Terri Schiavo’s Parents File Appeal to Intervene in Terri’s Law Suit

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 5, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Terri Schiavo’s Parents File Appeal to Intervene in Terri’s Law Suit

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
December 5, 2003

Lakeland, FL (LifeNews.com) — Bob and Mary Schindler, the parents of Terri Schiavo, filed their appeal today in an attempt to be named as a party in the lawsuit Terri’s estranged husband Michael filed against Terri’s Law. Last month, County Circuit Court Judge Douglas Baird denied them standing in court and on Friday the Schindlers appealed that decision.

The American Center for Law and Justice, a pro-life law firm, filed the appeal at the 2nd District Court of Appeal on behalf of Terri’s parents.

"We are asking the appeals court to permit Terri’s parents to take a direct and active role in defending the state law that is the only thing keeping their daughter alive," said Jay Sekulow, the ACLJ’s chief counsel.

Sekulow said the Schindlers have a right to be involved in the case because it directly affects the life and death of their daughter. Should Michael succeed in declaring Terri’s Law unconstitutional, it could result in Terri’s death.

After Judge Baird prevented the Schindlers from joining the case, the ACLJ filed an amicus brief on their behalf. However, by being a party to the lawsuit, the Schindlers have greater latitude to help Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL) defend the law in court.

The ACLJ brief argues that Terri’s Law is not a violation of the separation of powers and is constitutional under both the Florida and U.S. constitutions.

Terri’s Law is the legislation passed by the Florida state legislature that allowed Governor Bush to save Terri’s life by asking doctors to reinsert a feeding tube Michael had obtained court approval to remove.

Michael’s lawsuit argues Terri’s Law violates Terri’s right to privacy in addition to the separations of powers clause.

George Felos, Michael’s attorney, said the appeal was yet another attempt by either the Schindlers or Governor Bush to delay the case. He said the Schindlers have no place in the debate, which he says is between Bush and Michael alone.

Felos, an assisted suicide advocate, has the support of the ACLU in the lawsuit.

The Schindlers’ appeal says the law "does create a right or benefit for the Schindlers: it provides the sole legal barrier between their daughter and her death by starvation and dehydration. Thus, the challenged law — and the stay the Governor issued pursuant thereto — provide the decisive protection of the Schindlers’ interests in saving their daughter and pursuing guardianship of her. To argue that the Schindlers have no sufficient interest in the case or possess no right or benefit at issue in this case completely ignores the facts."

The appeal also argues that "not permitting them to intervene will, at a minimum, deprive the Schindlers of their input regarding issues affecting the life of their child, and, at a maximum, may violate their constitutional rights to be heard."

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