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News of the Day ... in Perspective

3/20/2005

In defiance of a congressional subpoena, Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube is pulled

Congress delayed its Easter recess in a last-ditch attempt to save the life of Terri Schiavo. The House Government Reform Committee issued subpoenas to hospice administrators and attending physicians, and Senator Enzi (R-WI) of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pension (HELP) Committee issued a subpoena for Terri herself. Federal statutes indicate that is illegal to harm or kill an individual who has been subpoenaed by Congress.

Judge Greer ignored the Congressional subpoenas, and the feeding tube was pulled by Terri’s “personal physician.”

“She cried today when told she would die, was hysterical,” reported Ron Panzer, President of Hospice Patients Alliance. He also noted that there were several armed policemen at her door, 24 hours per day, to assure that she is not taken into protective custody or given rehabilitative therapy.

“Right now, murder is being committed against a defenseless American citizen in Florida,” stated House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX).

The House and Senate passed different versions of the Incapacitated Persons Legal Protection Act, which allows federal review of cases in which there is no advance directive and irregularities have occurred in state courts. The Senate version was carefully crafted to avoid setting a “wider legal precedent.”

House leaders put together a compromise bill essentially the same as the Senate’s, but on Palm Sunday, Terri’s third day without water, House Democrats blocked unanimous approval. Republicans were scrambling to bring together a quorum of 218. President Bush delayed a trip to Texas so he could sign a bill on Monday (Knight Ridder Newspapers, Mar 20, 2005).

A study under the Reagan Administration estimated that there could be 10,000 people in the United States in “persistent vegetative states” that are “similar to Schiavo’s,” in which they could live for decades if fed and cared for (AP, 3/19/05). Dehydrating patients to death is apparently very common in the U.S., according to nationally televised reports on the Schiavo case. This diagnosis has been contested by 30 medical experts in the Schiavo case.

Additional information:

Read the proposed bills:

Search for “protection of incapacitated persons” on http://thomas.loc.gov

From the Drudge Report: apnews.myway.com/article/20050320/D88UT24O0.html

Watch for updates at www.terrisfight.org.

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