Congress Could Save Terri Schiavo’s Life, Pro-Life Group Says

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 3, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Congress Could Save Terri Schiavo’s Life, Pro-Life Group Says Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 3, 2005

Washington, DC ( — A spokesman for the National Right to Life Committee on Thursday said Congress may be able to help save Terri Schiavo’s life by passing legislation authorizing her family to take their case through the federal court system.

“Congress can act to ensure a federal court hearing on whether or not Terri will die of starvation and dehydration,” said Lori Kehoe, who monitors Congressional issues for the group’s medical ethics division.

“A proceeding known as the ‘writ of habeas corpus,’ which is protected by the U.S. Constitution, has been used for centuries to give a hearing to those whose liberty has been constrained by state courts in violation of the Constitution or federal laws," Kehoe explained.

To facilitate that, Florida Rep. Dave Weldon, a Republican, plans to introduce the Incapacitated Person’s Legal Protection Act on Tuesday.

The legal battles fought by Terri’s parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, have been been exclusively in state court, except when the case has twice reached the Supreme Court.

Normally, anyone can use a writ of habeas corpus, but NRLC says Congress needs to act in this instance because "is unclear that the current statutes and precedents give [Terri] a right to it."

"Since the Constitution went into effect, Congress has frequently expanded, contracted, and modified both who has a right to habeas corpus and the standards for habeas corpus review," the pro-life organization said in a statement. "It has the clear constitutional authority to amend the law to make provision for cases like Terri’s."

Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas supports the concept and might sponsor a Senate version of the legislation or help get the Senate to pass the Weldon bill.

“It is disheartening and devastating for those who respect the sanctity of life that a court could rule that Terri Schiavo’s food and water be cut off,” Brownback stated

"As a society, we must protect and show compassion for those who need it most, and Terri needs our help," Brownback said.

Related web sites:
National Right to Life –