Disabled California Woman Saved from Government-Sanctioned Starvation

Washington, D.C. (10 September 2008) – Heart attack victim Janet Rivera, who, like Terri Schiavo, was denied food and water for 11 days in July, was saved from the specter of death by starvation September 9 when her brother was named her permanent conservator.

"Praise God, this woman was snatched from such an excruciating death," said Judie Brown, president of American Life League. "Janet was spared the fate of Terri Schiavo, but still we hope this case exposes the threat that hangs over us all – government euthanasia for the sick, elderly and disabled."

The victory marks the final win for the Rivera family who has fought unceasingly for her life since she was placed in the hands of Fresno, California government officials in June. Rivera's public guardian ordered her death by starvation in July and had her feeding tube removed.

Public outcry ensued and Rivera's feeding tube was reinserted.

The 46-year-old woman suffered a heart attack in 2006. According to Judge Debra Kazanjian, Rivera's husband, Jesus Rivera, relinquished custody as he was unable to provide for Rivera's medical care. When doctors indicated Rivera might never recover, the public guardian ordered her feeding tube removed.

Rivera's brother, Michael Dancoff, plans to take his sister back to her San Francisco family where he hopes she will awaken and recover.

"We hope this case will shed light on the other victims of government abuse. Janet's case is not an isolated incident. Sick people all over the country are in serious danger of being denied their basic needs under the guise of compassion," Brown said. "None of us should feel safe while our right to food and water, ordinary care, is viciously trampled on. No one should die by starvation."


American Life League was cofounded in 1979 by Judie Brown. It is the largest grassroots Catholic pro-life organization in the United States and is committed to the protection of all innocent human beings from the moment of creation to death. For more information or media inquiries, please contact Katie Walker at 540.659.4942.