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Will Terri Schindler-Schiavo, the brain-disabled woman who is being starved to death, get a reprieve from Florida lawmakers?
Fla. House Speaker Johnnie Byrd
Florida’s Speaker of the House Johnnie Byrd is expected to introduce ”Terri’s Bill” during a one-day special session of the state legislature being held today in Tallahassee.
The legislation would put an immediate moratorium on all dehydration and starvation deaths currently pending in Florida until the legislature goes back into regular session.
Terri responding to her mother in video clip available on terrisfight.org
Schindler-Schiavo is being slowly starved to death under a court order initiated by her husband, Michael Schiavo, who is also her legal guardian. Terri has had no food or liquid since Wednesday when the feeding tube that sustains her was removed.
The special session was originally slated to handle another topic unrelated to her case, but Byrd sensed the urgency of Terri’s plight and added his resolution to the agenda.
“I can’t think of anything more important than saving someone’s life because life is precious,” Byrd told Tampa Bay’s Fox News affiliate, WTVT-TV.
Florida law requires a two-thirds majority vote of each house for a topic to be accepted for discussion and vote.
Byrd, a Republican from the Plant City area, was elected to the House in 1996 and subsequently re-elected. He has set his sights on Washington, D.C., and kicked off his campaign for U.S. Senate at a barbecue Saturday before a hometown crowd, where he promised to fight for “common sense, conservative values.”
Fla. Senate President Jim King
Volunteers with the Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation have learned Senate President Jim King is opposed to the bill and has said he would not present it to the upper house for a vote.
According to his website, King is a member of the Florida Hospice Board of Directors and the Florida Task Force on Government-Financed Health Care, and is a recipient of the Hospice Hall of Fame Award.
Last year he wrote an amendment to the Advanced Directives Law expanding the definition of “proxy.”
“The way it reads now, a total and complete stranger that doesn’t even know the patient can come into the institution and say it’s in the patient’s best interest to die – that was his contribution to the law,” said Pat Anderson, attorney for Terri’s parents, Robert and Mary Schindler.
A Republican from the Jacksonville area, King served in the Florida House of Representatives from 1986 through 1999 and was elected to the state Senate in March 1999.
Volunteers with the Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation urge all concerned Floridians to contact their senators and House members and encourage them to support “Terri’s Bill.”
Telephone numbers and e-mail addresses of legislators are listed on the Florida Legislature’s website.
Advocacy Center enters fight for life
A federal judge at noon Eastern today will hold an emergency hearing requested by the Advocacy Center for Persons with Disabilities, a nonprofit group charged with defending the rights of disabled persons.
Regarded as the “big dog” in advocacy for the disabled, the center receives the bulk of its funding through five federal programs.
Yesterday the center filed a two-page complaint in federal court in Tampa, stating it had compelling information and evidence that Theresa Marie Schiavo is a past and present victim of abuse and neglect, and that as a group they are mandated to investigate such charges.
But to do this it is imperative Terri lives long enough for them to do their investigation, and they intend to start immediately.
The center is asking U.S. District Judge Steven D. Merryday of the Middle District of Florida for an injunction to keep Michael Schiavo from interfering in their investigation and an order to immediately resume Terri’s feeding and hydration.
Is it too late?
If Judge Merryday agrees with the center’s complaint, then help will be on the way. But Terri’s family and supporters worry that if it comes, it will be too late.
Christine Brundage, a retired registered nurse who handles the correspondence for the Schindler family, told WorldNetDaily people who have seen Terri say she is beginning to fade and they fear she can’t hold out much longer. She is reported to be alert still and vocalizing, but her face is thinner and her skin is becoming drawn, showing the effects of five days of dehydration.
Soon her kidneys will collapse, says Brundage, and her other internal organs. Her brain, too, will be damaged even more than it was before her forced starvation.
“It’s a miracle she’s in as good condition as she is,” remarked Brundage. “I just hope she can hold out a bit longer, if help is on the way.”
Information on Terri’s fight for life is posted on the family’s website.
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