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Liberty News

Helms School hosts attorney in Terri Schiavo Supreme Court case

April 22, 2010 : Kristen Riordan

Attorney David Gibbs, III, who served as the lead attorney for the parents of the late Terri Schiavo in the 2005 Bush v. Schiavo Supreme Court case, spoke at Liberty University’s Helms School of Government Thursday.

Gibbs shed light on the Biblical moral standards involved in the Terri Schiavo case, giving students a chance to see how their Christian view will affect their careers in the field of government. He said he invested a great amount of energy into the case not only because it was his job, but also because he had a strong conviction about the fact that the government would allow doctors to take action on ending a woman’s life.

He also presented a behind-the-scenes look at the case from the eyes of a man who knew the family on a personal level. He described the moment Schiavo’s mother saw her daughter alive for the last time.

“When I went in there, I thought a machine had broke, but realized it was her [Schiavo] breathing.”

He said Schiavo’s mother, escorted by an armed officer, bent over her daughter and wept and prayed. Gibbs thought to himself: “Men and women who had given their lives in battle for this country so we could have liberty and freedom … they didn’t pay those prices so we could do what I’m looking at right here.”

As a person who has fought on the front lines of the bioethics battle, Gibbs offered students advice as they enter the world of government and law.

“I challenge you with this as you go forward with your studies, some of you into the legal arena, and certainly all of you as Christian men and women as leaders in your own lives: number one, you have to decide to defend life. If you don’t defend life, you have no other liberty.

“Secondly, you must develop a heart for less-than-perfect people. And finally you must make all of your decisions in light of the eternity to come.”

At the closing, Gibbs handed out signed copies of his book, “Fighting for Dear Life: The Untold Story of Terri Shiavo and What It Means for All of Us.”



  • Gibbs’ visit was part of a celebration to launch Liberty’s first pre-law journal. The Liberty University Center for Pre-Law Studies, in conjunction with the Helms School of Government and the Christian Legal Society, announced the inaugural edition of the "Journal for the Christian Pre-Law Society." Liberty is the second university in the nation to publish an undergraduate law review journal, and the first to open its journal to undergraduate students from other universities. The journal will be published on the digital commons and linked to both Liberty University's website and the Christian Legal Society's website. This affords Liberty students the opportunity to have a readership of thousands of practicing, Christian attorneys across the nation, while still working on their undergraduate degrees.

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