported, such as husband Michael Schiavo's motivations. It also challenges the popular view that Schiavo wanted to die.

Michael Schiavo's attorney, George Felos, interviewed here, would have the world believe that Terri's life was simply no longer worth living. He argued stridently and effectively that death would be a merciful release because she was so disabled.

But the film reminds viewers that Schiavo's was not a case of an ill person being allowed to die by natural causes. Her body was healthy and strong. Her impairments meant that she used a feeding tube for nutrition, much like a paraplegic would use a wheelchair to get around. Starvation is not natural. It's not the same as removing someone from a ventilator, unless you are also planning to smother the person with a pillow to prevent him from breathing. Removing Terri's feeding tube meant actively preventing her from the basic human right to food and water.

We now live in a society where the courts can decree that a disabled person can be starved to death. As The Terri Schiavo Story reminds us, we are all created in the image of God—with purpose and meaning. And, as this film illustrates, Schiavo's is now the face of a human rights violation of the most heinous kind.

For more information, go to

Annie Young Frisbie, CT Movies and

Related Elsewhere:

The Terri Schiavo Story is available at and other retailers.

Christianity Today has a special section on Terri Schiavo, which includes:

Rights Brained | Just arguing our liberties can blind us to our duties. (April 18, 2005)
Life with Dignity | Let's not be too eager to pull the plug on our fellow image-bearers. (August 13, 2004)
Not a Mercy but a Sin | The modern push for euthanasia is a push against a two-millenniums-old Christian tradition. (October 31, 2004)

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

The Terri Schiavo Story
Our Rating
4 Stars - Excellent
Book Title
The Terri Schiavo Story
Nest Family
Release Date
February 2, 2005
Buy The Terri Schiavo Story from Amazon

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.