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Appeals Court Gives 30-Day Stay In Schiavo Case;
Demonstrators Find Tampa Courthouse Inaccessible To Many

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
July 28, 2003

TAMPA, FLORIDA--Florida's 2nd District Court of Appeal on Friday gave Terri Schiavo's parents 30 days to appeal to the Florida Supreme Court to save their daughter's life.

Just one week earlier, the appellate court had decided to send the case to Circuit Judge George Greer, who last year ruled that Terri's feeding tube should be removed so she will starve to death. Friday's decision keeps the case out of Greer's courtroom for a month.

Now the attorneys for Terri's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, will have to convince the Florida Supreme Court to take up the case. The high court declined to review the case in April 2001.

Friday's ruling came after the Schindlers led a demonstration in front of the appellate court building in downtown Tampa. There is no indication as to whether or not the appellate court's ruling had anything to do with the protest.

Terri was 26 in 1990 when she collapsed and was without oxygen for several minutes. Since then, she has been breathing on her own, but is given food and water through a feeding tube installed in her stomach. Some doctors say she has been in a "persistent vegetative state".

Her husband and guardian, Michael Schiavo, has convinced the courts that Terri would not have wanted to live in her current condition.

Her parents disagree. They say Terri needs therapies that could be purchased with what is left over of an insurance settlement.

Over the weekend, the family posted audio clips on the "Terri's Fight" Website, which they claim prove Terri is responsive and even vocalizes.

Last week they said they want the state to look into allegations that Terri's loss of oxygen may have been caused by strangulation -- presumably by her husband.

Disability rights advocates are watching the case closely. Many are concerned that Terri's death would send a message that the lives of people with significant disabilities are not worth living or worth keeping alive.

On a related story, disability rights activist Rus Cooper-Dowda was on hand for Friday's protests. She wrote that the struggle for the rights of Floridians with disabilities is further hampered by the fact that the Tampa Courthouse itself is not accessible for many citizens.

"Every time I go to that courthouse on Terri's behalf I get slammed with the fact that I (as another person with disabilities) don't really count either in Florida," Cooper-Dowda wrote.

Related resources:
"Audio Evidence" (Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation)
"Terri Schiavo's Right To Live" (Inclusion Daily Express)
"Terri Schiavo's Florida: Disability Hospitality" by Rus Cooper-Dowda (Inclusion Daily Express)


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