Terri Schiavo's Parents Still Banned From Visits
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
May 18, 2004
CLEARWATER, FLORIDA--Terri Schiavo's parents are going to court to challenge a visitation ban imposed by their son-in-law.
Bob and Mary Schindler told the Associated Press that they were turned away from the nursing home where Terri now lives when they went to visit Friday.
Michael Schiavo, who is also Terri's guardian, prohibited his in-laws from seeing Terri on March 29 after unidentified puncture marks were found on her arms. Mr. Schiavo said he suspected the Schindlers of trying to inject Terri with something.
Last week, police said no crime had been committed, and that toxicology tests found no foreign substances in Terri's system. Investigators said the puncture marks were likely caused by the lift used to transfer Terri in and out of her bed.
"It's mean and it's cruel," Bob Schindler said Monday. "It's just something else to harass us."
Michael Schiavo's attorney George Felos said Terri's family can visit -- as long as they pay for extra security to accompany them. Felos said the March incident "raises questions and suspicions" to warrant the restrictive policy.
Terri, 40, breathes on her own, but is given food and water through a tube installed through the wall of her stomach. Her husband and several doctors claim that she has been in a "persistent vegetative state" since she collapsed and her brain was without oxygen for several minutes in February 1990. The courts have consistently supported Mr. Schiavo's claims that Terri cannot recover from her brain injury, that she does not feel pain, and that she would not have wanted to live "by artificial means".
Terri's parents believe that she is alert and responsive and that she could improve through therapies which Mr. Schiavo has denied her for at least the past 10 years. They have claimed that Terri's husband wants her to die so that he can marry a woman with whom he has fathered two children. The Schindlers want him removed as Terri's guardian and have pushed for an investigation into their allegations that he has abused, neglected and financially exploited her. They also suspect that Michael may have caused Terri's initial collapse.
The Schindlers and advocates have defended Terri's right to live, noting that allowing her to die by starvation would reinforce the message that the lives of people with certain disabilities are not worth living. Under pressure from disability rights and right-to-life advocates, Governor Bush championed "Terri's Law" rapidly through the Legislature, giving him permission to order Terri's feeding tube reinserted six days after it had been removed on October 16, 2003.
The Pinellas Circuit Court last week upheld Mr. Schiavo's challenge to the law, which claimed it violated Terri's right to privacy and the Florida Constitution's separation of powers provisions. On Wednesday, the Florida 2nd District Court of Appeal asked that Bush's appeal be moved quickly to the state Supreme Court.
"Terri Schiavo's Right To Live" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)
Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation