Congress Turns Terri Schiavo Subpoenas Into Disability Rights Hearing

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 28, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Congress Turns Terri Schiavo Subpoenas Into Disability Rights Hearing Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 28
, 2005

Washington, DC ( — Members of Congress issued subpoenas for Terri Schiavo, her estranged husband and hospice administrators in an attempt to stop her painful starvation death. The effort failed and now Congress is turning them into a hearing on the rights of disabled patients.

The Senate Health Committee plans to hold hearings in April 6 with neurologists and experts on palliative care on the issue of health care for disabled patients similar to Terri.

David Martin, a spokesman for Rep. Tom Davis, a Virginia Republican, told the Associated Press that the House Government Reform Committee also plans to hold hearings on the issues raised by the Terri Schaivo case, such as long-term care options for the disabled.

A hearing had originally been scheduled for Monday on the Terri subpoenas.

In addition to the hearings, Senator Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat, plans to introduce legislation calling for federal court reviews of cases like Terri’s in which the end-of-life wishes of an incapacitated patient are not known and there is a dispute among family members.

According to the Associated Press report, Harkin wants the bill to be limited in scope and he’s working with legal experts and members of the disability community on crafting the language.

The bill could end up similar to one approved by the House before Terri’s feeding tube was removed.

While the Senate-passed version, ultimately signed by President George W. Bush, focused only on Terri’s case, the House version applied to all disabled individuals in similar situations.

Some senators opposed that broader approach, though such a bill may find majority support as long as opponents don’t stage a filibuster.

Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Senator Mel Martinez, a Florida Republican who sponsored the Senate bill to save Terri, may both work with Harkin on the bill. Both lawmakers are pro-life.

Last year, the National Right to Life Committee put forward a similar proposal.

Related news stories:

If Terri Schiavo Dies, Cremation Would Cover Up Possible Abuse

Terri Schiavo’s Parents’ Last Motion on Terri Saying "I Want to Live"

Terri Schiavo Case Reveals How We Treated Disabled Americans

Neurologists: Terri Schiavo Not in Persistent Vegetative State

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

Related web sites:
Terri Schiavo’s parents –