Disabled Groups Come to Terri Schiavo’s Defense Before Court Hearing

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 30, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Disabled Groups Come to Terri Schiavo’s Defense Before Court Hearing Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
August 30, 2004

Tallahassee, FL (LifeNews.com) — The Florida Supreme Court is one day away from hearing oral arguments in the case concerning Terri’s Law, the measure that allowed Florida Governor Jeb Bush to ask doctors to allow Terri to continue receiving food and water.

Though Terri’s estranged husband hopes to overturn the law and end her life, disability groups are launching legal and publicity efforts to defend the law.

Some disability rights groups have filed an amicus brief, siding with Governor Jeb Bush’s attorneys who say that Terri would not want to be killed. Others spoke out Monday in defense of the law and Terri’s right to live.

Rebecca Ramage-Tuttle, speaking for the National Spinal Cord Injury Association, told the Associated Press that the fight to allow Terri to live, "is basically the struggle for all of our lives."

Meanwhile, Diane Coleman, of Not Dead Yet, told a press conference that there is a "growing threat of legalized euthanasia against disabled people, old and young, especially the intellectually disabled."

Coleman said it was concerning that courts would arbitrarily decide that a patient should die and added that euthanasia advocates are making it easier to end patients’ lives.

"They want to misuse the right of privacy to supplant the right of due process so they can kill behind the closed doors of a hospital room or a nursing home room," Coleman said.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition in Canada agrees and issued a statement saying that if the Florida Supreme Court agrees to have Terri "dehydrated and starved to death they in fact will be agreeing to allowing euthanasia by dehydration and starvation (omission) and will have opened wide the door" to allow euthanasia in Florida and across the United States.

Meanwhile, Terri’s brother Bobby Schindler, Jr., told the press conference that his sister is alive and not in a persistent vegetative state.

"I know she sees and hears us,” he told reporters. "I see her response. It is not wishful thinking. Terri isn’t brain-dead. She’s disabled.”

But an attorney for Michael Schiavo, Terri’s husband who is now living with another woman and has two children with her, says the Florida high court won’t be hearing any new information.

"All these issues have been raised by Terri’s parents throughout the litigation and they’ve been rejected by the courts,” George Felos said.