I don't think I've ever started a debate thread sooo.
Sep 23, 4:30 PM (ET)
By JACKIE HALLIFAX
(AP) Terri Schiavo is shown in this Aug. 11, 2001, video released by her family, Tuesday afternoon, Oct....
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Dealing a defeat to Gov. Jeb Bush, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a law that was rushed through the Legislature last fall to keep a severely brain-damaged woman hooked to a feeding tube.
The seven-member court unanimously said Bush and lawmakers improperly tried to pull an end run around the court system in the case of Terri Schiavo, who has been at the center of a long and bitter right-to-die dispute that pits her husband against his in-laws.
As early as 2000, lower courts had ruled that Michael Schiavo could have his wife's feeding tube removed. But last October, the Legislature passed "Terri's Law" to override the courts, and Bush quickly invoked it to order the tube reinserted, six days after it had been withdrawn.
It was not immediately clear when Michael Schiavo might seek to withdraw food and water from his wife. His attorney had no immediate comment.
Thursday's ruling gives the governor 10 days to ask for a rehearing, and an attorney for Bush said he may appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Either action could stop, at least temporarily, any attempt to remove the tube.
Bush disagreed with the outcome.
"I'm disappointed for the moral reasons of the taking of innocent life without having - I don't think - a full hearing on the facts of what her intent was," the governor said. He noted that it can take the courts 20 or 25 years to review death sentences.
The woman's brother, Robert Schindler Jr., said the family found the court's ruling "disappointing and troubling." But he added: "We're motivated by our love for Terri, and we're going to try to stay strong and find some way to save my sister."
Terri Schiavo suffered brain damage 14 years ago when her heart temporarily stopped beating because of an eating disorder. Now 40, she lives in a Clearwater nursing home, breathing on her own but relying on the feeding tube for water and nutrients. Courts have concluded she is in a "persistent vegetative state," with almost no chance of recovery.
(AP) Ken Connor, attorney for the Schindler family, left, and George Felos, an attorney for Michael...
She left no written instructions about what she want in such circumstances, but in Florida a person's wishes must be honored even if they are expressed orally.
Michael Schiavo has argued that his wife had made it clear that she would not have wanted to be kept alive artificially. But his in-laws, Bob and Mary Schindler, dispute that, and contend she could someday regain some of her faculties with therapy.
Courts have generally sided with Michael Schiavo, who had the tube pulled twice - last year, and in 2001 for two days - before the Schindlers had it reinserted.
It was the Schindlers who got the Legislature and the governor to push through a law narrowly drawn to empower the governor to order Schiavo's tube to be reinserted.
Michael Schiavo's attorneys argued that the law not only encroached on the court's authority but violated Terri Schiavo's privacy rights and freedom to determine her own fate. The high court did not address the privacy issue.
Instead, it found that the law violated the fundamental doctrine of separation of powers.
"It is without question an invasion of the authority of the judicial branch for the Legislature to pass a law that allows the executive branch to interfere with the final judicial determination in a case," Chief Justice Barbara Pariente wrote.
The court also faulted the law for delegating legislative power to the governor. "This absolute unfettered discretion ... makes the governor's decision virtually unreviewable," Pariente wrote.
House Speaker Johnnie Byrd, the Republican who pushed for the law last fall, called the decision "tragic but not unexpected."
An attorney for the Schindlers, Pat Anderson, said the couple will continue to press to have Michael Schiavo removed as his wife's guardian.
The case is being watched closely around the country.
A California attorney who represented 55 bioethicists supporting Michael Schiavo called the ruling "a stinging rebuke" to Bush. "The court is saying Terri's Law isn't about Terri - it's about Gov. Bush," Jon Eisenberg of Oakland said. "And that's not how things work in America."
On the other side of the issue, the head of a disabled rights group called Not Dead Yet said the decision elevated the rights of the courts above the well-being of Terri Schiavo and thousands of other people with disabilities.
"If this can happen, it means really that people with cognitive disabilities are in terrible danger in our health care system," Diane Coleman said from Forest Park, Ill.
So would you want to live the rest of you life as a veggie?
The only problem i have with this is the method. Since euthanasia is not legal she has to be allowed to starve to death instead of a quick end.
I wouldn't want to live that way. My doctor and my family know this.
Who here would want to live like that? anyone? not me.
I'd not want to live like that nor would I want to die like that. It's stupid that we can say it's OK to withhold food till you die, but a lethal injection is a no-no. Both are actions that bring about death. Stupid. I think it's odd to want to end a wife's life against the wishes of her family though. I'm not sure how I'd deal with that.
um... if she needs a machine to perform the functions of her brain for her, then she is already dead.
So it doesn't really matter whether they let her body live or die. Nobodys home, so to speak. Its just a shell at this point.
just my 2 cents...
I wouldn't want to be starved to death either.
ETA - Would you want to live like Stephen Hawking?
No, she needs a machine to feed her. Her brain is functioning. And from what I understand she is able to respond to outside stimulus. She smiles at family and friends, and follows sounds with her eyes.
The whole thing is a damn shame.
But I think the way that her family has behaved is despicable.
If I was her I'd want a bullet in the head but removing her feeding tube is fucking insane!
I know her family personally. I'd really like to know what you base that statement on.
As I understand it, there is evidence to suggest that
The thing is, doctors have said that with proper therapy & rehab, she could recover, though not 100%. She doesn't have to live like this.
Let's look at some interesting info on this case.
A) Terri's husband sued to get over $1million for her rehabilitation. He has spent none of it on her rehab, even refusing to get rehab therapy for her.
B) Nurses at the hospital she was at early on went on record (under oath) stating that they would repeatedly hear Michael asking when she was going to die, "Why isn't she dead yet?" and As quoted by one nurse "When is that bitch going to die?" Sound like a loving husband who has his wife's best interest at heart?
C) Michael has since taken a girlfriend and has two children by her. He says he wants to move on with his life and marry his new "love," but refuses to divorce Terri. Terri's parents have offered repeatedly to take over complete care of her, but he refuses. Why?
D) If he divorces Terri, he gets NONE of the money set aside for her therapy. He's the beneficiary of that money if she dies, but if he divorces her, he can say goodbye to the money.
E) He ordered Terri to not be fed by mouth, even though she is capable of swallowing. He claimed she couldn't do it. Her brother & sister fed her Jello, which she swallowed easily, and Michael barred them from seeing Terri again. Their actions proved him wrong.
F) Terri was a devout Catholic, accepting the Church's teaching on life issues (as stated by her family and friends). Assisted suicide, euthanasia, and taking away food & water are forbidden. Thus, logically Terri's wishes would be to live, not die.
G) Videos of Terri show that she is NOT in a persistent vegetative state, but is conscious and responsive. If she isn't PVS, then they can't kill her. The judges have refused to allow evidence of her responsiveness in court.
H) There is evidence of past abusive trauma to her, prior to her collapse, according to the doctor who saw her x-rays on the night she was taken to the hospital.
This isn't a clearcut case of someone who is going to die being prolonged due to emotional parents. This is a case of a "husband" who wants his wife to die so he can get rich and get married again.
No, she's still there upstairs apparently.
That's what makes it so difficult. It's not like she can't respond, so you can't concretly say she'd rather be dead since she can't say.
That's why it's important to convey your wishes BEFORE bad things happen.
I'd also like to say her "husband" should be shot for how he's acted.
The wierd thing, to me, is that the same people who are against defending yourself with deadly force, the death penalty for murderers, or military action are all FOR killing people who are an "inconveience" to you, such as babies, old people, sick people, etc.
Btw BayEagle since you know them personally, can you shed some light on the above?
Last court brief I had read is was reported the care money was down to under $100,000 left. 24hr care for her isn't cheap.
According to the court ordered doctors evaluations she respondes with a smile to anybody who gets close to her. It's a automatic function from her brain stem. According to her parents doctor she's salvage able. I tend to listen to the list of doctors who said it's a lost cause in the courts.
Rehab isn't going to recover brain function or grow heathly tissue, Medically she's brain dead, the function you do see are primal level brain stem reactions.
When her parents permitted him to marry her they surrendered thier custodial/guardianship rights. He says she said she wouldn't want to live this way, by florida law that's all it takes. The courts recognise this and him being the ONLY legal guardian since he is her husband.
He cannot divorce her without her signature. And after 14 years he's trying to move on. I don't blame him. The Terri he knew died 14 years ago. The shell that lives to this day isn't the terri her parents are fighting to keep alive. They refuse to accept she's gone.
I think what a court should do if the family wants her do badly is approve a legal divorce without her signature and hand custody to her parents. He moves on, Her parents will have time to come to terms with their true loss.
That's pretty much the family's stance.
Plus - one more thing. Even if you believe that this beautiful young (at the time) girl, had some kind of verbal agreement with her husband about "pulling a plug", it happened years before food & water were considered "extraordinary means".
In other words, even accepting Schaivo's version of their conversation, she did not have "informed consent". So even from a legal standpoint, his view holds no weight.
If I am ever in that condition I will have no problem with someone disposing of me in a quick and efficient manner. I actually would not mind being starved to death either. Just get it over with any way you can.
I say she doesn't want to die if she's still smiling - even if it's only from time to time.