FWD Schiavo parents give up legal battle - the disablity community fights on
- The parents of severely brain-damaged Florida woman Terri Schiavo
gave up their legal battle to keep her alive today, after state and
federal courts consistently backed her husband's decision to remove
her feeding tube.
Bob and Mary Schindler said they would stop asking courts to
intervene after the Florida supreme court rejected their most recent
appeal on Saturday. Mrs Schiavo's feeding tube was removed 10 days
ago after a Florida judge agreed with her husband, Michael, that his
wife would not want to be kept alive in what court-appointed doctors
have described as a persistent vegetative state.
Mr and Mrs Schindler suffered a string of defeats in federal courts
after Republicans in Congress rushed to pass an extraordinary law
last weekend allowing the case to be heard by federal judges.
Michael Schiavo yesterday granted the Schindlers' request that their
daughter receive holy communion on Easter Sunday. Rev Thaddeus
Malanowski said he gave Mrs Schiavo wine, but could not give her a
fleck of communion bread because her tongue was dry.
Mrs Schiavo last received both sacraments on March 18, just before
her feeding tube was removed. Mr Malanowski also administered the
Outside the hospice in Pinnellas Park, Florida where she is being
cared for, five protesters were arrested yesterday, and about a half-
dozen people in wheelchairs got out of them and lay in the driveway,
shouting "We're not dead yet!" About 100 protesters gathered at the
hospice, ignoring the Schindlers' request that they spend Easter
Sunday with their families. Bob Schindler told reporters the
protesters would be welcomed back today.
Police have arrested 38 people in the past week, most for trying to
bring Mrs Schiavo water.
The protests have prompted Mrs Schiavo's brother, Bobby Schindler, to
come out and ask those taking part to tone down their behaviour.
"We are not going to solve the problem by getting arrested," he
said. "We can change laws, but we are not going to change them
today ... You are not speaking for our family."
Michael Schiavo has battled for years against the Schindler's
attempts to keep his 41-year-old wife alive. Mrs Schiavo's parents
have maintained their daughter is not in a persistent vegetative
A spokesman for the Schindlers denied a report from David Gibbs III,
their lead lawyer, who told CBS television yesterday that she
has "passed where physically she would be able to recover".
That statement "was not made with the family's knowledge. In the
family's opinion, that is absolutely not true," family spokesman
Randall Terry told reporters.
Doctors have said Mrs Schiavo would probably die within a week or two
of the tube being removed on March 18. She relied on the tube for 15
years after suffering catastrophic brain damage when her heart
stopped beating and oxygen was cut off to her brain.
Supporters of the Schindlers continued their demands yesterday for
Florida's governor, Jeb Bush, to intervene.
"Terri is in effect on death row ... We're asking the governor for a
stay of execution on Easter Sunday," said Larry Klayman, founder of
conservative legal group Judicial Watch.
In an interview with CNN yesterday, Mr Bush repeated his insistence
that he had done all he could in the case.
"I cannot violate a court order," he said. "I don't have powers from
the United States constitution or, for that matter, from the Florida
constitution, that would allow me to intervene after a decision has
At least two more appeals were pending by the state and Mr Bush, but
those challenges were before the state 2nd district court of appeal,
which has rebuffed the governor's previous efforts in the case. It
was unclear when the court would rule.
Agencies Monday March 28, 2005