Terri Schiavo’s Parents, Pro-Life Groups Respond to Judge’s Decision

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 7, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Terri Schiavo’s Parents, Pro-Life Groups Respond to Judge’s Decision

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
May 7, 2004

Clearwater, FL (LifeNews.com) — The parents of Terri Schiavo, and pro-life organizations that have been closely monitoring the years-long legal battle they have waged to save Terri’s life, are deeply disappointed by a local judge’s ruling striking down a law that allowed Terri’s feeding tube to remain in place.

On Thursday, Circuit Court Judge Douglas Baird struck down Terri’s Law, the measure approved by the Florida state legislature that authorized Governor Jeb Bush to ask doctors to reinsert the feeding tube that provided Terri with food and water.

"These Pinellas County judges have displayed an utterly cavalier attitude and a complete disregard for the rule of law," Terri’s father Robert Schindler said in reaction to Baird’s decision.

"They are aiding and abetting Michael Schiavo in his continuing crimes against Terri and this current order is nothing more than an unjust killing of a young woman who has demonstrated time and again that she very much wants to live."

The American Center for Law and Justice, a pro-life law firm which has been helping Terri’s parents in the legal battle, also expressed its disappointment and disagreed with Judge Baird that the law violated the separation of powers doctrine.

Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ, said, "The legislature and Governor acted appropriately and constitutionally in passing and implementing ‘Terri’s Law.’"

Sekulow said his group supports Governor Bush’s decision to appeal Judge Baird’s ruling.

"We applaud the Governor for taking quick action to keep ‘Terri’s Law’ in place through the appeals process. We strongly support the Governor’s position in this case and are now examining all legal avenues to ensure that the interests and concerns of Terri’s parents are represented in this appeals process."

Baird twice rejected efforts by the ACLJ to allow Terri’s parents to intervene and assist Governor Bush in defending Terri’s Law.

The first time, the Second District Court of Appeal said Baird failed to follow proper judicial rules in denying the motion to intervene. The appeals court has yet to rule on the appeal of the second denial.

Another pro-life legal group, the Life Legal Defense Foundation, has provided funding for legal assistance for Terri’s parents.

Dana Cody, an attorney and the group’s director, says she believes Terri would want to receive the medical care that her estranged husband Michael has denied her for over a decade.

"The right to make medical decisions includes the right to receive treatment, especially in light of Terri’s religious beliefs," Cody said.

In finding the law unconstitutional, Judge Baird claimed the law violates Terri’s right to privacy and the separation of powers by giving the governor legislative authority.

Those are the same arguments that were made by George Felos, the assisted suicide advocate who is the lead attorney for Terri’s estranged husband Michael.

By appealing Baird’s decision, Bush ensures that the feeding tube remains in place while the appeal is being considered.

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