Supreme Court Rejects Terri Schiavo’s Parents’ Appeal to Save Daughter

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 24, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Supreme Court Rejects Terri Schiavo’s Parents’ Appeal to Save Daughter Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 24
, 2005

Washington, DC ( — The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected an appeal by Terri Schiavo’s parents to prevent their daughter’s starvation death. The high court released a one-page decision that marked the end of a week of action in federal courts after Terri’s feeding tube was removed Friday afternoon.

The ruling leaves Bob and Mary Schindler with few legal options left to prevent Terri’s death and her condition is growing rapidly worse.

"She has to start getting hydration. Because if she doesn’t, she’s not going to be with us much longer," Bob Schindler told the Fox News Channel on Wednesday night outside Woodside Hospice where his daughter lives.

Yesterday, the Schindlers filed a new complaint in Florida state court in an attempt to stop Terri’s death and raised new issues — including invoking the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Justices did not explain their decision, though they have declined on previous occasions to hold hearings on the case.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, who handles incoming appeals from the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, referred the case to the full court and the nine members held a vote on whether to hear the case or grant the injunction the Schindlers requested. There was no word on the vote count.

In their brief, the lead lawyer for the Schindlers, David Gibbs, said Terri’s death was ordered without proof of her consent and that it violates her religious liberties and due process rights.

"It has taken our nation many years to make good on its commitment to equal justice for persons with profound, cognitive disabilities," the request reads. "Unless the state of Florida retains the power to protect the rights of its most vulnerable citizens … the 14th Amendment’s guarantees will apply only those who are capable of defending them on their own."

The 40-page legal brief also says Congress wanted Terri to be given food and water while the Schindlers take their case to federal court. A federal district court judge and the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled otherwise.

Those decisions prompted the need to head to the Supreme Court.

Congressional Republicans filed an amicus brief siding with Terri’s parents and explaining their rationale behind passing legislation allowing Terri’s parents to take their case to federal courts.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee and Republican Sens. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Mel Martinez of Florida joined in the brief.

The Supreme Court has previously ruled that there is no right to assisted suicide but that state’s may pursue their own laws on the matter.

Related news stories:
Neurologists: Terri Schiavo Not in Persistent Vegetative State

Terri Schiavo’s Hospice Nurses Want Her to Die, Dissenter Fired

ABC News Poll on Terri Schiavo Case Uses Inaccurate Question

Terri Schiavo Tried to Tell Parents’ Attorney She Wanted to Live

Related web sites:
Terri Schiavo’s parents –