Skip to Full Menu

Providing information, education, and training to build knowledge, develop skills, and change attitudes that will lead to increased independence, productivity, self determination, integration and inclusion (IPSII) for people with developmental disabilities and their families.

Schiavo Demonstrations Planned Friday Morning
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
July 23, 2003

TAMPA, FLORIDA--Supporters of Terri Schiavo's right to continue living are planning two public demonstrations Friday, in an attempt to get Governor Jeb Bush to head off a judge's ruling that her feeding tube be removed so she will die of starvation and dehydration.

"Your participation is critical in our efforts to save Terri's life and the lives of all people with significant disabilities," Rus Cooper-Dowda wrote in an open letter to people with disabilities and their allies.

The first rally is scheduled for the Hillsborough County Courthouse in Tampa at 8 a.m. When that rally is over, the demonstrators will move to the Pinellas County Courthouse in Clearwater.

"We need your stories and warm bodies," Cooper-Dowda wrote. "Our sister could be starved to death soon. Anyone of us could be next."

Circuit Court Judge George W. Greer could set the date for removing Terri's feeding tube as early as Friday. With court options nearly exhausted, Terri's family members and other supporters are appealing to Bush to intervene and halt the judge's order and launch an investigation into claims that her husband strangled her in February 1990.

Thirteen years ago, Terri had a heart attack and her brain was without oxygen for about 5 minutes. She can breathe on her own, but is given food and water through a feeding tube installed in her stomach. Terri's husband and guardian, Michael, believes Terri is in a "persistent vegetative state" and says she would not want to live in her current condition. He and his doctors have convinced the Florida court system to have the feeding tube removed.

Terri's parents and their doctors say she responds to them, laughs, and follows simple directions. They want Terri to go through rehabilitative therapies. They have said for several years that Michael Schiavo wants his wife to die so he can have several hundred thousand dollars left over from an insurance settlement. They now claim that medical records and other testimony suggest that Michael Schiavo strangled Terri, which led to her heart attack and brain damage.

Entire letter:
"An Open Letter to Terri Schiavo's Brothers and Sisters in the Disabled Community" by Rus Cooper-Dowda

Related resources:
"Terri's Fight" (Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation)
Terri Schiavo's Right To Live" (Inclusion Daily Express)


©2018 The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities
 370 Centennial Office Building  658 Cedar Street   St. Paul, Minnesota 55155 
Phone: 651.296.4018   Toll-free number: 877.348.0505   MN Relay Service: 800.627.3529 OR 711   Fax: 651.297.7200 
Email:   View Privacy Policy   An Equal Opportunity Employer 

The GCDD is funded under the provisions of P.L. 106-402. The federal law also provides funding to the Minnesota Disability Law Center,the state Protection and Advocacy System, and to the Institute on Community Integration, the state University Center for Excellence. The Minnesota network of programs works to increase the IPSII of people with developmental disabilities and families into community life.