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Terri Schiavo's Parents

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Resource: "Terri Schiavo's Parents" news clip

View the CNN Pipeline news clip located on aXcess for Week Eight.

Post your response to the following: State your stance on the Terri Schiavo case, and identify the moral value judgment that influenced you to choose your stance.

An example of a stance is, "Terri Schiavo should have been allowed to live, despite her persistent vegetative state." An example of a moral value judgment is, "No person's death should be decided by another-people should die naturally."

An example of moral relativism could be that American culture accepts many religious standpoints, making it difficult for its citizens to agree on the religious morality of the issue brought to light by Terri Schiavo and her family.

Moore and Parker (2007) define utilitarianism as the belief that "...if an individual can feel pleasure and pain, then he or she deserves moral consideration" (p. 425). Consider that many proponents of both sides of the Shiavo case thought they had Terri's best interests in mind-a moral consideration.

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Interesting and somewhat troubling case!

1. Post your response to the following: State your stance on the Terri Schiavo case, and identify the moral value judgment that influenced you to choose your stance.

I am wondering what your stance is on the Terri Schiavo case. Do you agree with the examples given above? To help you in this process, let's look at two opposing stances for you to consider, and then several examples of moral judgments. You can tweak them to fit with your own value system. I also attached the oath doctors make at graduation and the medical principles that should guide all medical decisions. It is an oath not to do harm to a patient and to promote healing and caring for patient to keep them alive, to value life.

Examples of two stances:

"Terri Schiavo should have been allowed to live, despite needing assistance to drink and to eat through a feeding tube."


"Terry Schiavo should have been allowed to die - her final should have been honored (e.g., assuming her husband was telling the truth that Terry had told him that ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses both side of the debates regarding the relevant moral and ethical issues related to the Terri Schiavo case, and how it relates to the rights of her parents.

Similar Posting

Terri Schiavo's Parents' news Clip

Discuss how moral relativism and utilitarianism apply to this issue.

The Terri Schiavo Controversy

This is an information presentation about the different opinions Terri Schiavo's parents and husband had about ending or preserving her life.


In 1990, Terri Schiavo became severely mentally disabled after her heart stopped momentarily, cutting off the oxygen supply to her brain. According to doctors, Terri was in a "vegetative" ("Terri Schiavo's Life," 2003) condition; however, she was able to breathe without medical help and respond to stimuli.

Terri Schiavo had no living will, which created a great deal of debate regarding her end-of-life decision. The center of debate was withdrawal of life-sustaining medical equipment. Terri Schiavo needed a feeding tube to sustain her life, which her husband and legal guardian, Michael Schiavo, sought to remove. Terri Schiavo's parents, however, felt that her life should be sustained using the feeding tube. A legal controversy ensued over which guardian should determine medical care when there is no living will.

Terri Schiavo's Parents

Terri Schiavo's parents believed they were able to communicate in some ways with their daughter, and so did not believe she was truly in a persistent vegetative state.
Robert Schindler, Terri Schiavo's father, said, "You can see it's [removing the feeding tube] taking its toll where her face is getting shallow, but she still was responsive. And talking, but with no volume, like it's very, very low" (Hannity & Colmes, 2005).
Her parents also disagreed with Michael Schiavo about whether their daughter would want her feeding tube removed.
Terri's mother, Mary Schindler, stated that she believed if Terri Schiavo had ever told Michael Schiavo she did not wish to be kept alive by artificial means, "I don't think she was ever talking about [removing] a feeding tube. My daughter would not want to be starved to death. No one would want to be starved to death" (Hannity & Colmes, 2005).
Terri Schiavo's Husband

Michael Schiavo said he wanted to remove the feeding tube based on a verbal statement Terri Schiavo made to him prior to her hospitalization (Roh, 2005). Michael insisted that he was trying to carry out Terri's wishes regarding her end-of-life care.

Michael Schiavo argued that his fight to remove the feeding tube was "about the sanctity of marriage, the sanctity of your personal decisions, your choice" (Olbermann et al., 2006).

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