Federal Judge Orders Hearing Monday on Terri Schiavo’s Parents’ Lawsuit

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 21, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Federal Judge Orders Hearing Monday on Terri Schiavo’s Parents’ Lawsuit Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
March 21, 2005

Tampa, FL (LifeNews.com) — A federal judge ordered a hearing Monday afternoon on the lawsuit filed by Terri Schiavo’s parents seeking to stop Terri’s painful 7 to 10 day long starvation death. The order comes after President Bush signed legislation authorizing Bob and Mary Schindler’s suit. Terri has been denied food and water since Friday afternoon.

U.S. District Judge James Whittemore announced the hearing, which will take place at 3 p.m. EST.

David Gibbs, an attorney for Terri’s parents, filed the motion just hours after Bush penned his signature on the legislation. He said Judge Whittemore is reviewing the filings now.

The most immediate concern for the Schindlers and Terri’s family is to reconnect her feeding tube and begin providing the disabled woman with food and water. This is the third time her tube has been removed.

Judge Whittemore could issue a stay authorizing Terri to receive food and water while the case progresses.

Terri’s parents have failed to get Florida state courts to side with them in their quest to save Terri’s life. They hope federal courts will take a different look at the case.

If the feeding tube is reconnected, Terri would need to be taken to a local hospital. Gibbs indicated he has instructed staff at Woodside Hospice to prepare for that eventuality.

Bob Schindler told the media on Sunday that he and Mary visited Terri on Sunday morning and that she appeared to be doing well.

In a statement made after signing the bill, Bush said he would "stand on the side of those defending life for all Americans, including those with disabilities."

"In cases like this one, where there are serious questions and substantial doubts, our society, our laws and our courts should have a presumption in favor of life," the president said.

Bush’s signature came after the Senate approved the measure by a unanimous voice vote. House members scrambled back to Washington from their Easter recess and voted for it on a wide 203-58 bipartisan margin.

Almost all Republicans and half of Democrats who arrived back to vote supported the bill.

Whittemore is a judge with the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida based in Tampa, Florida.

The bill authorizes the court to "hear, determine and render judgment on a suit or claim by or on behalf of Theresa Marie Schiavo for the alleged violation of any right … relating to the withholding or withdrawal of food, fluids or medical treatment necessary to sustain her life."

Should Whittemore decide against taking the case or rule against the Schindlers, they would move next to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals based in Atlanta.

Related web sites:
Terri Schiavo’s parents – https://www.terrisfight.org