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Hagerstown Pastor Comments on Schiavo Case

Mar 22, 2005

The Terri Schiavo case in Florida is giving some Christian spokespersons opportunity to comment in the media on this issue which has biblical and ethical implications. This morning’s Hagerstown, MD Herald newspaper contains the following quotes from a Grace Brethren pastor:

Pastor Dean P. Pryor of Hagerstown Grace Brethren Church said Michael Schiavo gave up his rights as a husband by living with another woman and having children with her despite being married to Terri Schiavo.

Pryor said Terri Schiavo seems to have faint reactions to stimuli, which means she can think and function to some degree.

“If someone is able to breathe on their own and needs help being fed, that is still life,” Pryor said.

Dr. Martin Gallagher, who founded the Community Free Clinic in Hagerstown, said it is not an issue for Bush or Congress to decide.

“This was a totally inappropriate intervention of government,” Gallagher said.

He said Schiavo appears to be in a state known as coma vigil, in which a person is “in a coma, but appears awake.”

But, to Chukla, Schiavo’s condition is not clear.

He said she doesn’t fit into the categories of terminal, persistent vegetative or end state because all three “usually rely on the idea that a person is getting artificial life support.”

Terri Schiavo can breathe on her own and is not on a heart monitor, Chukla said.

It’s also not clear if she could get better, Chukla said.

“You can’t just rule it out across the board,” he said.

Gallagher and Chukla agreed that the debate is a reminder of the importance of a living will, in which a person spells out his or her end-of-life wishes.

Gallagher said it’s not a perfect case study, though.

“This is very muddied by politics,” he said.

Regardless, Pryor said, Terri Schiavo should be thought of in prayers – which his congregation did Sunday morning and evening.