Michael Schiavo Seeks Immediate Ruling in Terri’s Law Case

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 26, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Michael Schiavo Seeks Immediate Ruling in Terri’s Law Case

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
November 26, 2003

Pinellas Park, FL (LifeNews.com) — Michael Schiavo is asking a judge to render an immediate decision in his challenge of Terri’s Law that allowed Florida Governor Jeb Bush to save Terri Schiavo’s life.

George Felos, the assisted suicide advocate who is Michael’s lawyer, intends to file a motion for summary judgment today. Felos is asking Sixth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Douglas Baird to disregard Governor Bush’s request for a full trial regarding the constitutionality of "Terri’s Law."

The case is currently set to begin in December, but Baird could render a decision immediately if he grants Michael’s motion.

Michael’s lawsuit seeks to remove Terri’s feeding tube for the third time and end her life. Felos, who is getting help from the ACLU in the case, claims Terri’s law is a violation of the separation of powers and Terri’s right to privacy under the state constitution.

"We don’t need to have a trial, we don’t need to have discovery," Felos said.

In a statement provided to LifeNews.com, Pat Anderson, attorney for the Schindler family, said, "There are forces working overtime to see that Terri’s feeding tube is pulled again and they won’t stop until they reach that goal."

"This latest attempt to short circuit the judicial process is proof that they fear new evidence which might save Terri’s life," Anderson added.

Last week, Ken Conner, a pro-life attorney representing Governor Bush, filed a motion asking for a jury trial saying that the facts related to Terri’s Law need to be considered.

Conner says Terri’s true wishes need to be established and the only way to do that is with a series of hearings and a full trial.

Terri left no advanced directive indicating her preference for medical treatment. Michael claimed years after Terri’s collapse that he vaguely remembered Terri saying she didn’t want to be kept alive artificially.

However, a longtime friend of Terri vividly remembers a conversation they had concerning a woman who had been in a coma for six years. Terri’s friend told a crude joke. It upset Terri and she responded by saying, "Where there’s life, there’s hope."

Terri’s family also says she would never have wanted to be killed.

Conner, former president of the Family Research Council and Florida Right to Life, argues that Terri’s Law protects Terri and that the state legislature has a right to be involved in the case that doesn’t violate the power of the courts.

Also last week, Conner asked an appeals court to remove Baird from the case because they say he will be biased against their response to the lawsuit. Baird previously indicated he thought the Terri’s Law violated Terri’s privacy rights and was "presumptively unconstitutional" — which prompted Felos to ask for a decision now.

Baird has refused to step down.

In reporting on Michael’s latest motion on Wednesday, the Associated Press once again incorrectly stated that Terri "has been in a persistent vegetative state since 1990" and did not mention that many doctors disagree with that assessment.

Terri, who collapsed under questionable circumstances, is not in a persistent vegetative state, according to numerous doctors. She is severely disabled and may suffer from a crippling form of cerebral palsy, they say. Although she is currently using a feeding tube to receive nutrition, she is not hooked up to a ventilator and is able to respond to family and doctors.

Related web sites:
Terri’s family – https://www.terrisfight.org