Saturday, March 26, 2005

Marc Piscotty © News

Leslie Hanks, 54, the vice president of Colorado Right to Life, began a hunger strike Thursday in opposition to the removal of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube. Although she doesn't plan to do serious harm to herself, Hanks says she'll "protest that her (Schiavo's) country's murdering her."

Hunger strike gets under way

Colorado Right to Life official joins Schiavo's 'pain and sorrow'

By Jean Torkelson, Rocky Mountain News
March 25, 2005

The vice president of the Colorado Right to Life organization began a hunger strike Thursday to protest the removal of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube.

Leslie Hanks plans not to eat until the tube is reinserted - or until Schiavo dies.

"I feel so desperate I don't know what else to do," said Hanks, 54. "Hundreds of people around the country are going on hunger strikes. To think this madness is taking place during Holy Week - the holiest week of the Christian year.

"The least I can do is join (Schiavo) in her pain and sorrow and to protest that her country's murdering her."

A national hunger-strike movement is under way, and details of how to participate are being spread through e-mails to concerned Catholics, said -Mimi Eckstein, head of the Respect Life office of the Denver Archdiocese.

"We're just trying to keep everybody informed in prayer," Eckstein said.

Hanks' 35-year-old organization is an independent nonprofit organization not connected to any church.

Hanks said she planned to fly to Florida Thursday on her fourth trip to join protesters outside Schiavo's hospice. She said frustration is mounting, and some protesters think that Schiavo's father "should just go in there and carry her out. If it was my kid, I sure would be inspired to do that."

Hanks said she doesn't know how long she can subsist on water and herbal tea and, in any case, doesn't plan to carry her strike to such extremes that she does serious harm to herself.

"I just want to do something, and I feel there's so little time left for Terri," she said. "We couldn't do this to a dog without going to jail."

Hanks has been active in Colorado politics and ran for lieutenant governor and for Congress in the 1990s on the Constitution Party ticket.