by Steven Ertelt
August 19, 2004
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A new poll finds that a majority of those who take a stand on whether Terri Schiavo should live or die feel she should continue to be provided with food and water. Only a minority side with her estranged husband Michael that her life should be ended.
The survey, conducted by Wilson Research Strategies August 13-15, shows 46 percent of respondents say Terri should continue to be provided food and water through a gastric tube that is helping the disabled woman stay alive.
Only 32 say the feeding tube should be removed. Doing so would cause Terri to die over the course of a week or two from a painful starvation death.
The Terri Schiavo case has been inordinately complex — with numerous and different legal battles, doctors at odds with each other in describing Terri’s condition, and family members each saying they have Terri’s best wishes at heart.
Observers say it’s not surprising that twenty-two percent of those polled said they did not know whether the feeding tube should stay or go.
"If the people who were polled knew the entire truth about Terri’s potential to recover and the fact that she has been denied any rehabilitation to assist her for over ten years, the percentage favoring continuation of Terri’s feeding and hydration would be overwhelming," Terri’s father Bob Schindler told LifeNews.com.
Pat Anderson, an attorney for Terri’s parents Bob and Mary Schindler, told LifeNews.com that this was one of the first polls to accurately describe Terri’s condition, Michael’s actions, and gauge Americans’ response to it.
"Finally, a poll has been taken that includes the facts of Michael Schiavo’s conflict of interest," Anderson said.
"Most people have the common sense to see that a man who has abandoned his wife for another woman and his out-of-wedlock children should not have any say-so on whether his wife lives or dies," Anderson told LifeNews.com.
Those polled were asked the following question:
"Terri Schiavo is a disabled woman in Florida who currently receives food and water through a feeding tube. Her husband, who lives with another woman and with whom he has two children, says she would prefer to die. Her parents, sister and brother say that she would prefer to live and should be given therapy to live without her feeding tube. Do you feel that Terri should continue to be fed or should her feeding tube be removed causing her death? "
Terri’s family and pro-life organizations say previous media-sponsored polls have had biased wording, often inaccurately saying Terri is in a vegetative state or on life support.
Megan Dillon, director of Media Relations for the National Right to Life Committee, says this new poll shows more accurate results.
"Clearly, more Americans agree with the family of Terri Schindler-Schiavo, the Florida legislature, and the Governor of Florida that Terri has a right to life and should not be starved and dehydrated," Dillon said.
The Wilson Research Strategies survey contacted 1,000 adults nationwide and has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent.