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Vigil Begins For Terri Schiavo
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 13, 2003

TAMPA, FLORIDA--Supporters of Terri Schiavo's right to continue living began an around-the clock vigil Monday in front of the hospice where she has lived for the last several years. According to media reports, the vigil has been organized primarily by the right-to-life group Operation Rescue.

Unless there is a last-minute intervention by the 2nd District Court of Appeal or Governor Jeb Bush, the feeding tube that provides Terri with food and water will be removed Wednesday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. She is expected to die within 10 to 14 days after that.

An attorney for Terri's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, filed an emergency motion Monday with the appeals court, arguing that Terri deserves therapy to help her to swallow once the feeding tube is removed. The court has refused to overturn past rulings by Circuit Judge George Greer, who originally approved the removal of Terri's feeding tube according to the wishes of her husband and guardian, Michael Schiavo.

Also on Monday, Bob Schindler called on the governor to intervene again on Terri's behalf by ordering the Florida Department of Children and Families to investigate claims that Mr. Schiavo mistreated Terri and has withheld rehabilitative therapies from her, in violation of her rights to treatment.

A spokesman for the governor explained that Bush does not have the authority to overrule the courts. During the last few weeks, Bush wrote a letter to Greer supporting the Schindlers' position in the circuit court, and had his office file an amicus ("friend-of-the-court") brief to support their lawsuit in federal court. Neither of his gestures had any impact on the courts.

Terri collapsed from a heart attack and was without oxygen for several minutes in February 1990 when she was 26 years old. Since then she has been in what some doctors describe as a "persistent vegetative state" from which they believe she cannot recover. Since 1998, Michael Schiavo has said that Terri told him prior to her collapse that she would not want to live "by artificial means".

Terri's parents have fought in the courts to keep their daughter alive, and have produced documents from medical professionals that argue that Terri is alert, responsive and could benefit from rehabilitative therapies, including spoon-feeding. The Schindlers claim that Michael wants Terri to die, in part, so he will be able to take advantage of what is left of a $700,000 insurance settlement and so he can marry another woman.

Disability rights advocates have been closely watching Terri's case for years. Many view her situation as one that people with certain disabilities are at risk at being in at any time. Allowing Terri to starve to death would send to the public the message that people in her situation are better off not being alive.

"Round-the-clock vigil planned for Terri Schiavo" (World Net Daily)
"Terri Schiavo's Right To Live" (Inclusion Daily Express)
Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation


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