Terri Schiavo’s Estranged Husband Files Papers in Terri’s Law Case

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 26, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Terri Schiavo’s Estranged Husband Files Papers in Terri’s Law Case

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
July 26, 2004

Tallahassee, FL (LifeNews.com) — Lawyers for Terri Schiavo’s estranged husband Michael have filed papers on his behalf in his effort to overturn Terri’s Law, the measure that allowed Florida Governor Jeb Bush to ask doctors to prevent Terri from being starved to death.

George Felos, the euthanasia advocate who is Michael’s attorney, wrote in the brief to the Florida Supreme Court that Terri "has been stripped of her most intimate rights."

Felos claims Terri would have wanted to die and says Bush, by allowing her to live, violated the separation of powers clause since Florida courts had already ruled Terri should die.

Felos says Bush is "force-feeding Terri against her will."

But Pat Anderson, the attorney for Terri’s parents, tells LifeNews.com that the legal brief is filled with "loaded language" and calls the force-feeding claims "dramatic, misleading and inflammatory."

Anderson says Michael’s brief is designed "to inflame and mislead the public’s imagination, while simultaneously refusing to acknowledge two pink elephants in the room: first, he has a huge conflict of interest, what with his girlfriend and their children, and second, Terri wants to live."

On August 31, the state’s high court will hear oral arguments.

Whether Terri would want to live or die is a central question in the case.

"A hundred juries could determine Mrs. Schiavo’s wishes, yet in every instance the governor is free to ignore those wishes," Felos wrote in Monday’s brief.

However, Anderson told LifeNews.com that Felos "cannot point to a single piece of evidence or testimony that Terri ever said she would not want any therapy and wanted to be dehydrated and starved to death if she became incapacitated."

Meanwhile, attorneys for Governor Bush say they were denied the opportunity in lower courts to prove that Terri would have wanted to remain alive and receive both lifesaving medical treatment as well as rehabilitative care to improve her condition.

"Terri’s current wishes are not known and Michael Schiavo has a clear conflict of interest in respect to Terri’s future," Bush’s office said Monday.

A good friend of Terri’s remembers a conversation she had with Terri as they watched a documentary about a disabled person and the decision concerning medical care.

"Where there is life, there is hope," Terri told her friend.

However, Michael, who is living with another woman and already has two children with her, claims Terri would have preferred not to receive appropriate medical care or rehabilitative treatment she was entitled to after a medical malpractice award.

Michael received $700,000 from a medical malpractice judgment that was supposed to provide for Terri’s medical care and rehab. However, he’s spent almost all of it on legal bills.

Bush attorney Ken Conner, former president of the Family Research Council, said he wonders why Michael never brought up his claim that Terri would want to die during the malpractice trial.

Prevented from becoming a party in the lawsuit seeking to overturn Terri’s Law, the parents of Terri Schiavo filed a friend-of-the-court brief earlier this month in the case.

"A central issue in this case is whether Terri Schiavo would choose, with full knowledge of the current circumstances, to refuse necessary food and fluids by tube," the amicus brief says.

"Regardless of what Terri might supposedly have chosen years ago, she retains the right under Florida law to change her mind. What Terri ‘would have’ done today is a question of fact that cannot be resolved on the pleadings," the brief adds.

A local judge prohibited Bob and Mary Schindler, Terri’s parents, from joining the case. He claimed the law wouldn’t affect them, despite their relationship with their daughter.

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