ST. PETERSBURG BEACH, Fla. (BP)–Green plaid ribbons and a light in the window will remind people around the world that Terri Schiavo, a 39-year-old disabled woman, is not yet out of danger and faces death by starvation and dehydration if her husband and guardian prevails in the Florida courts.
A family supporter, Julie Smithson, has initiated a movement being called “Terri’s Lights.” The Ohio woman has encouraged those who believe Terri has the right to live to display green plaid ribbons and lights in their windows until Terri is safe from harm and can return to the care of her family, according to a press release from the Terri-Schindler-Schiavo Foundation.
Schiavo, the brain-damaged woman who collapsed in her home in 1990, is at the center of a national “right-to-die” debate that is being played out daily through court decisions and legal wranglings. The Florida legislature and Gov. Jeb Bush intervened and halted her death by starvation and dehydration Oct. 21, six days after her feeding tube had been removed by a court order obtained by her husband and legal guardian, Michael Schiavo.
Michael Schiavo continues to battle Bush and assert his wife’s “privacy rights” are being violated. Terri’s parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, contend Terri has not been given needed therapy and is not in a “persistent vegetative state” as Michael’s attorneys have said — and therefore her life is worth saving.
Supporters of the Terri’s Lights initiative are urged to place green plaid ribbons around their trees, to wear a green plaid ribbon on their clothes and to place a light in their window until Terri is out of danger.
There are some reports that Terri’s Lights already are being displayed throughout the United States and as far away as Australia — where pro-life advocates have asked what they could do to show their support.
“We are truly overwhelmed and grateful for the many thoughts and prayers for Terri,” said Mary Schindler, Terri’s mother, in the news release. “It helps to know that there are so many people who recognize that Terri is merely a disabled woman who deserves to be given a chance. We want desperately to continue to care for her and get her the therapy she needs.”
Joni B. Hannigan is managing editor at Florida Baptist Witness. For more information on Terri’s Lights and other information about the Schiavo case go to www.terrisfight.org and to www.FloridaBaptistWitness.com.