Skip to comments.Legal Refuge Congress aims to protect Terri Schiavo.
Posted on 03/16/2005 2:11:21 PM PST by paltz
In 1990, at the age of 27, Terri Schiavo collapsed, resulting in brain damage from a lack of oxygen. A feeding tube was inserted by doctors at that time to provide nutrition and hydration to keep her alive.
Over the last 15 years, there has been a protracted legal fight between Terris parents, who insist that Teri wants to live and want guardianship of their daughter, and Terris husband, who insists Terri wants to die and currently has guardianship. It has without a doubt been an emotional and drawn-out legal battle over what Terris wishes truly were and whether or not her feeding tube should be removed.
Terri is severely brain-damaged of that there is no question. However, many media reports have indicated that she is in a persistent vegetative state. There is evidence to the contrary.
She is not on a respirator or other 24-hour-a-day medical equipment. She responds to voices, touch, and the presence of people. She can smile, cry, and establish eye contact. She can make facial expressions. And several of Terris caregivers and outside medical professionals feel that, with proper therapy, she may even be able to learn to eat without a feeding tube.
For years, this legal battle between Terris parents and her husband has made its way through Floridas courts, Floridas legislature and Floridas governors office. All legal options available in the state of Florida have been exhausted and the Schiavo case has culminated with a final court-ordered removal of the feeding tube and cessation of nutrition and hydration on March 18 this Friday.
Last week, I introduced my first piece of legislation in the Senate: The Incapacitated Persons Legal Protection Act of 2005. This bill would ensure that incapacitated individuals like Terri Schiavo would have their due-process rights of habeas corpus when a court orders their death by removal of nutrition, hydration and medical treatment. My colleague from Florida, Congressman Dave Weldon has introduced identical legislation in the House of Representatives.
Habeas Corpus refers to the legal rights available under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution that No State shall deprive any person of life without due process of law nor to deny any person within its jurisdiction equal protections of the laws.
In essence, this legislation would give incapacitated individuals like Terri, who have been given what amounts to a death sentence by the courts, federal habeas corpus protections to ensure that she receives the same due process protections as convicted murderers given the death penalty.
This bill is very narrowly written and a balanced approach to acknowledging the rights of individuals to refuse consent to medical treatment with the right to consent to treatment to preserve life. The Incapacitated Persons Legal Protection Act would only apply when the following criteria are met:
There is a contested judicial proceeding because of a dispute about the expressed previous wishes or best interest of a person currently incapable of making a choice about lifesaving treatment;
There is no valid prior written directive on wishes from the now-incapacitated individual; and
There is a court order authorizing or directing the withholding of food, fluids, or medical treatment to sustain the individuals life.
This is not a right-to-life or right-to-die issue it is about proper legal representation for individuals with no voice for themselves. Its about giving a last avenue of legal refuge to disabled individuals when their lives hang in the balance.
This is a narrowly tailored, compassionate piece of legislation to ensure that Terri Schiavo has all legal due process available to her before following through on a court order that, in all seriousness, is a death sentence.
Before you click onto another screen or go back to work, please contact your senators and contact your congressman to let them know that you support this bill that Terri Schiavo deserves the same rights as criminals to equal protection under the law.
Mel Martinez is a freshman Republican senator from Florida.
In God's name, Amen.
BUMP - contacted Dana Rohrbacher
very good, Phil!
--One question keeps bothering me, Michael--
[Ohmygosh! I'm laughing so hard my side is hurting!!]
Great post, Phil. BTW, Empire Journal is back up: http://hyscience.typepad.com/hyscience/terri_schiavos_life_counts/index.html
What is seriously wrong with this is that it throws it right back into the Judicial arena. The very arena these situations should be removed from.!!
Very effective and accurate Mr. Phil...
I know that. You think the Senate will pass it? Do you think if the Senate does not pass it that Jeb Bush will step in with an Executive Order? What do you think is going to happen in the next 36 hours or so?
I met a man who claimed that his wife disappeared in a hospital. They had been on a road trip out of state about 15 years ago, when she had a medical need, so they went into a local hospital for treatment. She spent several days there, and then when he came in to see her she was suddenly unaccounted for. The hospital had no record of her. He had spent the next 10 years trying to find her, to no avail. He said that he had met several other people in the process, who had had similar experiences. He told me that they all had something in common, that the medical facility they had gone to was somehow under the impression that the person (that later would be "lost") did not have any friends or family nearby aware of their getting medical attention. He was convinced that his wife's body was used for "harvesting organs" but he could not prove it.
This goes to give more meaning to the practice of visiting the sick. If two or more go in to visit a person being admitted, there are witnesses. It might be a good idea for other visitors to come and go at odd times, too, or at least to have people call the hospital to verify that so-and-so is in room whatever.
PhilDragoo for President!!
Sounds like the sovereign state of Greer to me.
Happy St. Patrick's Day, Terri. I hope they let you wear green today, so someone doesn't "pinch" you.
Just called both Durbin and Obama on supporting HR 1332. Both people who answered the phones said they would tell the Senators. The one who answered for Obama must have been getting quite a few calls since he knew who the bill was to protect.
OMG! That is horrible! One can certainly see this happening! I had never considered something like that, but your friend is probably right. How unjust! This is an issue that needs to be looked at.
I saw this on another thread (Posted on 03/08/2005 10:37:18 AM PST by amdgmary):
Grogan added that Michael Schiavo, as her legal guardian, has forbidden any therapy.
It makes one suspicious.
And it led Grogan to conclude that abuse allegations against Michael Schiavo should be investigated.