Terri Schiavo Family Renews Call to Protect Disabled People, Americans Agree

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 15, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Terri Schiavo Family Renews Call to Protect Disabled People, Americans Agree

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
February 15, 2006

Clearwater, FL (LifeNews.com) — On the heels of comments from Florida Sen. Mel Martinez about possibly regretting supporting legislation to help Terri Schiavo’s parents get a federal court review of their lawsuit to stop Terri’s former husband from euthanizing her, her family is renewing its call to protect disabled Americans.

Last week, Martinez said that cases like Terri’s are "better left to the state courts to deal with" and he said that getting Congress involved in the legal battle was likely a mistake.

Responding to the statement, Terri’s brother Bobby Schindler saidin a statement provided to LifeNews.com, "I am hopeful that Sen. Martinez is not reacting to mixed news reports over the public’s view of Congress’s actions in protecting my sister’s life."

"Though some news outlets have reported that poll responses did not favor Congress’s involvement, there are others that greatly support protections of disabled and vulnerable people like Terri," he explained.

In fact, as previously reported by LifeNews.com, an April 2005 Zogby International poll found that, if a person becomes incapacitated and has not expressed their preference for medical treatment, as in Terri’s case, 43 percent say "the law presume that the person wants to live, even if the person is receiving food and water through a tube" while just 30 percent disagree.

Another Zogby question hit directly on Terri’s circumstances.

"If a disabled person is not terminally ill, not in a coma, and not being kept alive on life support, and they have no written directive, should or should they not be denied food and water," the poll asked.

A whopping 79 percent said the patient should not have food and water taken away while just 9 percent said yes.

"It has always been my family’s position that Terri was denied her basic rights," Schindler added.

"Our family and our foundation want to encourage those in Congress to uphold the basic principles of our Constitution and ensure that people with disabilities, our aging communities and the vulnerable are not stripped of their voices or denied fair and just treatment, based on hearsay," he said.

"Senator Martinez has an opportunity to stand up for the vulnerable," he concluded. "Our Foundation hopes he will not be swayed from acting as a public servant."