An ABC News poll reached the surprising conclusion that a majority of Americans think Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube should remain out so she can be starved to death, but the question posed by the news network portrayed her as having “no consciousness” and being on “life support,” rather than an awake, responsive patient with a feeding tube.
“Schiavo suffered brain damage and has been on life support for 15 years,” the poll informed respondents. “Doctors say she has no consciousness and her condition is irreversible. Her husband and her parents disagree about whether she would have wanted to be kept
alive. Florida courts have sided with the husband and her feeding tube was removed on Friday. What’s your opinion on this case – do you support or oppose the decision to
remove Schiavo’s feeding tube?”
In response, reported ABC, “the public, by 63 percent-28 percent, supports the removal of Schiavo’s feeding tube, and by a 25-point margin opposes a law mandating federal review of her case. Congress passed such legislation and President Bush signed it early today.”
Terri Schiavo responding to her mother in video clip available
Since to most people, the phrase “no consciousness” suggests a coma and “life support” suggests a ventilator or other machinery, it’s not surprising that many Americans – visualizing a comatose woman in a heart-lung machine – would consider Schiavo’s life not worth living. The poll question also omits any reference to the fact that Terri’s husband, Michael Schiavo, has been living with another woman for years, has sired two children by her, and is waiting for Terri to die so he can marry his girlfriend.
Michael Schiavo, who won a court order to have his wife’s feeding tube removed Friday, claims she is in a “persistent vegetative state” and had declared orally she wouldn’t want to live in such a condition.
However, Terri’s parents Bob and Mary Schindler insist their daughter, while severely handicapped, is responsive and demonstrates a strong will to live. Their opinion is buttressed by nearly a dozen sworn affidavits signed by physicians disputing Terri’s diagnosis as PVS.
Terri Schiavo is not hooked up to any machines, but she requires the small feeding tube for nourishment and hydration.
Schiavo, 41, collapsed under disputed circumstances Feb. 25, 1990, suffering severe brain damage when her heart stopped momentarily. Michael Schiavo attributes the collapse to an eating disorder, but the Schindlers strongly suspect he tried to strangle her.
The ABC News poll is the latest in a series of national polls dealing with life-and-death issues which have featured blatantly misleading questions.
Last November, the Associated Press in conjunction with Ipsos Public Affairs announced that most Americans approve of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision – a result out of keeping with most other polls, which show only about 1 in 4 Americans approving unrestricted abortion-on-demand. However, as WND reported, AP’s poll question was grossly misleading, claiming Roe legalized abortion only in the first three months of pregnancy, whereas in reality it allows legalized abortion at any time during pregnancy.
One day after WND’s story, AP and Ipsos claim to have conducted a second identical poll – minus the false wording in the original question – yielding almost identical results. But despite repeated requests from WND, Ipsos refused to make the “second poll” available, nor does it appear anywhere on Ipsos’ website with the rest of the firm’s poll results.
And earlier this month, a Harris poll arrived at the same conclusion – that most Americans favor Roe v. Wade – but posing the same false question which stated no less than three times that Roe made “abortions up to three months of pregnancy legal.”
Court documents and other information are posted on the Schindler family website.
Links to all “Terri briefs” regarding the governor’s defense of Terri’s Law are on the Florida Supreme Court website, public information.