(CNSNews.com) - A priest who was with Terri Schiavo in the final hours before her death said Wednesday the autopsy findings do not change the moral aspects of her death, which he called "a murder."
Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life said the details of the autopsy do not change what happened to Terri.
"Her physical injuries and disabilities never made her less of a person. No amount of brain injury ever justifies denying a person proper humane care. That includes food and water," said Pavone.
"A person with a 'profoundly atrophied' brain needs profound care and love. Terry did not die from an atrophied brain. She died from an atrophy of compassion on the part of her estranged husband and those who helped him to have her deliberately killed," he concluded.
Meanwhile, the pro-life group American Life League also said that the autopsy findings are irrelevant and do not "justify the cruel death by dehydration that was imposed on a living human being."
"The fact remains that Terri was not dying, did not have a terminal condition, and could have continued to survive with proper nutrition and hydration," said ALL President Judie Brown in a statement.
Brown pointed to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which defines "direct euthanasia" - a "morally unacceptable" matter - as "putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons" no matter what the motives and means are.
"There are those who will use this autopsy report to claim that the death by dehydration imposed on Terri Schiavo was compassionate or merciful," said Brown. "Others would say such a life is not worth living. Such thinking is misguided and absolutely wrong. Those decisions are not ours to make."
Brown urged those concerned about Terri's plight to assemble a morally acceptable healthcare directive, such as ALL's Loving Will.
"The bottom line is, Terri died an excruciatingly cruel death which simply cannot be justified," Brown concluded.
Terri Schiavo Autopsy: Manner of Death 'Undetermined' (June 15, 2005)
Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.