House Will Subpoena Terri Schiavo Docs to Prevent Her Starvation

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 18, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

House Will Subpoena Terri Schiavo Docs to Prevent Her Starvation Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 18, 2005

Washington, DC ( — In the latest twist of the Terri Schiavo saga, members of a U.S. House committee on Friday will issue subpoenas to the doctors and hospice administrators who would be responsible for removing Terri’s feeding tube on Friday.

The move comes after the House and Senate failed Thursday to agree on a a legislative approach to prevent the 7 to 10 day long starvation death from commencing.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert, Majority Leader Tom DeLay, and Government Reform Committee Chairman Tom Davis issued a joint statement late Thursday describing the plan of action.

"We will issue a subpoena which will require hospice administrators and attending physicians to preserve nutrition and hydration for Terri Schiavo to allow Congress to fully understand the procedures and practices that are currently keeping her alive," the House leaders said.

The House leaders indicated the Senate would join in the investigation as well.

"We’ve been going nonstop on this all day long," Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist told the Associated Press before the House announcement, issued after midnight. "Letters are being written and sent out. We’re not giving up and we’re not going to give up."

"We feel that we’re on comfortable ground given the federal government’s interest in long-term care," Hastert spokesman Ron Bonjean told AP.

Meanwhile, Senator Mike Enzi, a Wisconsin Republican who is chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pension committee, will issue a subpoena for Terri Schiavo herself.

That would trigger legal protections for Terri as federal statutes indicate that it is illegal to harm or kill an individual who has been subpoenaed by Congress.

Members of Congress have also asked a U.S. Attorney in Washington for a temporary restraining order to be issued by a judge Friday preventing Terri’s starvation.

Pro-life groups issued a call Thursday night to ask Congressional lawmakers to do everything possible to save Terri. House leaders said this latest effort shows they are not surrendering.

"This inquiry should give hope to Terri, her parents and friends, and the millions of people throughout the world who are praying for her safety," the statement said. "This fight is not over."

On Thursday, the House approved a broad measure helping Terri and other disabled people and the Senate passed a bill protecting just Terri, but only after House members adjourned for Easter break. That prevented House members from agreeing to the Senate bill unless they come back to Washington next week.

Terri’s brother Bobby Schindler has been on Capitol Hill lobbying members of Congress to pass any legislation to help her.

"She has an incredible will to live," he told reporters. "She hasn’t given up on us these past 15 years. We’re going to do everything we can to try to provide her the help she deserves and get her home and be with her family."

Senator Rick Santorum told Knight-Ridder newspapers that Congressional leaders were staying in town well into the night to come up with a game plan to save Terri’s life.

"We’re going to be here very late tonight. We may very well be here tomorrow," Santorum indicated.

ACTION: Contact any Representative or any Senator. You can also reach any member of Congress by calling 202-224-3121.

Related web sites:
Terri Schiavo’s parents –