by Steven Ertelt
December 29, 2004
Clearwater, FL (LifeNews.com) — Attorneys for Terri Schiavo’s parents will ask a Florida appeals court to rehear their case contending that starving Terri to death would violate her First Amendment religious liberties.
On Wednesday, without any written opinion explaining their decision, the Florida Second District Court of Appeal denied a request for a new trial on the basis that euthanizing Terri would violate her Catholic beliefs.
However, Schindler attorney David Gibbs III said he will ask the appeals court to rehear the case, especially since it did not authorize any trial or oral arguments. Gibbs says the court’s decision not to hold hearings was disappointing.
Meanwhile, George Felos, the euthanasia advocate who is the lead attorney for Terri’s estranged husband Michael, says that nothing prevents Michael from removing Terri’s feeding tube once the Appeals Court’s decision is finalized in mid-January.
"We don’t believe it’s necessary to obtain any further court orders” to remove the feeding tube, Felos told the Tampa Tribune newspaper.
"I would certainly hope this is an indication we are heading toward finality in this case," Felos added.
Because the appeals court did not issue a written opinion, the decision cannot be appealed to the Florida Supreme Court.
That means, the only hope Terri’s parents have of preventing their daughter from being starved to death rests on the appeals court to rehear the case or the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold Terri’s Law, which allowed Florida Governor Jeb Bush to ask doctors to keep the gastric tube in place.
The Schindlers had hoped to convince the appeals court that killing Terri would violate her Catholic beliefs, because the Catholic church is strongly against euthanasia.
They cited recent statements by Pope John Paul II calling the removal of a feeding tube for disabled patients like Terri "euthanasia by omission."
"We believe that the Papal Declaration, issued in March of 2004, is new evidence that as a matter of law should require a new hearing into what Terri’s wishes would be today, given her
devout faith and her current inability to speak for herself," Gibbs explained.
"Although Terri is unable to speak, she is very alert and aware of her environment and interacts regularly with her parents through sounds, facial expressions, laughter, and other nonverbal communication," Gibbs added.
Terri is not in a coma or on artificial respiration nor does she require any other assistance to maintain her life beyond assisted feeding through a tube.
Doctors have confirmed that she has a good chance of improving her condition if she can obtain rehabilitation and proper medical care, which Michael has denied her for years.
Related web sites:
Terri Schiavo’s parents – https://www.terrisfight.org