As supporters buoyed 39-year-old brain-damaged Terri Schiavo up in prayer last night and this morning, lawyers prepared for an afternoon hearing in federal court where the woman’s parents hope to secure a preliminary injunction postponing the Oct. 15 date for their daughter’s starvation to begin.
At 1:30 p.m., U.S. District Judge Richard A. Lazzara also will listen to arguments by Schiavo’s parents, Robert and Mary Schindler of Gulf Port, Fla., and their attorney, Patricia Anderson, regarding alleged violations of Terri’s civil rights by her husband and legal guardian, Michael Schiavo. Anderson will be joined by Christopher Ferrara of the American Catholic Lawyers Association.
A delay is sought for the removal of the feeding tube that is keeping Terri alive, until she is given therapy and training that would enable her to be spoon-fed.
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 at the age of 26.
A bitter family dispute over Terri’s lack of care and therapy became a major euthanasia battle five years ago when Schiavo petitioned the court for permission to remove his wife’s feeding tube, claiming she is in a “persistent vegetative state” and had told him years ago she would not want to be kept alive “by tubes” and “artificial” means. Although Terri breathes on her own and maintains her own blood pressure, she requires a simple tube into her abdomen to her stomach for nourishment and hydration.
Over a dozen prominent doctors and therapists have stated that with therapy Terri could be rehabilitated. However, about half-a-dozen physicians maintain her brain is so damaged she is essentially unconscious and will never recover from her “vegetative” state.
Despite a mountain of evidence and testimony to the contrary, the Florida courts have consistently ignored experts on the Schindlers’ side and ruled for Schiavo and his attorney, George Felos, a well-known “right-to-die” advocate.
WorldNetDaily reported yesterday about an all-night prayer vigil on Terri’s behalf in Tampa, Fla., organized by Monsignor Thaddeus Malanowski of the Diocese of St. Petersburg. Malanowski has given Terri the Sacraments of Absolution and Healing nearly every Saturday for three years.
Legal documents and information on Terri’s fight for life are posted on the family’s website.