Direct-mail firm using Schindlers' donor list
From John Mercurio and Molly Levinson
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Thousands of people who helped Terri Schiavo's parents finance their protracted legal battle could soon start receiving solicitations from groups who purchase their contact information from a conservative direct-mailing firm.
Each of the donors responded to an e-mail sent in February by Schiavo's father, Bob Schindler, on behalf of his daughter, according to the Web site of the firm Response Unlimited.
According to The New York Times, a spokesman for Schiavo's parents confirmed that Bob Schindler had agreed to allow Response Unlimited to rent out the list as part of a deal for the firm to send an e-mail soliciting funds for the legal fight to keep his daughter alive.
The site is asking $150 a month for 6,000 names and $500 a month for 4,000 e-mail addresses of the donors.
"These compassionate pro-lifers donated toward Bob Schindler's legal battle to keep Terri's estranged husband from removing the feeding tube from Terri," the Web site reads.
"These individuals are passionate about the way they value human life, adamantly oppose euthanasia, and are pro-life in every sense of the word!"
The Web site features nearly 2,150 lists targeted toward hundreds of conservative interest groups.
Pamela Hennessy, a spokeswoman for the Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation, said she doubted that Schindler knew the names would be offered for sale.
"I don't honestly believe that Mr. Schindler would have understood those to be the terms -- the sale of the names," she said.
"I've got more than 8,000 people on my lists here, not including the 190,000 people who signed the petition to [Florida Gov.] Jeb Bush years ago. Never at any time did Mr. Schindler ask me to sell those names. I don't believe he fully understood the terms of this deal."
Hennessy said it was "never [Schindler's] intent to accept money -- I don't believe that at all. These carpetbaggers are coming in at the eleventh hour and taking advantage of this girl and it makes me sick. These people are only present when the camera is out."
But the Times quotes Gary McCullough, a spokesman for the Schindlers, as saying he was present when Bob Schindler agreed to the arrangement in a conversation with the co-founder of RightMarch.com, a conservative online marketing organization, who acted as a broker for Response Unlimited.
"So the Schindlers do know the details," the Times quotes McCullough as saying, but how much attention they paid to the matter is hard to assess.
"The Schindlers right now know that their daughter is starving to death, and if I ask about anything else, they say, 'I don't want to hear about it.' "
Ron Panzer, president and founder of the Hospice Patients' Alliance, who has coordinated some of the small-dollar fund-raising for the Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation, said he's not offended by the creation of the marketing list.
"We get donations of $5, $10, $20 -- every little bit helps. We're dealing with small amounts from people in the public who want to help," he said.
"Most people who donated to efforts to save Terri's life would not be offended if they were contacted by a group trying to save others like Terri," Panzer said.
"I believe Mr. Schindler is desperate and loves his daughter. He loves his daughter -- I know him. Out of his love he's trying to help her and others like her."