Florida Attorney General Won’t Intervene in Terri Schiavo Case

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 4, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Florida Attorney General Won’t Intervene in Terri Schiavo Case

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
October 4, 2003

Tallahassee, FL (LifeNews.com) — Charlie Crist, Florida’s Attorney General, said on Friday that he will not intervene the lawsuit Terri Schiavo’s parents have filed against her husband in an attempt to keep him from removing a feeding tube that is providing her with food and water.

In late September, U.S. District Judge Richard Lazzara ordered an additional hearing in the case for October 10. He wanted Crist to testify and represent the state’s interests.

"We do believe the statute is in fact constitutional without giving commentary as to the merit to the Schiavo case itself," said Crist in regard to a Florida law allowing patients to refuse lifesaving medical treatment.

In a federal lawsuit filed last month, the Schindlers argued Florida’s Health Care Advance Directives law is unconstitutional. They accused Michael Schiavo of depriving their daughter of her rights to equal protection and due process under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.

Crist wrote a 19-page memo saying he is not siding with Michael Schiavo in the lawsuit. "The attorney general takes no position on the merits of the action or on what should be done in this tragic case,” the memorandum states.

"I kind of expected he would walk the fence,” Bob Schindler told a Tampa newspaper of Crist’s assertion that he is not taking sides.

Circuit Court Judge George Greer has set a date of October 15 for removal of the gastric tube that is helping keep Terri alive.

Nancy Valko, a leading pro-life nurse who monitors end-of-life issues, says the advance directives law is hurtful to people like Terri Schiavo."

"It is language like this which promotes the legal fiction that incapacitated people
like Terri are really making the decision and that this decision to die by withdrawal of basic treatment or care is a constitutional right," Valko explained.

"Ironically, choosing to live by accepting such care is never described as a constitutional right and thus people like Terri can be terminated even against their previous wishes on the basis of the new medical futility policies," Valko added.

Terri’s parents contend Judge Greer should have recused himself from the case because he has been colluding with Michael and his attorney, euthanasia advocate George Felos.

They are continuing the multiyear battle to keep Terri alive and provide her with the rehabilitative care Michael has never provided. In 1990, Terri Schiavo was 26 years old when she collapsed at home from what doctors believe was a potassium imbalance.

Two years later, a jury awarded Michael Schiavo $1.3 million in a malpractice lawsuit he brought against her doctors. The money was placed in a trust fund to pay for medical treatment and rehabilitation, but she has received no therapy in over 10
years and only minimal nursing care.

Michael is now living with another woman, with whom has had a child. Terri’s family claims he wants Terri to die so he can receive the rest of the trust fund money.

In addition, doctors other than those selected by Michael’s attorney, reviewed Terri’s medical records. "It was found that a heart attack did not cause Terri’s collapse as everyone was led to believe. Rather, according to one physician, Terri may have been a strangulation victim," Pamela Hennessy, a representative of the family, told LifeNews.com.

If true, the allegations demand an investigation, Hennessy said.

Related web sites:
Terri Schiavo’s family – https://www.terrisfight.org
Attorney General’s Memo – https://terrisfight.org/downloads/ag100303.pdf