Attorney for Terri Schiavo’s Parents Says Recent Poll Was Biased

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 8, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Attorney for Terri Schiavo’s Parents Says Recent Poll Was Biased

by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 8, 2003

Pinellas Park, FL ( — An attorney representing Terri Schiavo’s parents Bob and Mary Schindler, says a recent poll commissioned by two Florida newspapers was biased. The poll said an overwhelming majority of Florida residents disagreed with the law that allowed Governor Jeb Bush to ask doctors to reinstate Terri’s feeding tube.

Conducted by The Miami Herald and St. Petersburg Times newspapers, the poll showed that 65 percent of Flordians said they opposed Terri’s Law while 23 percent favored it. Some 12 percent were undecided or didn’t answer.

"Any first-year political science student knows that poll results are only as good as the bias of the questioner," Pat Anderson, the Schindlers’ attorney, wrote in a letter to the editor Monday to the Times

Respondents were asked: "As you may be aware, Governor Jeb Bush and the Florida legislature recently passed a law enabling the governor to order that Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube be reinserted, after a judge concluded she was in a persistent vegetative state and ordered the feeding tube to be removed. Do you agree or disagree with this decision by the governor and the legislature?"

However, Terri’s supporters say the poll results are likely skewed in opposition to the law because the question describes Terri as being in a persistent vegetative state.

Numerous doctors have testified that she is not and they say Terri, provided with proper medical care and aggressive rehabilitation, could recover.

"The fact is that unless Florida law is changed to honor only written advance directives, we will all see other cases like Terri Schiavo,  in which a spouse, now living with another woman with whom he has had two children, suddenly and conveniently remembers years after the fact the disabled spouse’s wishes in the matter," Anderson explained in the letter.

"If we, as a society, are prepared to accept these remembered wishes as a cover for getting rid of seriously disabled persons, where is that line going to be drawn," Anderson adds. "Who’s next? Children with cerebral palsy? Alzheimer’s patients? People who wear contact lenses? Are the lives of the disabled less valuable?"

Related web sites:
Terri Schiavo’s family –