Terri Schiavo responding to her mother in video clip available
The saga over the life of Terri Schiavo continues, with the latest chapter involving weekend action in Congress.
Despite a compromise that would have restored nutrition to the brain-injured Florida woman, House Democrats blocked a voice vote on the measure, with Republicans now hoping to vote on a life-sustaining measure by early tomorrow morning.
The Senate was able to pass its version of the bill, and is now just waiting on the House.
“Everyone recognizes that time is important here. This is about defending life,” White House press secretary Scott McClellan said. “This legislation is narrowly tailored so it would give her parents another opportunity to save their daughter’s life.”
President Bush returned to the nation’s capital from Texas, looking to sign the bill upon receiving congressional approval.
The delay on Capitol Hill was blasted by Schiavo’s parents, who spoke with reporters outside their daughter’s hospice in Pinellas Park, Fla.
“There are some congressmen that are trying to stop this bill,” Terri’s mother, Mary Schindler. “Please don’t use my daughter’s suffering for your own personal agenda.”
Among those in Congress fighting against restoration of the feeding tube is Rep. Bob Wexler, D-Florida.
“It is not the place of Congress, at the 11th hour, in the most effusive fashion, to undermine the Florida court system, particularly given the fact that it has been seven years and 19 judges who have participated,” Wexler said.
“We are seeing, sadly, the manifestation of a constitutional crisis,” said Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass. “You will have hundreds of members of Congress making a medical decision about which we know nothing.”
Both the House and Senate convened today in a rare Palm Sunday session.
“Terri Schiavo is being denied life saving nutrition at this very moment,” Senate Republican leader Bill Frist said, vowing to keep the Senate open all night. “Time is of essence.”
Terri Schiavo before suffering severe brain damage in 1990.
Schiavo, 41, collapsed under disputed circumstances Feb. 25, 1990, suffering severe brain damage when her heart stopped momentarily. Her husband, Michael Schiavo, attributes the collapse to an eating disorder, but the Schindlers strongly suspect he tried to strangle her.
The Schindlers have pleaded with Michael Schiavo to divorce their daughter, pointing out his live-in relationship with another woman, with whom he has two children.
“It’s not about me, it’s not about Congress, it’s about Terri,” Michael Schiavo said Friday on CNN’s “Larry King Live” program. “I want you all to think about going through a judicial process to have your own wishes granted and then the Congress and the government walking in on that because of their personal views. That’s absurd.”
Michael Schiavo has maintained Terri had no desire to live under her current medical conditions, though there was no written corroboration of that.