by Steven Ertelt
March 22, 2005
Atlanta, GA (LifeNews.com) — Terri Schaivo’s parents have appealed a Tuesday morning ruling by a federal judge refusing to stop Terri’s painful starvation death. Attorneys for Bob and Mary Schindler have asked the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to issue an immediate injunction allowing Terri’s feeding tube to be reinserted before she dies.
David Gibbs filed a notice of appeal on the injunction just hours after U.S. District Judge James Whittemore issued his ruling. Gibbs told the federal appeals court that a full appeal would follow on the merits of the Schindlers’ lawsuit.
Rex Sparklin, another attorney for Terri’s parents, told the Associated Press the appeal was needed to "save Terri’s life."
The motion will be heard by a three judge panel of the 11th Circuit and there is no word on when they will make a decision.
Judge Whittemore ruled that Terri’s legal interests had already been protected by Florida courts.
"This court concludes that Theresa Schiavo’s life and liberty interests were adequately protected by the extensive process provided in the state courts," the judge wrote.
Despite "these difficult and time-strained circumstances," Whittemore wrote in his decision, "this court is constrained to apply the law to the issues before it."
The Schindlers’ lawsuit states that Florida courts abrogated Terri’s 1st Amendment religious liberties by failing to consider that, as a Catholic, Terri likely would oppose her estranged husband’s bid to euthanize her.
Terri’s parents also contend that Terri’s due process rights were violated because she has never had her own attorney during the eight-year long battle.
White House press secretary Scott McClellan told reporters following the decision that President Bush hopes the Schindlers will be successful at the appellate court level.
"We hope they’ll have relief,” McClellan said. "We would have preferred a different ruling.”
During the hearing on Monday, Whittemore, a Clinton appointee, told David Gibbs, the Schindlers’ attorney, that he didn’t agree with the family’s arguments.
"I think you’d be hardpressed to convince me that you have a substantial likelihood" of winning the case, Whittemore said.
Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition and an organizers of the numerous vigils outside Terri’s hospice, courts and the Florida legislature, decried the timeliness of Whittemore’s ruling.
He worried the delay would make it less likely Terri would survive the current round of court battles.
"If Judge Whittemore had any integrity, he would have released his decision yesterday morning to allow the Schiavo legal team adequate time for the appeal process," he said.
Terri Schiavo’s brother, Bobby Schindler, told CNN Tuesday that Terri is "still alert, but we’re going on four days now, and we’re slowly watching my sister being starved to death."
"It’s a surreal situation when you walk in there, and you realize you’re watching a loved one slowly being starved to death and dehydrated to death," Bobby said. "It’s hard to describe."
Related web sites:
Terri Schiavo’s parents – https://www.terrisfight.org