To prove once again that "no good deed goes unpunished," the parents of Terri Schiavo have sold the names and addresses of their supporters to marketing firms:
The parents of Terri Schiavo have authorized a conservative direct-mailing firm to sell a list of their financial supporters, making it likely that thousands of strangers moved by her plight will receive a steady stream of solicitations from anti-abortion and conservative groups.
"These compassionate pro-lifers donated toward Bob Schindler's legal battle to keep Terri's estranged husband from removing the feeding tube from Terri," says a description of the list on the Web site of the firm, Response Unlimited, which is asking $150 a month for 6,000 names and $500 a month for 4,000 e-mail addresses of people who responded last month to an e-mail plea from Ms. Schiavo's father. "These individuals are passionate about the way they value human life, adamantly oppose euthanasia and are pro-life in every sense of the word!"
So now, for having spoken out and shown support for their cause, they get to receive sales phone calls at the dinner hour, junk mail and spam. I think that belongs in the slang dictionary to define, "Gee, that's mighty white of you."
What's more, in yet another case of the radical right's clinging to beliefs in spite of facts, the Schindlers' spokeswoman blames others.
"It is possibly the most distasteful thing I have ever seen," Ms. Hennessy said. "Everybody is making a buck off of her."
Ms. Hennessy, who operates the Schindlers' Web site, www.terrisfight.org, said the family had not released any of the names or e-mail addresses gathered there. "Obviously these people are enterprising, and they are taking advantage of this very desperate father," she said.
--except that it's the father taking advantage.
Gary McCullough, director of the Christian Communication Network and a spokesman for Ms. Schiavo's parents, confirmed that Mr. Schindler had agreed to let Response Unlimited rent out the list as part of a deal for the firm to send an e-mail solicitation raising money on the family's behalf.
The Schindlers have waged a lengthy legal battle against their son-in-law Michael Schiavo to prevent the removal of the feeding tube from their daughter, who doctors say is in a persistent vegetative state.
Mr. McCullough said he was present when Mr. Schindler agreed to the arrangement in a conversation with Phil Sheldon, the co-founder of a conservative online marketing organization, RightMarch.com, who acted as a broker for Response Unlimited.
"So the Schindlers do know the details," Mr. McCullough said on Monday.
I morally and ethically and politically disagree with the protesters who are hell-bent on keeping Terri Schiavo's vegetative body warm. (To me, their claims that she's still conscious only add horror to the whole situation -- talk about cruel and unusual punishment. God, don't let me be tormented with a long, drawn-out death, and don't let anyone extend the torment for some 15 years. Please!) But I have to say I feel for these people who just wanted to speak out, and now get their just reward, American style: spam spam spam spam....