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Witnessing for Terri


4/6/2005 - 10:37 PM PST

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By Matt Abbott
Op/Ed

I received the following account from Mary Kelly Ames, a dedicated pro-life young adult with a heart of gold:

“I had been following the legal case of Terri Schindler Schiavo long before her feeding tube was removed. As a woman, I was and still am in shock that Michael Schiavo was able to retain all of his legal rights to decide whether the woman he married in sickness and in health had the right to live or die. Michael never provided Terri with access to proper medical care; in fact, her medical record indicates a very probable pattern of physical abuse starting long before her collapse. He has also been proudly living in open adultery for the past ten years with another woman who is the biological mother of his two children. His attorney is an avowed member of the Hemlock Society.

“By allowing Michael to unnaturally hasten Terri’s death when she wasn’t dying, our courts have sent a clear message to every female in America. The value of our humanity is no longer measured by the reality of our personhood; it is now to be (subjectively) decided by what we can visibly contribute to society. Women are now property, not people, and are therefore not worth being protected should they become legally incapacitated. As an American citizen, Terri was literally given less constitutional protection than an animal or an Iraqi prisoner of war.

“On Sunday, March 27, I knew I was being called by Our Lord to go down to Florida. On Monday night, my friend Becky Dula called me as she was literally on her way to O’Hare to book her flight directly at the airport. Knowing that her ticket would cost hundreds of dollars and that she would most likely be waiting hours to fly standby, I told her to go home and wait. I would call around and find two affordably priced tickets for the two of us to leave as soon as possible on Tuesday. I immediately called Southwest Airlines and told the agent that I had an emergency and needed two tickets to Florida for the following morning. Flights were so full that we weren’t even able to fly together, but by the end of our conversation, I had two non-stop tickets from Chicago to Tampa leaving on Tuesday for under $500 each.

“Becky’s flight arrived several hours before mine. When she picked me up at the airport, she had already rented a car and spent most of her day at Woodside Hospice in nearby Pinellas Park meeting all of the protestors and helping them organize the protest site. I was instantly amazed at how kind, peaceful and diligent everyone was. As soon as we arrived at the hospice, we were put to work making signs, setting up tables and calling legislators and different organizations. My sign that I still possess and will forever keep was made on red cardboard. It features a quote from the late Father John Hardon: ‘Adultery Leads to Murder.’

“Over the next three days, I slept very little and held my sign high while meeting some of the strongest and bravest people I have ever met in my entire life. I met normal working class people such as Mari Hernandez, a single mother who ended up losing her job to fight for a woman whom she had never met before. Mari single-handedly organized a drive for red roses to be sent to Governor Jeb Bush in Terri’s name. In under three days, his office was flooded with over 500 dozen bouquets sent by people from all over the world.

“I spent time with Patricia Devlin; a blind woman who experiences so much chronic pain that she can only stand upright for fifteen minutes out of each hour. Patricia somehow made it to Florida all alone from Lubbock, Texas and was full of joy even though she had to be laid flat on the ground for most of the time. She openly prayed and wept for Terri as she lay there in obvious pain. I witnessed children as young as four leading the Rosary and a little boy even younger making sure that his brother had enough water to drink.

“I met Bobby Schindler, who was a perfect gentleman, always wearing a pressed shirt and tie as he calmly defended his sister’s life over and over to the media. I was able to meet his father Mr. Schindler and gave him my silver tone cross that had been blessed by our now deceased Pontiff. I was only able to give it to him after I begged him to take it and literally placed the cross inside his hands. Mr. Schindler immediately thanked me, took the time to ask me all about myself and embraced me like a daughter as he said how he would bring the cross to Terri. During my stay, I would see him coming out and walking around to thank everyone at least twice a day.

“The Schindler men were the ultimate ‘Josephs’ defending the women in their family with perpetual honor and dignity. I witnessed another ‘Joseph,’ Sean Hannity, who insisted on bringing his televised show directly to the hospice to conduct live interviews with the different people who were ...

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