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Appeals Court Shuts Parents Out Of Fight Over 'Terri's Law'
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
July 2, 2004

CLEARWATER, FLORIDA--Terri Schiavo's parents will not be allowed to intervene in a suit over the law that has kept her alive since October, an appeals court ruled Wednesday.

The 2nd District Court of Appeal ruled that Pinellas Circuit Judge W. Douglas Baird was correct when he refused in March to allow Bob and Mary Schindler to join Governor Jeb Bush in the suit Michael Schiavo filed against him.

Last October, Bush championed "Terri's Law" through the Legislature, giving him permission to have Terri's feeding tube reinserted six days after it had been removed under a court order. Mr. Schiavo, who is Terri's husband and guardian, filed the lawsuit against the governor claiming the law violated her right to privacy along with the separation of powers provisions of the state constitution.

The Florida Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the case on August 31.

Pat Anderson, the attorney representing the Schindlers, said her clients would still be able to file briefs in support of the governor.

"It would be a shame to shut them out of the process," she told the Associated Press.

Disability rights advocates have been watching Terri's legal battle for several years. 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 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 with 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 remarry, and so he can benefit from what's left of an insurance settlement that now pays for her treatment. 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. With their urging, and that of right-to-life advocates, Governor Bush championed the measure which allowed the legislature to give him permission to order Terri's feeding tube reinserted on October 22.

"Terri Schiavo's Right To Live" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)
Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation


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