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Terri Schiavo's Feeding Tube Removed |
By Valerie Schmalz | March 18, 2005 | 11:30 pm EST
U.S. House and Senate Republicans promised to work through
the weekend to find a bill that would pass both houses to save the life of Terri
Schiavo. At the same time, a U.S. House committee filed an appeal with the U.S.
Supreme Court, asking that Schiavos feeding tube be re-inserted while it
appeals the Florida judges decision to ignore its subpoenas.
The 41-year-old Florida womans feeding tube was removed at the order of
Pinellas Circuit Court Chief George Greer despite the issuing of subpoenas by
U.S. Congressional committees on March 18th, about 2 p.m.
Terris husband and legal guardianwho is living with another woman
with whom he has two childrenappeared on CNNs "Larry King
Live." Michael Schiavo said he was angry that the "government has just
trampled over my personal life." The Associated Press reported that Michael
Schiavo was at his wifes side shortly after the tube was removed.
Terri Schiavos parents were escorted from her room before the tube was
removed, BlogsforTerri.com reported.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House Speaker Dennis Hastert said in a
statement late Friday, "Were very disappointed by the Florida
courts decision to allow Terri Schiavos feeding tube to be removed.
The House and Senate leadership are committed to reaching agreement on
legislation that provides an opportunity to save Mrs. Schiavos
In addition, the Associated Press reported the House committee that issued the
subpoenas filed an emergency request at the U.S. Supreme Court, asking justices
to reinsert Schiavos feeding tube while the committee appeals in the lower
courts to have its subpoenas recognized.
The Protection of Incapacitated Persons Act of 2005 was passed late Wednesday
night by the House of Representatives but ran into problems in the Senate. The
final bill passed by the Senate said "may" instead of
"shall" move the case to federal court when all legal remedies
are exhausted at the state level, Wisconsin Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner said on the
Sean Hannity radio show. Sensenbrennder said that left room for a federal judge
not to hear the case and that was why the House did not pass the Senate
Both House and Senate are returning to session on Monday, delaying their
Meanwhile, the Florida Catholic Conference sent out a newsletter late Friday,
March 18th, asking all to call and write the Florida Senate and House urging it
to approve one or both of two pieces of legislation stalled in the state
legislature. The state House had passed a bill requiring a presumption of
nutrition and hydration for someone in a persistent vegetative state unless there
had been an advance health care directive or in the case of some other
provisions. The Senate version was postponed without a vote because its sponsors
did not think it would pass.
The order to remove the tube came despite a last minute reprieve offered by
the chief judge in the circuit court who delayed the removal while Greer
considered the case. Congress Friday ordered that subpoenas be served on Terri
Schiavo, her husband Michael, the hospice administrator and two doctors. They are
ordered to appear at hearings on March 25 and March 28.
A U.S. Senate committee sent the subpoenas in a last-ditch effort to block the
removal of Terri's feeding tube. The Congressional subpoenas call all as
witnesses and also require that Terri's feeding and hydration not be suspended
until they can investigate the case. Because Terri is named as a witness,
Republican leaders believed she would be protected by federal law protecting
witnesses, but Greer ruled that the protection did not apply.
In an interview with Reuters after the subpoenas were issued, Michael
Schiavos attorney and right-to-die advocate George Felos stated: "(House
Majority Leader) Tom DeLay and (House Speaker) Dennis Hastert are not members of
the Politburo in Stalinist Russia.
The state does not own Mrs. Schiavo's
body and Congress cannot simply order her to remain alive contrary to her medical
treatment wishes and court order."
The House subpoenas are to appear before the House Government Reform
Committees "inquiry into the long-term care of incapacitated or
non-ambulatory adults. Federal law protects a witness "from anyone who ...
influences, obstructs, or impedes an inquiry or investigation by Congress,"
Senate Majority Leader Frist said. Anyone who violates this law is subject to
criminal fines and imprisonment.
Felos said Congress has no power to enter an injunction. "The only subpoena
Congress can issue is to appear before a congressional body," he said.
In a statement issued by the White House, President George W. Bush said, "In
instances like this one, where there are serious questions and substantial
doubts, our society, our laws, and our courts should have a presumption in favor
Schiavo collapsed fifteen years ago and was judged by the Florida
courtthe same court now deciding her fateto be in a persistent
vegetative state. Her parents dispute that finding and have lined up a series of
neurologists who support their contention. They have been battling to block her
husband from removing Terri's feeding tube for seven years.
This is the third time Terri Schiavos tube has been removed. It was
removed twice before in 2001, and again in 2003 when emergency legislation known
as Terris Law was approved by the Florida legislature and signed by Gov.
Jeb Bush. Terris Law was later overturned by the courts.
A petition for an emergency stay and a petition for Habeas Corpus was also
filed in federal court on Terri Schiavos behalf. If approved, this would do
what the U.S. House legislation would have mandated, require review of her case
in a federal court with her own attorney, rather than her husbands.
Congress Delays Murder of Terri Schiavo |
By Valerie Schmalz. March 18, 2005.
Vatican, Gibson Join Fight for Terri's Life |
Valerie Schmalz. March 15, 2005.
The Vatican Steps In: Cardinal Martino's Statement on
Terri Schiavo | Valerie Schmalz. March 8, 2005.
John Paul II on "Life-Sustaining
Treatments and Vegetative State: Scientific Advances and Ethical Dilemmas"
of Terri Schiavo: When Does Dignity End? | By Fr. Michael Black
Over Terri | Valerie Schmalz
DCF's Schiavo Petition Unsealed | The Tampa Tribune (Friday,
March 4, 2005)
Brother Fights For Sister's Life | by Margaret Zagroba | Vice President,
Princeton Pro-Life. Saturday, March 5, 2005.
Valerie Schmalz is a writer for IgnatiusInsight.
She worked as a reporter and editor for The Associated Press, and in print
and broadcast media for ten years. She holds a BA in Government from University
of San Francisco and a Master of Science from the School of Foreign Service
at Georgetown University. She is the former director of Birthright of San
Francisco. Valerie and her wonderful husband have four children.
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