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The Florida Supreme Court today rejected an appeal that would save the life of Terri Schindler-Schiavo, a brain-damaged woman whose continued existence has been at the center of an intense legal battle.
The court’s refusal to intervene allows Terri’s husband and legal guardian Michael Schiavo, 39, to remove his wife’s feeding tube, causing her to die by starvation and dehydration.
The attorney for Terri’s parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, told WorldNetDaily the Schindlers are “completely devastated” by this development and were not accepting phone calls.
“They had held out hope that the state’s highest court would provide justice in this matter,” she said.
Anderson said her team is considering alternatives, “but there is no question that Terri’s life is in jeopardy.”
The countdown on Terri’s life begins 5 p.m. Monday when a 30-day order by an appeals court to continue feeding comes to an end. At that point, jurisdiction will be transferred back to the probate court of Judge George Greer, who will schedule a hearing to set a date for removal of Terri’s feeding tube.
In its brief ruling today, the Florida high court declared there was no basis for jurisdiction over the case and it would not accept it for review.
As WorldNetDaily reported, the Schindlers have been locked in a decade-long legal struggle with their son-in-law over the care and custody of their daughter, who suffered massive brain damage when she collapsed at her home 13 years ago under unexplained circumstances. Terri’s brain was deprived of oxygen for about five minutes.
The contentious family dispute over Terri’s lack of care and therapy became a major euthanasia battle five years ago when Schiavo sought court permission to have a feeding tube removed so his wife would starve to death.
Terri breathes on her own and maintains her own blood pressure but requires a tube through her abdomen into her stomach to keep her fed and hydrated. Permission was granted in 2000 by Judge Greer, who ruled Terri was in a persistent vegetative state.
Despite a growing mountain of evidence presented by the parents in subsequent appeals that Terri is responsive, the courts have sided with Schiavo and his legal representative, well-known right-to-die attorney George Felos.
In the appeal to the Florida Supreme Court, filed Aug. 4, the Schindler’s attorney Anderson pointed out this is the first euthanasia case in Florida and that it pits two fundamental constitutional rights against each other:
“Does a disabled young woman who collapsed more than 13 years ago, who has received no therapy of any sort for years, who is in no distress or imminent danger of death, and who left no advance directive [indicating whether she would want to be kept alive], have the inalienable right to continue living, as her parents maintain and as the Florida Constitution guarantees?
“Or may her husband assert her constitutional right of privacy in seeking court approval to stop providing her with food and water?”