Reprieve for Brain-Damaged Woman

But Christian activists say the fight to protect the disabled is far from over

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on October 21 ordered doctors to resume tube-feeding Terri Schindler-Schiavo, 39, a severely brain-damaged woman, despite a judicial order to allow her to die of starvation.

"Thanks to the Florida legislature and Gov. Jeb Bush, Terri Schiavo will not be a victim of judicial homicide," said Ray Flynn, the former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, now president of Catholic Voice.

Other Christian groups also cheered the governor's decision, which followed quick action by the state's legislators. Many prolife groups had urged supporters to call on lawmakers and Bush to protect Schiavo's life.

"Thankfully, Terri and the people of Florida have a leader who not only takes a strong stand for life but is willing to stand up against a judiciary who does not," said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.

Schiavo suffered brain damage after a heart attack in 1990. "Terri is not in a coma," family members say on a website. "Terri is not using a respirator or any other machine to stay alive."

Terri's husband, Michael Schiavo, won a 1992 medical malpractice lawsuit over her brain damage. Today he is living with a woman who is expecting their second child.

Michael Schiavo says his wife would rather die. He asked a Florida court in 1998 to have her feeding tube removed. Family members, however, say there is no documented evidence concerning her wishes.

Before the governor's order, Schiavo had been expected to live for one to two weeks without food. Bush called for medical personnel and facilities caring for Schiavo to "immediately provide nutrition and hydration."

The order cited the circumstances of the case, including that Schiavo has been declared by a court to be in a persistent vegetative state, she had left ...

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Reprieve for Brain-Damaged Woman
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December 2003

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