Senate Will Take Up Terri Schiavo Bill, President Bush Would Sign It

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 17, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Will Take Up Terri Schiavo Bill, President Bush Would Sign It Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 17, 2005

Washington, DC ( — Now that the House of Representatives has weighed into the Terri Schiavo debate by passing legislation allowing her parents to take their case to prevent her starvation death to federal courts, the onus is on the Senate to act.

In a Thursday speech, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist urged his colleagues to support the House-approved bill.

"The question is, should we allow her to be starved to death?" Frist said. "It has to do with the culture of life. And I believe this body is going to have to speak on this particular matter before we leave."

Frist indicated the Senate would take up the measure before it begins its Easter break on Friday.

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid previously said he did not want to have a Senate vote on the bill unless it first went through a Senate committee. However, he told the Associated Press on Thursday that he was willing to work with Republican leaders to resolve any issues Democrats have with the bill.

The legislation would remove cases like Schiavo’s from state courts and allow parents or anyone else with a close relationship to a disabled patient to get a federal court hearing if a feeding tube’s removal is pending.

It would only affect patients who did not leave an advance directive detailing preferred medical treatment and for whom a state judge had already authorizing withdrawing food and water.

Meanwhile, White House press secretary Scott McClellan told AP that the case raises "a lot of complex issues" but he indicated that President Bush "stands on the side of defending life."

In October 2003, President Bush told reporters he agreed with a decision by his brother, Florida Governor Jeb Bush, to ask doctors to reinsert the feeding tube that allows Terri to live.

Both Michael Schiavo and Terri’s brother Bobby Schindler have been in Washington this week to lobby on the legislation.

ACTION: Contact any Representative or any Senator and urge them to support any legislation to save Terri Schiavo’s life. You can also reach any member of Congress by calling 202-224-3121.

Related web sites:
Terri Schiavo’s parents –