Religious and political groups are banding together to urge President Bush and his brother Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to use their executive powers to order police to take Terri Schiavo into protective custody.
Calling itself “The 11th Hour Coalition to Save Terri Schiavo’s Life,” the 20 organizations held simultaneous press conferences in Washington, D.C., and Tallahassee, Fla., arguing the president and governor have the power to order reinsertion of the brain-injured woman’s feeding tube, which was removed Friday by court order.
A federal appeals court early today rejected an emergency request by Terri Schiavo’s parents, Robert and Mary Schindler, to order the tube’s reinsertion. The three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta said in a 2-1 ruling that the parents ”failed to demonstrate a substantial case on the merits of any of their claims.”
The Schindlers now are appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court, which previously refused to hear the case.
The parents said yesterday their daughter was “fading quickly” and might die at any moment. Doctors say Schiavo could survive one to two weeks without water and nutrients.
A coalition organizer, Fr. James Pinto of the Sanctity of Human Life Apostolate, told WorldNetDaily he believes it’s significant that Terri Schiavo’s slow death is occuring in the week preceding Easter.
“This is a passion play during Holy Week being played out before our eyes. “Terri Schiavo is Jesus Christ — Jesus is speaking through her: ‘I thirst,’” he said, referring to Christ’s words on the cross.
Paul Schenck, executive director of the National Pro-Life Action Center on Capitol Hill, said, “There are two people in the United States who can save Terri Schiavo’s life right now.”
“The president of the United States and the governor of Florida have the authority to use the police services at their disposal to take Terri into protective custody, restore her food and hydration, and arrest anyone who would interfere,” Schenck said. “For the sake of Terri’s life, we cannot afford to wait while the courts dither over jurisdiction.”
Other members of the coalition include Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, Fr. Thomas Euteneuer of Human Life International, Rev. Stephen Cox of Gospel of Life Ministries, Rev. Greg Cox of Faith and Action and Rev. John Vandenberge, National Clergy Council.
Michael A. Peroutka, the Constitution Party candidate for president in 2004, also is part of the coalition.
Gov. Bush said in a statement he “could not be more disappointed in the decision announced this morning.”
“Time is of the essence and I hope all who have the ability and duty to act in this case will do so with a sense of urgency,” he said.
The Florida Legislature intervened in 2003 with passage of “Terri’s Law,” but the measure later was struck down by the state Supreme Court as unconstitutional. Newly introduced legislation has failed to pass, but the lawmakers might consider another bill today.
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 Schindlers have pleaded with him to divorce their daughter, pointing out his live-in relationship with another woman, with whom he has two children.
Michael Schiavo insists Terri had said she would not want to live under her current medical conditions, though there was no written corroboration. Her parents strongly contend she wants to live.
Editor’s note: WorldNetDaily has been reporting on the Terri Schiavo story since 2002 – far longer than any other national news organization – and exposing the many troubling, scandalous, and possibly criminal, aspects of the case that to this day rarely surface in news reports. Read WorldNetDaily’s unparalleled, in-depth coverage of the life-and-death fight over Terri Schiavo, including over 150 original stories and columns.