Friday, April 01, 2005

Autopsy Performed on Terri Schiavo, Schinders to Help Disabled

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
April 1, 2005

Pinellas Park, FL (LifeNews.com) -- Local officials conducted an autopsy on Terri Schiavo's body on Friday. The Pinellas County medical examiner took six hours to complete the process, which included full X-rays. Results are not expected for six weeks.

Schiavo's body has been released to her estranged husband Michael to begin the burial process. Over objections from Terri's family, Michael will cremate her body and bury her in a plot given to him by his aunt and uncle near Philadelphia.

Bob and Mary Schindler objected to the cremate and Pennsylvania burial, but Judge George Greer rejected requests to bury her body in Florida near her family.

Father Frank Pavone, the national director of Priests for Life, a pro-life group, held a final mass for dozens of Terri supporters who remained Friday at Woodside Hospice, where she lived.

Pavone said what happened to Terri would serve as a "wake up call" for the pro-life movement to renew its efforts to protect the disabled.

"It has re-energized a lot of people," he said, according to an Orlando Sentinel newspaper report.

Paul O'Donnell, the Franciscan monk who helped advise the family during the two weeks Terri starved, said a funeral service the Schindlers and supporters are organizing would be announced soon. He told the Sentinel the Schindlers would make no public statements Friday.

Meanwhile, David Gibbs, the lead attorney for the Schindlers, said they are grieving but also feel embolden by Terri's death to work to protect other disabled people from the same fate, saying they have a "new sense of mission."

"They feel that they have now been entrusted of God with Terri's legacy," Gibbs said. "They want to make sure that she did not die in vain."

Family members plan to tour the nation as advocates for laws that "protect the innocent and the disabled from facing the fate of starvation that Terri had to undergo," Gibbs said in a Thursday interview with CNN