Terri Schiavo’s case at Supreme Court

For Smooth Stone’s new readers, we’ll tell you that there are few things that impassion us more than Israel. Israel beckons our heart, calls to us, breathes inside us. We are passionate about defending innocent victims including Israel’s Jews who are being terrorized and murdered by Muslim racists, the Diaspora Jews who are being victimized and beaten in Vichy France and elsewhere in Europe, and American men and women who are defending their nation and other nations against Muslim atrocities in Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the Sudan, Indonesia, Egypt, and other Muslim dictatorships and theocracies around the globe.

We feel the pain of victims who have no voice, like the aborted and like Terri Schiavo.

Although this blog is devoted to Israel, the Smooth Stone team feels that the inhumane treatment of Terri Schiavo by her husband, Michael Schiavo, should not continue without proper monitoring and advocacy, so although Israel is our first concern, this post is devoted to Terri and her battle to live.

Terri Schiavo, the brain-disabled Florida woman whose right to live is at the center of an ongoing euthanasia battle in the Florida courts.

Terri Schiavo suffered major brain injury in 1990 when she collapsed under questionable circumstances in the St. Petersburg apartment where she lived with her husband, Michael Schiavo. For reasons never satisfactorily explained, oxygen to her brain was cut off for several minutes, leaving her severely disabled, unable to talk and dependent on a feeding tube for food and hydration at the age of 26.

Whether she still requires a feeding tube is one of many unanswered questions. Micahel Schiavo adamantly refuses to allow a “swallowing test” to determine if she could be spoon fed.

Terri left no written instructions detailing what she would want if she were ever incapacitated, and is unable to communicate whether she would prefer being fed through a feeding tube or starved to death. But since 1998 Michael Schiavo has insisted that his wife, whom he refuses to divorce, told him before her collapse that she would never want to live “by artificial means.”

During the trial in Jan. 2000, Michael Schiavo persuaded probate Judge Greer that Terri is in a “persistent vegetative state,” or PVS, one of several physical conditions which in Florida law allows a feeding tube to be removed from a non-terminally ill person who has not left a written directive. A neurologist testified that Terri is essentially unconscious – not comatose or brain-dead, but not really conscious. He said there is no therapy is available to help her.

Florida law also allows simple oral statements, recalled by friends and family members years after they’re allegedly made, to be accepted as “clear and convincing” evidence of a person’s wishes. Drawing upon his own recollections, bolstered by a couple of similar statements by a brother and a sister-in-law, Michael Schiavo convinced Greer that his account of Terri’s wishes was accurate.

Greer accepted as valid all evidence presented by Michael Schiavo and his witnesses – from recollections about her end-of-life wishes to opinions about her chances for improvement, and in Feb. 2000 ordered her feeding tube disconnected.

Terri’s parents and her siblings dispute Michael Schiavo’s contentions. They say Terri is alert, has a strong will to live, and could be significantly rehabilitated with agressive therapy. More than a dozen physicians, therapists and speech pathologists have stepped forward to state agreement with the parents.

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court met behind closed doors to discuss whether to take up Terri’s case. In a 27-page brief filed early last month, attorneys for Gov. Jeb Bush asked the nation’s nine top justices to review and eventually reverse the Florida Supreme Court’s Sept. 23 ruling that struck down “Terri’s Law” as unconstitutional, arguing that the lower courts had denied the governor’s and Schiavo’s federally protected rights to due process and equal protection. Florida Gov. Jeb Bush had the authority and the legal obligation to use his executive powers to halt the death of Terri-Schindler-Schiavo and to launch a criminal investigation into the case.

Eventually the Florida Supreme Court ruled against Jeb Bush and “Terri’s Law”. Jeb Bush’s attorneys contend the governor was never allowed a “day in court” to defend his 11th-hour rescue of Schiavo or the law the Legislature had passed authorizing his actions. The emergency statute passed by the legislature Oct. 21, 2003, gave the governor authority to order the reinsertion of the incapacitated woman’s feeding tube that had been removed six days earlier in compliance with a court order obtained by her estranged husband Michael Schiavo, who is also her legal guardian.

Michael Schiavo, represented by “right-to-die” advocate George Felos, challenged the constitutionality of the law and the governor’s action, naming Bush as a defendant. The American Civil Liberties Union weighed in as co-plaintiff.

For those of you who don’t know Terri Schiavo’s history, here is an article which re-introduces the possibility that Terri’s collapse 12 years ago might have been caused by a physical beating from someone, and not from the extremely unlikely reason that has been substituted by her husband’s defense team, a potassium imbalance.

The reintroduction of the idea that Terri did suffer a head injury as a result of a physical beating is being frontiered by the foremost forensic pathologist, Michael Baden.
Please click here to read more about Dr. Baden’s opinion.

Michael Schiavo, we’re on to you. There is definitely something odd about an otherwise healthy 26 year old woman to suddenly collapse at home under mysterious circumstances.

Click on Terri’s Fight for more info. Below are more links regarding Terri’s tragic life that we posted on Smooth Stone back in 2003. Read on:

Questions raised about Terri’s collapse

Starvation Day 7! Florida House votes to save Terri Schiavo. But…

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